The Man With No Legs


When I was a kid, if I went to my Dad complaining about a stubbed toe, he’d look at me and say “Think of the man down the road who has no legs.”  Invariably I’d look at him and say, “There’s a man down the street with no legs?” and wonder how I could possibly have failed to notice someone so interesting.

It turns out, that today, I got my biggest ever ‘man with no legs’, lesson.

I’ve had a chest infection and I’m a very bad, very impatient, sick person.  So I’ve been feeling sorry for myself as I’ve  dragged my oxygen deprived body up the steps to my apartment.  I’ve wheezed my way through cooking meals and I’ve generally let my entire family know that I’M SICK!  Of course, I’m going to get better.  I got the good antibiotics and the good steroids and soon I’ll be back, bicycling my way to pilates classes.  I’m grateful of that tonight, because this afternoon I was reminded of the fact that not everyone gets better.

My daughter has a little friend, whose mother had an aneurism last year.  She’s been living on machines in hospital for the last twelve months and died this morning, precisely twelve months after she first went into a coma.  She was a smart Mummy who made sure her daughter would be well taken care of, both financially and emotionally.  She was a bright, funny, resilient woman who will be buried by her nine-year-old daughter on the weekend.  I knew her only via our mutual friends and because our daughters play together; but today she was my reminder.  Life is too short.  And when you’re busy complaining about your stubbed toe, remember the man down the street who has no legs.


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