Losing a limb often leaves you with phantom ‘sensation’, so you still get the feeling that your legs are still there. This in your mind lets you know that you should still have legs, and the ones you rely on to get around and use every day are still your legs. They may be made of different materials, feel a lot heavier than the real ones as well as you can take them on and off as you please, but they are still very much you.
Now onto the morbid part!
My Prosthetist recently cancelled an appointment with me at short notice. This is very unlike him. When I saw him next he gave me something to think about. A patient had passed away, and the covers needed to be redone on his prosthetic as his wife didn’t want him buried with a horrible looking leg.
Wow. I had never thought about this before! Many, many questions came into my head! Will I get buried with my prostheses? Will I donate them? What would happen if I was buried with them? This was something I didn’t know how I felt about. Some serious contemplation would need to occur.
In thinking of this man who passed away, I would say my thoughts and decision on this topic would be straight forward if I only had one prosthetic and one real leg. To balance things out, I would definitely say I would want to be buried with it. Two is better than one in this scenario.
For the past 8 years I have lived as an amputee, with the last two years adding to that a bilateral aspect. Wearing prostheses has been a journey, and I do feel like they are very much part of me. We know how much I love the pretty toes and wearing the new shoes, but it is more than that.
Oddly, even though I do feel my prostheses are a part of me, I have a conflict about taking them ‘with me’ when I go. They are mine, and I can honestly say I love them. So why would I want to let them go and not continue to have them as a part of me forever?
For me, it is as easy as one word. Sleep. I don’t sleep with them on, so if I am being laid to rest why would they be there? In my mind, it would be uncomfortable – even though this sounds ridiculous as I wouldn’t know any better. Instinct tells me that I rest better without them as that is what I have known for the past 8 years.
In the coming years I may change my mind. I might grow so attached to them that there would be no way that I could let them go. But for now – there will be no feet in the grave!