25 years ago, my old life ended. Then, in a spark of light, a new one began. I had no idea, at that time, just what adventures and surprises this new life would hold. It was a very different world and I was a very different me. Little did I know what an amazing journey lay ahead of me as I found myself, my purpose and my happy place in this new world.
It’s funny but for the first few months following my encounter with the train, I still had my leg in my dreams. Then one night, during a particularly vivid dream, I found myself standing in a grassy field. The sun was setting and clouds were rolling in. The air felt cool and damp, as if rain was but a moment away. I began to walk through the tall grass as the twilight deepened and the skies began to swell with the energy of the coming storm. A raindrop struck my face. I looked up as another found it’s mark. The drops struck with such force that it was almost painful. I remember feeling as though I had to find shelter. I needed a place to hide from this painful rain that was now bombarding me. Then I saw something. A shape formed in the deepening gloom. I ran to it and suddenly I found myself crouched behind an old, broken down wooden farm sled. The kind farmers like my grandfather had once used to carry large rocks as they cleared new land.
I was timidly looking out into this huge field as a now wicked storm raged. I remember feeling a growing sense of frustration and anxiousness well up in my chest. I felt trapped and unsure of what to do next. This buzzing built up inside me until I felt as though I would explode. Then, suddenly, I leapt up and began running with wild abandon across the field. I felt such a release as this happened. Every bit of doubt, frustration, pain and fear suddenly melted away. It was as though the storm was cleansing me. I looked down as I raced between raindrops and noticed that I had a prosthesis. A mischievous grin spread across my face as an even deeper sense of relief flooded through me. The storm, that had seemed so terrifying and fearsome, now delivered an energy that fueled me somehow; I smiled and ran even faster. I woke just as the storm began to break. As I lay there in my bed, back in the waking world, I was still in considerable pain but grinning from ear to ear. From that day on, in every single dream I remember, I have been “me”, prosthesis and all.
A psychologist I was seeing after the accident told me that was my moment of acceptance. It felt like it. It’s at that moment my self-image changed to include the prosthesis. Looking back on the dream, you may see why I often say “It’s not always about waiting out the storm. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
I don’t want to sound as though, in an instant, everything was suddenly perfect because of a dream. The truth is, I would have many more bad days before the number of good ones began to tip the scale but this was big. This was the beginning of something important. After that dream, I no longer saw myself as damaged or injured even. I began to see myself for what I was now, a person transformed. When that happened, I began to truly heal.
25 years later and I can honestly say I am the happiest I have ever been. I can’t be certain what my life would have been like if the events of that day in 1992 had unfolded differently, but I can’t imagine it could possibly have been any more filled with adventure, lessons, excitement, love, and happiness than this one has been. I found my happy place and it was along this path. Everything I went through and dealt with along the way made it all the sweeter of a discovery when I found it.
It won’t always be easy. It won’t always be fun. But be strong and pour your heart into the journey because I guarantee you it WILL be worth it. Take a walk with me as I talk about acceptance and how you can find it too in the video section accompanying this blog.
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