“Hope is continually moving ahead despite the way being in total darkness and the wolves are closing in. You press on because the alternative is to lie down and do nothing but despair. Hope draws you forward to that next step and the one after that. Over the next hill, beyond the distant bend there is light.”
My Grandfather, the author quoted above, was an amazing man. He understood a lot about losing hope and finding it again. As a boy he had polio and had to teach himself to walk again. He carried on talking to and cheering people up even though he had leukemia and didn’t feel well.
I learned from him every day of my life. Even though he’s now gone, I still learn, rather, relearn from him. During the past summer I became an amputee. I knew it was going to happen, I had chosen to amputate but it still hit me surprising hard. I sank into an overwhelming sadness. I wanted so badly to speak to my grandfather and I decided to look through his journals, stories and poems I keep in a box. At the bottom of the box I found a small placard he had painted and given to me as a child facing my fifth surgery. It read: Though the journey is long, take the first step.
One step? I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t walk. Frankly, I got a little mad. If I can’t walk, what use is it to try? Then a thought from a past lesson occurred to me. Think of it from a new angle. What if I looked at it as a STEP of progress towards a new life? Maybe I would walk again on my own two feet, that was my goal but maybe God had other plans. Either way, I was alive. I could still improve my life by reaching small goals.
That little saying motivated me to start setting and attaining goals. I wrote on 3 August 2013, on my second month ampuversary and only a day after my husband deployed: I’m proud of myself! I showered, donned the leg, got downstairs, dropped applesauce on the floor and managed to clean it up, crutched out to my car, drove to and did one hour of PT, got home without total puffing, and now I’m finally going to SIT on the couch totally worn out but Happy, Happy, Happy.
That might sound like an ordinary day to Two Legged Walker out there but lower limb amputees know how hard it can be as a newbie just to figure out how to shower without killing yourself or drowning the bathroom, how hard and confusing it can be to put on the leg, how tiring it is to push a walker or move on crutches and what a challenge it can be to move around in a world going twice as fast as you can hop.
My grandfather gave me hope. Anybody can do a single STEP. It might be an actual step or it might be a simple step in your overall progress. But it is possible and there is always light following darkness. Blessings on your journey.