Ever thankful

Published 6:56 pm Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Dick Barr lost his sight after battling glaucoma.

Dick Barr lost his sight after battling glaucoma.

Banks man looks back on a great life, despite the loss of his sight

John Dick Barr, Jr. couldn’t have said it any better.

“You should get down on your knees the first thing every morning and thank God for your blessings.”

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Barr said it’s the things that we often take for granted that are the most precious.

“I used to get up in the morning and go about my business. Now, I know when I get up in the morning that I’m going to sit in this chair all day,” he said. “I’m 88 years old and I may not live all that much longer but I sure would like to be able to see during the time I have left.”

Barr has lost the sight in both eyes. He spends his days stumbling around in darkness.

But he quickly said that he’s not complaining. He’s had too good a life to do that.

“I had a good mother and daddy and I’ve got a good wife and two good children and good grandchildren,” he said. “So, I say, ‘Dick, you are not going to complain.’ I won’t let myself do that. I’m thankful for all the good years but it’s just hard to adjust to not being able to see.”

Barr’s battle with glaucoma began 15 years ago. A surgery was successful for eight years. Then the surgery had to be repeated and was successful for two years.

“My sight just continued to get worse and worse,” he said. “It got where everything was a fog, a thick haze and I knew something had to be done.”

Another surgery was not successful and then the “lights went out.”

“I just can’t see anymore,” Barr said. “I’ve had to adjust to being in the dark.”

Barr has always been active. He owned and operated a dairy farm in Banks for years. He was up and at it before dawn and he knew that the morning light would slowly and beautifully break through those early hours of darkness. And when night fell, he knew the morning light would come.

“We do take things for granted,” he said. “We shouldn’t but we do.”

The total darkness that came to Barr’s life in recent months is confining and that’s not an easy adjustment for him to make.

“For a while I could get out of the house by myself,” he said. “I could stay on the concrete and enjoy being outside but now I can’t detect the ground from the concrete. There are armadillo holes all over the yard. I don’t need to step in a hole and break a leg so I just stay put.”

Watching television isn’t entertaining if you can’t “watch” it.

“I turn on the television and listen to the news and I listen to the radio,” he said. “I enjoy talking with people and that’s about all that I can do. But, life is good and I’m not complaining.”

For Barr, there is a glimmer of hope that he might, through surgery, regain just the tiniest bit of vision.

“Before I lost all of my sight, a pinhole of light came through,” he said. “I’ll go back to my doctor in three weeks and we’ll talk about another surgery that, if successful, would enable me to see enough to get around by myself. That would be a real blessing.”

But, with the hope there is a great concern.

“If infection set in, I could lose my eyeball and I don’t even want to talk about that,” Barr said. “But I do have some hope for a little light in my life again.”

But, if that is not to be, Barr said he still has memories.

“I don’t guess you could say that I picture things in my mind exactly but I have so many good memories and memories keep me going,” he said. “I’ve got a lot to be thankful for so, even though I can’t see, I’m blessed.”