Her Ex Took Her Sight, But Not Her Passion for Life
BELLEVILLE, Ill. (KMOX) – Men and women in the midst of separation and divorce are at greater risk of aggression from their partner.
For one St. Louis woman, a spouse’s first and last act of violence changed her outlook on life forever.
“Gratitude is a great attitude. Every day you get up, be grateful.”
Jesuita was in the middle of what she thought was an amicable divorce. So when husband Sam asked to speak to her, she had no concerns.
“The next thing I knew, he had a gun pointed at my right temple and he shot me in my head,” she says.
He left her for dead on a sidewalk. A passerby found her and rushed her to the hospital.
Two days later, she learned the bullet had severed her optic nerve.
“I went into a survivor mode,” she says. “I was just trying to live, trying to cope.”
But this former teacher and parole officer was cut off from the world. An avid reader, it took Jesuita two years to learn braille. She found another lifeline, Minds Eye, a radio reading service for the visually impaired that broadcasts from Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, Illinois.
“This was my connection to the world,” she says.”
It continues to be a link for everything from world news to shopping, “a group of us listens to the grocery ads and we either record it or write it in braille and then we discuss what we’re going to shop for for the week.”
Now nearly 30 years since that act of selfishness took her sight, Jesuita says she can do pretty much everything but drive a car. “I did get in and start one, one time,” she jokes. She doesn’t deny there have been frustrations.
“For example, if you go to the doctor and you’re with someone else, they’ll talk to that person instead of you,” she says, chuckling. “That was a challenge for me to educate people and say ‘you can ask me my name, I know it.'”
Her ex-husband served prison time and did apologize to Jesuita before he passed away. Now remarried, she’s active in organizations that serve the blind community. Instead of being bitter about what’s happened, she’s grateful for each day.
“When I’m washing dishes, I tell God, ‘I thank you I’m able to wash dishes. I thank you able to bathe myself, to dress myself’.”
And she tries to help others see what they have to be thankful for, “although tragedies come into our life, we can make. You just have to get up and try.”
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