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When You Can't Speak With a Loved One

Cry a Little
Two families with deaf members talk about their love and struggles to communicate with each other in an uncaring world.
Show transcript
00:00
I actually, it's kind of like a blur for me and I didn't accept
00:05
it when my husband, uh you know, Wilson had kind of hinted about
00:10
it.
00:11
I, I signed it off and I was like, no, there's nothing wrong
00:15
with my son, how they put in heel, your parents, um, especially
00:41
your mom.
00:42
How did it feel when she started to pick up?
00:47
So I saw my mom going to school, right.
00:51
And I remember feeling really impressed and thinking, wow
00:53
finally, you know, she's learning the language, you know
00:56
and, and there were times where I'd have to like, help her
00:58
with her homework, but again, she needed more, she needed
01:02
more experience.
01:03
She was struggling.
01:05
Um Sometimes they would just not treat her well or she would
01:10
get in a really bad mood and sometimes I would sign and, and
01:14
she wouldn't understand me clearly.
01:16
So she would get frustrated and I would have to, you know, backtrack
01:18
and just repeat myself, you know, and, and it was more of like
01:22
encouragement to be like, no, it's ok, you just gotta keep
01:25
going, you know, keep, keep going and keep learning more.
01:28
You'll get used to it, she was learning science with me.
01:40
It was difficult but I did teach her.
01:43
Um and she learned every Wednesday, she went to go learn some
01:47
A sl and it went really well.
01:49
My dad is still learning a sl I'm trying to help him.
01:54
Um We do communicate through text a lot.
02:04
We were young.
02:05
We didn't have the resources to find out where classes where
02:10
we can learn or, you know, we were just winging it.
02:13
So for the most part, we just started making those signs at
02:15
home, like basic sign as far as are you hungry, thirsty, have
02:20
to use the bathroom in front or bag.
02:21
You know, it worked for a while.
02:24
It worked for quite some time.
02:26
But uh he grew up fast and, you know, he evolved with his sign
02:30
language and he left me behind and uh once he left me behind
02:34
it just, it just kind of feel like I never was able to catch
02:37
up when they diagnosed him.
02:58
They said he was hard of hearing.
03:00
So they are like there's hearing in there.
03:03
So we're going to put him in, you know, get him hearing aids
03:06
and he will, you know, he can hear so he will be able to talk.
03:10
They had him um in oral school and, and it was all oral and speech
03:14
therapy and, and at that point, we weren't learning any sign
03:18
language because they said, you know, he will be able to talk
03:21
My thoughts were, he's in a school that's deaf.
03:25
Those are his peers and he's able to communicate, you know
03:28
with them.
03:29
So he'll be ok.
03:31
I'll learn off of him.
03:42
Yes.
03:43
That's the sad part.
03:45
There's little to no communication between, uh, Richie and
03:48
my family or family, you know, and that's kind of what I meant
03:53
by.
03:54
We go 10, put Richie in the corner and that was just not cool
03:57
You know, we caught that they did try, I'm not gonna say they
04:00
didn't, but, you know, life takes us all in different directions
04:04
and, you know, it was hard for them to keep going back and trying
04:08
to learn sign language.
04:09
So that's when we began to pretty much separate ourselves
04:13
as well.
04:14
So that was a tough transition for us to um to let go of, you know
04:21
you gotta let go of certain family members that just, you
04:24
know, willing to learn sign language to communicate with
04:28
rich nervous.
04:35
Um And I'm like, I'm not gonna cry, you know, not so nervous
04:41
of his reaction.
04:42
You know, there was a point in time that we didn't even know
04:46
if he really cared, you know, just because of everything that's
04:49
been going on or like the maybe the resentment that he may have
04:56
I mean, that the babies a lot, it gives me an opportunity to
05:01
the express.
05:02
I think we've all gone through changes, you know, he's gone
05:05
through his changes.
05:05
I've gone through minds.
05:06
I think we're in a better place now where, you know, maybe he'll
05:09
accept my forgiveness is just a part of, uh, maybe the beginning
05:14
of a, of a better relationship with them.
05:19
Ok.
05:23
Eight.
05:35
Hm.
05:42
My baby boy, as always, you know, I love you and would do anything
05:47
for you.
05:49
It hasn't been a smooth ride, but we have learned from each
05:52
other to make it our own imperfect but perfect world.
05:55
I wasn't too accepting of your unique needs because you were
05:59
perfect for me and no one would change my mind.
06:28
Being a teen, dad was difficult for.
06:30
Uh I did not want to accept the responsibilities of being a
06:35
dad.
06:36
Adult decisions were out the window.
06:38
Refusing to grow up has always been a huge problem for me bringing
06:43
you home was one of the proudest moments of my life, proud that
06:47
I had something to do with making something special.
06:50
But perfect that night you were released.
06:54
It was around seven in the afternoon.
06:56
It was dark and it was raining.
07:00
I went from being a reckless driver to the most cautious driver
07:02
you'll ever know.
07:04
I felt like every car was trying to jump into our lane.
