On Loss, Being Lost and Full Acceptance of Losing


It took me forever to really realize and recognize the hard bloody truth that she lost both of her legs. For a young lady in her early twenties, that would sound like a huge, huge blow to the whole wellbeing of hers as a humanbeing. Chances are she may have lost the spirit to continue living on earth. 

Upon hearing the news I never thought that was this bad. I meant this very bad. She was severely injured. And even to imagine the whole situation felt too much and overwhelming to my stomach. Imagine you are lying there, with full conscious yet complete helplessness, knowing a truck’s tires ran over your very dear legs. A very heartbreaking tragedy it was.

Maybe I don’t have the idea of losing legs, but I do know how it feels to be so desperate, thinking of the future without being able to walk again with your feet, and in my former case, without being able to walk again with my right leg. As a fifth grader wannabe, I had to come to terms with the fact that I was losing my ability to walk again after an accident I couldn’t even recall in my memory (I was sleeping in total peace when the calamity struck the whole bus passengers, one was found dead). In spite of the temporariness, there were times when I just lay down like a dormant bear in a cold winter of Antarctic lamenting over my unmoving right leg. To know something bad happened to you and being so powerless at the same time, that was a soul-crushing moment for the younger me. And without warning, despair seeped through. Like a shark wanting more easy prey, the despair swarmed and accumulated around me. “Will I walk like all the normal 12-year-old boy ever again? I think I will, but what if I won’t??? What should I do about it? Will my family and the people around me accept me as I am if the accident has seriously crippled my right leg? Will I have friends, normal walking friends? Will they avoid seeing me? Will I be exiled from the social circles I was in before? What kind of future am I heading? Is it still the same future I will have when I walked and ran normally without crutches? If I can’t walk again, will I be sent to a school filled with similar people like me? Will I be one of the pariahs? Will my life get a lot tougher with this crippled leg?” The wondering was growing wilder and wilder as time passed. Even if people around you looked as supportive as they could appear, under such a circumstance, you can still smell something fishy, even if there is no fish around. Behind all the warm smiles and lovely gifts and bear hugs, I could sense that tears are hidden from me. They must have been saying this by heart:”This bony tiny lad must be really suffering. It must be difficult for him to know his future is ruined before his eyes.” My heart sank, not because I heard words they uttered but more because of the words in my own head.

But as it turned out, things were not that bad. I could walk again, run like I did. Suddenly I know my suffering for a year was just a phase. It wouldn’t last for good. And all is well at last. I am not as deeply traumatized as my sister, who was wide awake during the accident, and my slightly broken bone healed with the grace of God. Within 12 months or so, my life is back to normality.

Things were just totally different with my cousin. Losing both of legs is way different from a single broken right femur (thighbone), which happened to me.

As I rewrote an article about Jeff Bauman (27), the Boston marathon bombing victim who also happened to lose both of his legs, the other day at work I almost poured out tears while typing. I really want my cousin, who is being in extreme pain post amputation surgery, read every word Bauman said in this article.

After more than two weeks in indescribable agony, my cousin must be completely lost. She loses not only her legs, but also her mind, her sanity, her future post graduation (She is in the process of graduating, her graduation ceremony is one and half month away), her ideal job, her ideal depiction of a psychologist. “Of all people, why me?” she must ask God like a zillion times. Because she could have been spared this disaster if God wished so. But regardless of one’s piety, there is always part of him/ her which protests against a bitter incident. That is part of the process of unpleasant reality acceptance and everyone, who is sucked this deep by a misfortune in life, is going through that.

Yet, there is going to be a point, hopefully in the near future, when she can come to terms with all these losses.

And I would like her to think this way: We sometimes have to lose a certain things in life so as to make room for the newer, better things. We are humans, immortal creatures with limitation including this restricted, transient life. Our life cannot contain all the wanted happiness we have always thought we are ascribed to. We are to lose to get. That is the trade law of life, I suppose.

At the moment it happened we have no ide why it happened. It is not a big deal at the time, what matters most is how one can deal with the pain and sorrow and afterwards, think of the next strategy of living the life with an entirely dissimilar self circumstances.

The next phase she will certainly go through is how she moves on. If life goes the different way one never wants it to, maybe the most sensible thing to come in mind, other than comitting suicide, is how to compromise with the new loss. I am amazed by a person who completely lost his walking ability after polio left him crippled for the rest of his life. He uses his arms so often that he develops very strong and muscular arms like no one does. For the open minded, it is a blessing in disguise, indeed. For the narrow minded, the greater strength of the arms can never replace the joy of having both legs intact and fully functional.

Speaking about blessing in disguise, I came to understand that once a door is shut in front of my nose, there are many more doors to come despite the seemingly miserable life. What I have to do is to keep opening new doors until I find something better.

One thought on “On Loss, Being Lost and Full Acceptance of Losing

  1. Aku tak tahu harus bilang apa. Menangis sedih tapi pada satu sisi aku juga tahu, she’ll be fine. Banyak DPOs dan UN yang berkerja untuk disability rights, perubahan pelan tapi pasti akan terjadi, untuk kehidupan yang lebih baik bagi teman2 difabel.

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