Miles O'Brien on life after losing an arm

Stories really ground me. I find I can be touched by stories in ways that surpass almost any other form of expression. I save up stories for hard days. For days when I crave connection, motivation, love. Stories of redemption, of imperfect people finding restoration or the unexpected in the hearts of others or in themselves. They lift me up, sustain me. This story by a New York Times reporter about losing an arm was one of those. I especially liked the ending, about how learning to depend on others led to this highly self-critical man allowing love into his heart for the first time.  I especially like the ending:

I could tell you about toasting a bagel, opening a new box of cereal, or changing the trash bag, but you get the idea. A morning routine that used to take 30 minutes now lasts more than an hour. At the end of each day, I have always done less than I expected to do. This makes me cranky. I have, grudgingly, learned that it is not always good to try to do everything yourself. And I am asking for help much more than I ever did before. Guess what? People want to help. Especially other amputees, who have been generous with ideas and experiences.

Two months to the day after my accident, I went to see a therapist for the first time in my life. I didn’t know where to begin. We discussed loss and resilience and the will to live and adapt. But when I started talking about the outpouring of love and support that I had received since my accident, I began weeping uncontrollably. I realized that for the first time in my life, I was truly letting love into my heart. Losing an arm has connected me to others in a way I have never felt. Yes, I have suffered a tremendous loss, but in a way, I feel as if I have gained much more.

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