“When I first lost my sight, it was a nightmare,” said Kebbeh.
Twenty nine years ago Kebbeh says her sister was going through a divorce.
“Her name is Mary Ann. Mine is Mary Sue,” she said.
On Christmas Night, her sister was supposed to pick up the kids from a wrestling match.
“She was busy so I told her that I would go pick her up,” said Kebbeh. “When I got out, there was this man standing there and he wasn’t there when I drove up, and he asked me if my name was Mary and I said, ‘Yeah.’ And when I said that, he just threw this chemical in my face. We think that it was meant for her, but I was where she was supposed to be.”
One minute she could see the world. One minute later, darkness.
“It was a mixture of Draino and something else that only affects the mucus parts of your body,” said Kebbeh.
That darkness for Kebbeh became all encompassing.
“I was afraid of my own footsteps. I had never been in the dark. I was just afraid of everything and I felt like life was over,” she said.
A rehab therapist from the State Commission For The Blind came to Kebbeh’s house. Slowly, surely, the all-encompassing darkness started to lift.
“She taught me to feel like a woman again, to be strong,” said Kebbeh.
Over the following months and years she finished rehab and started working various jobs until coming to the Dallas Lighthouse For The Blind last year.
“Since I have been at the Dallas Lighthouse, it is an inspiration because I am working around people like me and it’s amazing what they can do,” said Kebbeh.
The work is nothing special. Kebbeh makes sure phone and fax machine numbers are up to date for doctors’ offices. What is special is that Kebbeh does it alone with just the help of a computer.
“29 years ago, I didn’t even want to live blind. I didn’t want to live period after I lost my sight, but now I live a normal life,” said Kebbeh.
“We are the largest employer for people who are blind or visually impaired in North Texas. We’ve got about 235 associates here,” said Blake Lindsay with Dallas Lighthouse For The Blind.
From the manufacturing plant to business services, through work, through having a job, the blind are given a sense of purpose.
“They’re excited about it. Making their own paychecks. Buying their own food with their own money and having independence again,” said Lindsay.
“If you can’t go out anywhere else and find a job, there is just no hope. This is a place where there is hope,” said Kebbeh.
One minute she could see the world. One minute later, darkness. But in the minutes, the hours, the days and months and years since, she is seeing the world again in a way that none of us could understand, but in a way all of us could learn from.
“Now I don’t look at people. I listen to people,” said Kebbeh. “I think with the love of my family and the Man above, my heart has no anger and I think losing my sight has made me a better person.”