07:08
And for the first time that night I knew I had to become your
07:11
protector.
07:34
I failed you as an advocate, as a friend and as a mother, I allowed
07:39
them to deprive you of the language you needed to succeed.
07:42
Yes, I'm blaming them.
07:44
But I'm also 100% at fault for not signing to you and waiting
07:47
for you to teach me now.
07:50
Uh Though I've gotten better, I'm not 100% there yet, but I'm
07:55
still learning to adapt to your culture and teaching you about
07:58
mine.
07:59
No one in, in the family picked up sign language.
08:03
Not even a little bit of signs, your mom and I knew were enough
08:08
giving you everything you wanted wasn't enough.
08:11
I wanted to give you the world and the world almost followed
08:13
me up.
08:15
My refusal to grow up took so much of our time.
08:19
My angry issues, my alcohol and drug problems took so much
08:23
time from us.
08:24
I'm sorry, my boy for not being at that.
08:27
I know I could have been, I apologize for the pain or hurt I caused
08:33
you.
08:34
But most of all I wanna apologize for not being able to communicate
08:37
with you.
08:38
I will always try to do right by you and have your back.
08:42
You've been there.
08:43
You've been through a lot and just like your mama, your papa
08:46
we stand up, shake the dust off our shoulders and keep it moving
08:51
Yeah.
08:51
You have your friends and they come and go but you always have
08:54
your mama by your side.
08:56
Love you always your mama.
09:26
Yeah.
09:29
Yeah.
09:42
For real.
09:45
Mm.
09:56
I'm, I'm very thankful and grateful that I was able to read
10:00
this letter to him.
10:01
I don't like reading.
10:02
I kind of just wanna, I'm more off the head kind of guy but very
10:07
thankful to be here and, and just to hear what he had said, it's
10:10
just, uh, you know, he remembers a lot and he's, uh, I didn't
10:18
know he felt that way, you know what I mean?
10:20
So makes me feel a little bit better that I feel like I did a good
10:24
job, but you keep him the one.
10:59
So I understand, you know, that things in life affected life
11:03
got in the way and sometimes we had to adjust, you know, but
11:07
that's how it is, you know, you have your ways and I have my ways
11:10
and I'm glad that we can just come to an understanding just
11:14
hearing.
11:14
Um he signed super fast.
11:18
So you, your sign is like super fast and I always tell you to
11:21
slow down but having that voice, um you know, that the signs
11:28
become like a actual voice uh from the interpreter.
11:31
It's, it's like, wow, just it, it's, it's, I know, you know
11:43
it's hard to explain, but I'm proud of him.
11:50
What I can say to you.
11:51
And for those who have Children with special needs is learn
11:55
as much as you can.
11:58
I mean, try to understand your child because uh they're gonna
12:06
grow, they're gonna grow and you know, as they get older, they're
12:10
gonna, you know, detach themselves from you and go out into
12:15
the world and you wanna make sure that they're gonna be all
12:18
right.
12:20
And to hear Richie talk today makes me feel like he's gonna
12:22
be all right.
12:25
And, uh, I just wish I could have, uh, been able to communicate
12:33
and find that out on my own.
12:35
Oh, my, that would be awesome.
12:38
Hm.
12:43
Have chosen a path where it's, uh, it's gonna be us, you know
12:47
me and my three kids now, you know, we try to tell parents don't
12:51
let, oh, I don't have time or I, I just got off work and I'm tired
12:55
be that reason of not going to learn sign language because
12:59
that was us.
13:00
That was me.
13:01
Oh, I'm tired.
13:02
I have to look after, you know, my, my other kids and that's
13:06
how we tell them, like include your other kids, you know, to
13:09
learn as well.
13:13
Ok, my, my mom, she's always, you know, struggled when I, when
13:17
I was growing up, you know, I would see other kids and how they
13:20
were learning and also struggling, you know, and they were
13:23
looking for schools or finding a place and that was something
13:28
that, you know, my mom needed to consider finding a location
13:32
that, you know, would, would provide for me and to finally
13:35
put me in a, in a deaf school that, well, it's a, it's a mainstream
13:38
school hearing and deaf people together.
13:41
Um And after a while my mom started to see, you know, that I was
13:44
picking up a little bit of my culture when it comes to a sl but
13:47
I was still struggling if you have um a child born to deaf parents
13:52
and they know sign language, even if it's a little bit.
13:55
I mean, that's, that's luck right there.
13:57
I mean, that's already a kid being set up for a better future
14:00
So this is something that, you know, my mom is trying to encourage
14:04
you know, um maybe giving resources from different schools
14:08
in their areas, finding facilities, getting them in touch
14:11
with people that may know, you know, and then she can suggest
14:15
people from the organization itself, you know, and then people
14:19
can come in and take classes, you know, and also find community
14:24
So we try to help, try to encourage and I feel good because this
14:28
just means that their kids will be set up to be successful in
14:31
the future, you know, instead of being shunned or, you know
14:35
being ignored or being told, like uh later, later, like actually
14:38
sit down have communication instead of just leaving them
14:41
to their own devices.