Tuesday, May 01, 2007

My grandpop's last words (in a response to Ron Fenicle's vLog)

Ron Fenicle's vLog on Grandma's Last Words inspired mei to share my hearing grandpop who was also told that using sign language was a taboo and he expressed his last words to my surprise. Although Ron's mother and my mother grew up in the same area, this was a common advice for parents not to use sign language even across the nation.

YouTube Later on, guilt and shame were burdened upon themselves but forgiven under the circumstances that they were told by the so-called experts not to use signs. Today, parents of deaf children were provided the options but those who chose to use oral method exclusively may not realize the negative impact on the social and emotional growth to their deaf child(ren). The more stories we share, the more impact we can make to help realize the importance of using ASL when raising deaf children.


Anonymous said...

Hopefully, you will post your story in youtube.com soon. I could not open your current clip. :(


Renee J said...

Oh gosh! My eyes got filled with tears!! I visited my grandfather as much as I could when he moved to a nursing home hundreds of miles away from his hometown of 60+ years. Those visiting times were my best time with him because we could finally sit and talk one-to-one and I got to know him a lot more during his last year more than all my life. No, he never learned sign language but I was trained orally so those one-to-one visits were memorable.
My mother is almost 70 and she struggles learning sign language because she was told it was wrong to learn sign language.
My brother who is 4 years older than me wishes he could learn sign language a long time ago. I'm rambling - I could go on and on but I'm sure many of you experience the same thing, especially us the "DOH" (if we want to label, that is...).

- Renee J.

mishkazena said...

Oh, this is so heartbreaking. He communicated in one sign at the end and gave you all the most precious message.

I have tears rolling down my face.

Amy said...

Please pass the tissue box -- I need one!

Barbara... HUGS!

Amy Cohen Efron

John Lestina --- said...

AMY...Please pass the tissue box! I need one, too!

Ward & Ginny Nyholm said...

Awwww.....ABC....please pass the tissue box as tears go down my cheeks!!!

Barb...HUGS...HUGS!! I would like to share your story along with Ron Fenicle's and Jack Levesque's to enlighten the parents and the people surrounding them to be empowered! All right??


Beautiful Hands said...

Ward & Ginny
Pass the tissue box to me!
I will pass to next commentor

Beautiful Hands said...

Sorry, forgot to add "it (tissue box)" to next commentor....

Cy said...


Darn you, I actually cried. I stayed home today with a nasty indigestion and here I am, watching your vlog, and bawling. I bet the tissue box is long gone now. Pass a new box, please!

Lisa C. said...

Is the tissue box new? Then pass it to me.
Don't forget the waste basket.

Anonymous said...

God bless your Grandfather! Its so hard for me to read or watch those stories because it makes me cry ...

You and I know how important it is to get our stories of intergeneration heartbreaks out there.

Write about it too so we can also English archives to reach out to new parents of deaf infants.

Thank you for the beautiful story... ILY

Julie Rems-Smario

kira said...

ur vlog made me cry.. i remmy my grandpa-in-law signed to me "ily" too 2 years before he passed away....

Dianrez said...

Bless you, Barb for keeping this issue in front of everybody. Too many of us have experienced regret that our parents or grandparents never learned sign right up to the moment of death. Maybe it will sink in some people before it is too late. (the tissue box is empty!!!)

Aidan Mack said...

WOW! A hearttouching story! Thank God I have a napkin with me.

It is very important for family to be involved Deaf community, and learn about Deaf culture and ASL. Deaf children will feel accepted from their family. They would not have some kind of experience like feeling rejection and abnormal. This world is not owned by hearing people. This world owns by diverse groups.

When we adopt babies and children from other countries, it is important for us as parents to get involved in their cultures and languages, not like 100 percents but still show some kind of involvement. So it is applied to Deaf Diverse America Child.

I wish I had your experience when my grandmother passing away. She was always uncomfortable with me because of me being Deaf. She felt so sad that I born Deaf. She separated herself from me.

I am glad you didn't have my experience. Your experience is so special and inspiring to us who don't have this experience because we know your experience and message are true and right about parents and grandparents, or any relatives should take a part of Deaf community and right thing to ask them to make an effort to learn ASL.


Domvera said...

I have plenty of facial tissues for you all. Smile!


Your vlog reached my touching heart when your grandfather signed "I LOVE YOU". Very beautiful!

My mom regreted me that she learned from the medical and educational advice about oral system and blamed their system. She wished to learn sign language when I was baby.

As of today, she is an ASL interpreter at Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, California, passed in writing exam through RID and plan to continue in ASL studies in order to pass another exam eventually. We communicated very well by ASL. Some of my siblings knew basic sign language and we communicate easily.

God bless you including everybody!

Warmly hugs,

Nick Vera

IamMine said...

I hope that was a BIG box of tissues.

