When someone goes to war and loses a limb (or two) and comes home with burn marks running from an ugly stump up their torso and around the back of their body...
When someone who has faced such a radical shift of capacity—the loss of a leg upon which to walk—returns to the place where they engage with the life they had before their traumatic loss...
When anyone of us becomes a fraction less of who we were at any one time, no matter what that fraction of loss may be--
Those who witness this do not expect life to go back to normal, to return to what it was--
Life without a foot, a leg, an arm or even an eye is not ever going to be "normal" again. It is a permanent loss.
Losing a beating heart, a warm hand that reaches toward us when we are alone, a familiar voice that calls our name, or a place to rest our head on top of someone else's, or next to or even under their chin...losing such a person is not something you ever "bounce back" from.
The change is permanent. What is missing cannot be replaced.
We can learn to live again, to adapt and make some changes. We can find ways to walk on, move forward.
But if we walk with a limp? If we hobble and stumble and never again break into a jog, let alone a sprint? If our brokenness does not let us do the tango....Is that not one of the acceptable ways of being?
There is a way of being that is incomplete. Not what I was and not what I would choose to be. But don't pretend I can get over the loss of someone who was and always will be a part of me.
A hollow unfilled space inside that echos with a capacity for innocent joy that I no longer have.
Do I live more intentionally as a result? Yes.
But don't expect that I will ever fully heal.
And don't ask me to pretend. (You can't pretend to tango.)
I write on how humans develop and grow through challenges we face. I've divided this into three categories--Growing Love is about relationships and how we create conditions for growth despite the inevitable challenges. Cloudburst is about grief, specifically—which is a tricky topic. We need to keep growing but pushing is the opposite of helpful. And in Dancing on Hot Sand I talk about personal inner growth in hard places—spiritual growth, without sounding religious, I hope.