Jen and meLast Saturday two wonderful hearing loss support groups in my area met together for a picnic. Members of the Chicago and Northwest Indiana chapters of ALDA (Association of Late Deafened Adults) and HLAA (Hearing Loss Association of America) enjoyed an outdoor lunch at a park in Dyer, a town located on the Indiana/Illinois border.
At last year's picnic I met Jen [pictured above] for the first time. We saw each other again at the HLAA convention in Milwaukee and have stayed in touch sporadically through email and facebook. It was amazing to see her again at this event, one she drove a significant distance to attend.
Bill and Ann
I was also happy to spend time with Bill and Ann who are new to the group(s). They are a couple I know from my church who I have encouraged to come to other events, but this was the first one they were able to attend. It was interesting to share our hearing loss experiences. Interestingly, they've recommended that I sit by them in church so I will hear better. They said I've been sitting in a very bad spot for sound. Further into our conversation, I found out that Bill is sponsoring a short story contest and that Ann is in the process of writing a cookbook with recipes for cooking from scratch. I'm looking forward to hearing more about those projects.
As this was my third time coming to the picnic, I saw a lot of familiar faces. Big smiles and hugs were the standard greeting here. Even though I had a few butterflies in my stomach before coming, reminiscent of my first time, I was able to morph into a social butterfly once I arrived because I felt welcomed by everyone. Especially Kim, Tahar, Kitty, Marsha, Ann, Gary, Jen, and Linda.
I recommend that everyone with hearing loss join a support group and make friends with people who understand what it's like and will take the time to communicate with you. Here are links to the two groups that sponsored the picnic. They are national organizations with local chapters throughout the country.
ALDA - Association of Late Deafened Adults
HLAA - Hearing Loss Association of America
If any of my international readers would like me to add the links to their organizations, please leave me a comment and I will add them to this post. Thanks.