Too many of us understand and have gone through that. :S

Thank you for sharing with us about your wonderful grandfather!

Perhaps he and my grandfathers, along with other grandparents are chatting in ASL up there!!!


ASL Risen said...

Iam Mine, pls pass me a BIG box of tissues! My eyes got flooded with tears!

Oh my gosh! Your grandfather's last word "ILY" touched my heart!!

Barb, HUGS!!! Shawn

Karen Mayes said...

Beautiful. "I love you" in any forms... spoken, written, signed... as the last words before departing... always powerful. Your grandfather communicated with you and your family... beautiful. He recognized all of you and accepted all of you... beautiful.

mochame said...

Oh, You touch my heart and already filled my tears!

Anonymous said...

oh, oh, oh, where is that tissue? Please do pass it on to me. Tears flowing down on my face.

Wow, I am so glad that you and your family was there for your grandfather! Those little things such as saying ILY in sign does make a huge impact on you and your life!

I do wonder, is your grandmother still living? If so, was she surprised to find that you have Deaf children as well?

Thanks so much for sharing your story Barb! Hopefully people will share more stories like yours and Ron. And in that will encourage hearing parents of Deaf children to make good decisions for their well being and future.

Kelly -

Barb DiGi said...

Aww, gee, I should have warned you about having the Kleenex in hand so sorry about that.

My grandpop tried his best to communicate with us just like my grandmom who is now still living at the golden age of 92 yrs old. Fortunately, she is blessed with good health (she drinks beer every Sunday!).

My grandmom is living with my deaf parents and has been surrounded with deaf friends visiting them. She is now the only hearing person in the house but she participates in conversing with my parents' friends using gestures and they love her dearly. It helps that she has an outgoing personality and loves to talk.

When she found out that my children are deaf, she was half surprised especially that my older sister already had two hearing children. My grandmom loves all of her grandchildren equally and gives them undivided attention. God bless her!

Ocean said...

A beautiful and touching story indeed, Barb.

I have to confess... I didn't have quite the same sort of communication problems with my family, in that I do have above-average speech and lipreading skills.

However, in spite of such skills, trying to communicate at family gatherings such as Christmas always ended up being something of a lesson in frustration, trying to follow all the conversations, etc.

The result is that I feel more or less like an outside in my own family, and thus I truthfully don't spend much time with my family members.

Yes, I have made some sacrifices as a result of such choices, and that does hurt. When my father died of a massive heart attack a couple of years ago, I hadn't seen him for over two years, and that was hard. I never got a chance to say goodbye, and we never really talked about my being Deaf or the issues that raised in my family relationships.

That's a bitter pill to swallow, and something I will live with for the rest of my life.

Anonymous said...

Oh Barb, your grandma drinks beer every Sunday!

Man, She ROCKS! ;) That is just too funny!

So glad that she treats everyone equal with tons of love!

Lucky you~*

Kelly -

moxie_mocha said...


That was a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing.

Have you ever thought about making it into a short film with pictures of your family?


TigerSarah24 said...

Wow, very touching! My partner and I had tears streaming down our eyes and goosebumps.. our relatives have said the same thing when we bring our deaf friends to family events, they are always in awe, although they do ask us to speak, they always encouraged us to sign because it made us happy. Natural language.

God bless you all

Deaf Poet said...

WOW!! I just watched your vlog, and I cried so hard at your grandfather's love for you all by saying ILY as his last words. You are very fortunate to have such closeness with your hearing family...partially cuz of Italian culture, I'm sure. Part of why I bawled was it brought back to my memory of my last time with my father who laid in hospital bed, dying, my older sister suggested we get someone, chaplain, to come...she came, she tried to encourage him to pray...he refused three times, slowly turned over and faced me, mouthed his words, "Leave...me...alone!" I was shocked and cried silently with my sister hugging me, also crying.
My sister told me (after he passed away) that the reason my dad stopped going to church was because I was deaf. Isn't that sad?! I've tried to communicate with him but it's always short and never had any long talks like he did with my other siblings.
So consider yourself blessed! Smile!
I don't know how I missed this one and a few others, so this is my late response...box of kleenex all gone but I got my own, smile! Keep on vlogging girl! You really blessed my heart with your vlogs n blogs! You are truly gifted n keeping using it! You ROCK!!!!!
Deaf Woman

Mr. Sandman said...

I know this comes many months later, but I'm reviewing everyone's vlogs/blogs for the DeafRead contest prior to voting, and am revisiting yours.

Thanks for sharing a very personal story-- I think it drives home yet again the point that communication is vital to society, regardless of the language used. I think your grandfather "got" that at the very end. It also emphasizes that love is universal.

Hope to see you at the upcoming conference? Thanks again for the help during the History conference at Gallaudet-- much appreciated! :)