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Deaf Lives in Contrast: Two Women’s Stories

Mary V. Rivers and
Dvora Shurman

Silent World
Mary V. Rivers


I remember clearly sitting in the doctor’s office and hearing her tell me that my little boy could not hear anything, that he was deaf. I also remember hearing her say that she could do nothing to help him. This was a great shock to me, and it made me very angry. How could she be so cruel, to interfere with the happy life my husband and three handsome little boys led? Monty was three, Darrell was two, and Clay was only fourteen months old. Clay was a healthy looking baby. He had a round face and very alert green eyes and a reddish curl of hair on the top of his head. He was an adorable baby. They were all very handsome little boys. Now this doctor was telling me that Clay was deaf. I couldn’t believe this was happening to me. I had read about it happening to other people, but not to me.

Clay’s deafness was invisible, and I knew nothing about his silent world. I imagined it was like living in a large glass bubble, seeing everything and hearing nothing. I felt like he lived in one world and I lived in another.

From that point on, instead of being resentful, I realized that I must study his every movement in order to try and understand what each meant. I had to face reality, because Clay’s deafness was mine to conquer with much strength and courage. I prayed to God to please show me the way. I knew nothing of this deaf world and it scared me.