My colleagues and I recently attended AMBA (Alberta Mortgage Brokers Association) Conference and the keynote speaker was a gentleman by the name of Warren MacDonald. Warren was in a serious accident in which he lost both of his legs and he was there to inspire us to rise above adversity. He was both funny and charming – the Australian accent didn’t harm his appeal at all!
Just 10 months after his accident he climbed Candle Mountain (Tasmania) – he did this with a modified wheelchair, the seat of his pants and some serious guts and determination. Can you imagine – just 10 months? I need 10 months to get over a bad haircut! As he was talking to us about his inspiration to do this he described looking at a picture of himself before his accident – wondering if he would ever be that person again.
I have grappled with that very question a whole lot not only since becoming a mother but since becoming the mother of a child with Cystic Fibrosis. Most of the differences now are lifestyle – choices that my husband I have made to keep Rowan as healthy as possible (included in this is the decision that I work-from-home). But, those lifestyle changes have made a great impact on how I define myself – how I think others perceive me – how I get through day to day life and I’m not gonna lie, have resulted in pretty serious bouts of self-pity.
It was difficult to hold back my tears as I listened to him speak about how not having legs doesn’t define him – it’s something he hardly even thinks about… he is who he is with or without legs. That’s who I want to be – of course we change – we have to – but fundamentally there is no reason that I can’t be the person I was before – I have just been stuck. Stuck by fear, stuck by self-pity, stuck by uncertainty. And now as the fear subsides, the pity-parade is ending and every day we are becoming more educated about CF I am ready to let Kelly back out into the world.
If a man whose entire being was defined by his ability for his legs to carry him on backpacking/environment saving adventures can move forward and still find a way up those mountains… I’m pretty sure that little old me can get on with life too!