They say that the experience of losing a limb is similar to that of losing a family member. When I heard that initially, I was somewhat skeptical, as I wondered just how the comparison could be made between a living, breathing, talking person and a physical extremity / body part. The closer I get to this loss however, the more I understand the comment.
The longer I think about it, I realize that for me, losing this limb is kind of like losing an estranged spouse.
I'm hesitant to pull the genetics card (since my kiddos are adopted), but in my pondering recently it has occurred to me that I have sort-of inherited an athletic legacy. My dad is, and was a legend in my hometown for his sports capabilities, and folks will commonly recall that I'm "Randy's daughter".... the guy known for his home-runs, high school football and basketball involvement, and "hall of
In high school, I did well in track and diving...participating and placing in the state meets. I was fast and could jump....and I had an awesome toe point (something you don't usually think about much unless you're a diver or gymnast, and obviously, when you think about the things you'll lose when you lose a limb.)
When I met Scott, we shared an interest in sports and the outdoors. We enjoyed being active together and had dreams of being an active family. It was fun coaching my daughter's little tyke
Since my accident, we have done our best to continue this lust-for-life and adventure.....although watching my family participate in many things without me has torn at my heart. It is amazing how you can really miss an ability once an injury has taken it from you, and sitting on the sidelines is incredibly depressing. Until the last two years, I had really taken for granted all of these abilities, and have come to appreciate some of the smallest, such as walking, the most.
In less than a week, I will be saying farewell to my right foot. Damn that's hard. But in doing this, I
What are the things we say as we begin to part with something / someone who is a big part of who we are?
In my case, looking at this cobbled-together ankle/foot....I say "You're not who you used to be." Truthfully, it has been very much like going through a divorce! :) To this limb, I've said: "You're causing me too much pain. You're holding me back from being the person I know I am and can be. You've changed....and you're never going to be what you were. You WERE awesome! We had a good thing going, you and I."
But the closest thing I can get to the "me" I know and love...the active "me", is to let go of this bad relationship. It is the equivalent of having spouse who wants to lay around all day and be a couch potato (pain and limited function will do that to a person.) Functionally, prosthetics will offer a huge improvement. That said......
My sister used to give me a hard time about my ugly feet, and my family would laugh about my talented, flexible toes as I'd hold a spoon between them and feed myself (I know...we're a strange family.) Because I'm right-side dominant, my right foot was obviously considered the more talented one. If I had to fall and crush my tibia again, I'd pick the left one. Ah well.
As one begins to realize any relationship is a total drain, still, the process of moving on is hard. It is not really possible to just "cut it off" and not have that person with you in your heart forever. STILL, sometimes we need to make that cut so we can move on. (Aren't you lovin' the awesome metaphors!?)
To say "goodbye" to this limb is bittesweet. I think folks who suffer a traumatic amputation are usually left shaken and painfully robbed of a very important part of them...similar to losing a loved one very suddenly. And I assume that that grieving is done very intensely at the time their loss is realized. But for folks like me, this ankle has been more like a painful, aching tumor....and while hope was given throughout the long treatment period through lots of surgeries, hopes, and broken promises, there has also been a prolonged grieving period. A feeling of: " hey, I've already lost it....she's not coming back." (the function-ability of my leg, that is....not my mind!)
Sudden or gradual.....loss is not easy.
....but there is life after loss. I've met dozens and dozens of amazing amputees....all with incredible stories. They're all back to DOING WHAT THEY LOVE... I want that. I'm psyched to get that....back! So is my Family....
....I guess, this is the best way to say farewell....