My life forever changed on this exact day thirty nine years ago. Even though it was the day that I could have died, I will forever thank this day for being the day that I survived.
Run over by a gravel truck, my left leg was severely crushed and was amputated just hours later. That catastrophic loss allowed me the gift of this life that I have been given. That loss has bestowed me with gifts too great in numerosity to count. And that loss left me with the perspective to live life fully, to be limitless.
In so honoring this day for what it means, I am grateful to my mom, my dad, my brother, my family, and my friends who helped me survive then; and now, to allow me to thrive and to always be true to myself.
So here it is: I’m in a documentary film. A documentary film about my life and my life with limb loss.
Friday’s filming took me back to my accident scene. Back to a memory that stops with me leaving my friend’s house; looking down the driveway slope; looking both ways; and crossing the street. Then nothingness.
I looked at the blacktop and saw my six year old self with my mom at my side, surrounded by our neighbors and friends.
My mom was in Friday’s filming. Her recollection is now my recollection. I never knew that someone put a blue blanket on my legs. I never knew that I was so close to home. And I never knew that the truck driver stood behind the truck – throwing up.
As I stood there, I was overcome with an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Gratitude for my brother who ran home yelling that “some dumb truck hurt Leslie”. Gratitude that my dad followed my ambulance as we went to three different hospitals that was equipped to save my life. And gratitude for my mom’s encouraging persistence that I sing “Jesus Loves Me” to remain conscious, to stay alive.
When asked why I’m doing the film, I said “it’s time”. It’s time to toss aside this mask of stoicism behind which I hide. It’s time to hide no more and to show the world one face that has a story worth sharing.
I’m one in million but how selfish would I be to keep my story inside? It’s about sharing this gift so other similarly situated people can live a better life. Be the good.