Sometimes there just isn’t the right thing to say to a stranger that is like you, but not like you. The conversation is more about the in-between than the words. They come few and far but they have a lasting impact.
I think that most of you know I happen to be an amputee. Officially I am a bilateral below knee amputee (both legs are amputated below the knee). Hence, the name of my blog – Fancy Feet.
I met a fellow amputee a few days ago while hanging around my prosthetician’s office waiting for one of my prosthetic legs to be copied. (This means I’ll be getting a brand new leg in two to three weeks. Merry Christmas to me! Not really.) Most of us amputees stay out of each other’s way when we go to the office. We go, get the work done, and leave. We don’t sit around commiserating about our experiences wondering what life is all about. It’s like going to the gyno’s office. Nobody talks about why they’re there even though there are limited reasons for why you’re there.
The door to my room was open and she wheeled on over and parked herself in my doorway. I have to admit that, at first, I was a little annoyed because as much as trips to see my leg guy are pretty tedious and downright boring it’s quiet and I like quiet. She is parked and talking. She wants to talk and I can see why. Her amputations are new and they are life-changing. She is missing two hands and two feet and two minutes in I know she wishes she wasn’t here. She was not available when her loved ones decided she should live at the expense of her limbs. And I remembered what that was like – that coming to and how in the hell did this happen to me.
I listened to her. I felt for her. I told her I understood. I tread carefully. I encouraged. I am ten years old at this and she has only just begun this journey of choices and fighting and hopefully reaching a soft landing. I hope she sees that just because parts of her are missing her heart isn’t. I hope she sees she is whole and perfect no matter what her outsides look like. That in fact she is beautiful and brimming with possibility. I hope she will know her loved ones made the right decision. I hope she will believe her life is worth saving.