Accepting the Help

Posted 06.16.2014

miles-obrienIn a New York magazine article called “Life, After”, former CNN anchor Miles O’Brien shares his experience of what life has been like after losing most of his left arm a few months ago. O’Brien was on a reporting trip in the Philippines when a heavy camera case fell on his arm. What seemed like a minor injury became a major problem and his arm had to be amputated below the shoulder and above the elbow.

Since then, he’s been learning how to do everyday tasks like showering, brushing his teeth, getting dressed and cooking. He’s figuring out new ways to do his job of reporting and typing his stories. He’s learning how to run with a new center of gravity. He’s also learning how to accept the help of friends, family and colleagues who care about him.

O’Brien is a great reporter and tells his own story with courage and grace. The most moving passage for me was at the end of the article when he wrote:

“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.”

Life comes complete with challenges of many forms. We all have them. In the desire to suck it up and be strong, it’s all too easy to overlook or push away the help that those who care about us want to give. It’s the connections we make with others and that we allow others to make with us that make life rich.

What help and support could you offer this week? Whose help and support do you need to accept?