Understand that most people WON’T understand. Understand?


This past week I was talking with coworkers about my amputation and how almost dying, at least for me, was a blessing and a curse.  It was a blessing because it caused me, in the most abrupt and violent way, to be shaken to the core which forced me to slow down and smell the proverbial roses that I never knew existed at 200 miles per hour.  For that immediately reduction in speed, I am totally and completely thankful because the good Lord knows I wasn’t going to do it on my own.  The word ‘slow’ just wasn’t in my vocabulary before my wreck.  Sadly, it took a tree to make it happen.  Dear God, could you have picked something a bit softer though?  Whew!

On the flip-side, waking up each day knowing that I am alive after an accident that should have killed me, makes me pretty much stop right there and not ask for much more of anything out of life, like the desire to advance in my career or make more money doing things like public speaking or writing.  I mean, career advancement is always a good thing and my wife loves to spend extra money shopping online, but who am I to want more out of a life when I almost didn’t have one?  And as such, I now spend all my energy trying to help others by passing on what I have learned through all my ups and downs of life.  And I am proud to say, I have been given the opportunity to help many folks around the world.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take free food and small gifts as payment for my advice, but as far as I’m concerned, paying it forward is my modus operandi and most importantly, it is my purpose for existing. 

With all that said, have you scratched your head yet and wondered if I was sane?  Well if you have never fear, you just joined plenty of others who thought I was crazy, and a million more who have looked at me like they had no idea what I was trying to say.  And really it’s okay because I know they don’t know.  Just like all my amp peeps reading this, unless they walk a mile with our prosthesis or try to hold a child with only one arm or hand, there is no way those weird “normal” people are going to understand anyway.  But for us, the limbless, we do understand; like it’s a secret handshake or unspoken gesture, no matter how crazy we sound to others, we amps understand each other, if even just a little.

It’s because we each have our own philosophies about life and about why we had to lose our beloved body part.  In an attempt to make sense of it all and answer that question of “why”, we all looked to something only found within each of us in order to find guidance through those dark days.  And to complicate it further, our analysis was framed by our past experiences and by how we saw our future as an amputee, and by how traumatic the events that led up to our amputation were.  It is a train of thought that only we as amps are privilege to have.  So really, how can we expect anyone else in our lives, loved ones included, to even remotely begin to understand where we are coming from when we talk about getting through our ordeals?  It’s simply a foreign concept that they are incapable of comprehending.

Well, I made that mistake this week and left a handful of people looking at me like a dog hearing a high-pitched sound; their heads cocked to the side, bewildered about what I was saying and wondering when my story would end.  When I saw that, I purposely wrapped up my speech and went on with life.  No, my feelings weren’t hurt and I wasn’t angry when they lost attention.  I just had to understand that most people won’t understand, and I went on with my day.  Understand? Have a good one, until next time.   

One Comment Add yours

  1. Treva Hensley says:

    I understand completely, I lost my left leg AK as well. I was 58 at the time 2003. The older I get the harder it is to walk, People just don’t understand. I got a blood clot really fast ended up having the amputation while in a coma. I admire you for what you are doing, I knew there was a reason for it just like there is for everything. I have been able to visit with new amps and only hope I was of some help. God Bless you.


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