This post isn't "Dale's leg amputation story" (although I will get to that someday). We watched the movie Soul Surfer tonight and I thought I'd post a few thoughts about it while it was fresh in my mind. First of all, it was an inspiring, feel-good movie. Dale was born in Hawaii and we love the beauty (and feel, and smell, and TASTE) of the islands. But Dale didn't enjoy the movie.
It's been 19 years since he lost his leg (in a motorcycle accident) and a lot of the details have faded with time. This movie brought many of them back. Some of the pain points were obvious to me, others were more personal to him. When Helen Hunt (the mom) receives a phone call and then speeds towards the hospital, I felt that. Following the ambulance to the emergency room, not knowing if your loved one will live or die, well yeah, I felt that too. Watching as Bethany (lying in the hospital bed) reaches over to where her arm should be, only to feel the void, well that's worse in real life.
After "the accident" Dale picked himself up and carried on, playing in a paintball tournament (on crutches) just three weeks later (ignoring the ooze of the wound). Then a couple months later he wore his "first prosthetic" for a softball tournament. He had been pitching from a wheelchair, but for the championship game he really wanted to stand on his own (without crutches), so he duct taped a 2 by 4 to his stump and pitched the game "on two legs."
Life does go on. And yet life is never the same, for the disabled or their loved ones. Dale has become an expert at explaining his "robot leg" to kids in the grocery store, but no one in our family gets used watching him suffer through very real "phantom" pains.
I guess what I'm getting at here is that sometimes it takes a movie to remind you of what a gift life is. And sometimes all it takes is watching your husband put on his leg in the morning.