What if…

Starting a blog is hard. What should my first entry be about? The tone should be light and humorous, right? I am a comedian after all. My new endeavor of public speaking is important to me and one of my key messages is to stay positive and try to see humor in all situations. “Keep ‘em laughing!” 

One of my favorite quotes is:

"When you get to the end of your rope tie a knot and hang on" —Winston Churchill

In fact I use it in my speech.

…And I’m pretty sure we had this poster somewhere in our house growing up. Remember this classic?

…But my heart is heavy tonight. My thoughts keep returning to Daniel von Bargen, who played Chief Grady in Super Troopers. 

 
Daniel von Bargen (front), with James Grace, Jay Chandrasekhar, Erik Stolhanske in Super Troopers.

And I wonder what if…

What if he had known that I was an amputee when we filmed Super Troopers?

What if we had stayed in contact?

What if I could have talked to him about what it’s like to live life as an amputee? 

Would things be different today?

Last year I decided to come out publicly and speak about my leg and now I can tell people what it’s like to live a full life with a prosthetic. 

Recently, I started corresponding with a man, William Donegan, who, not long ago, lost one of his legs. I asked him what it is that troubles him the most about his situation. My new friend William responded,

“The worst part for me is the grief. Everyday, I look at my lap and notice that I don’t have a leg anymore. I feel maimed and like I am a slug or a caterpillar. Yesterday was miraculous though. I learned in rehab that there would be blessings and yesterday the blessings were abundant.”

Sometimes I don’t know exactly what to say to people like William because I never grieved the loss of my leg. I was born without a fibula and my leg was amputated when I was 18 months old, so I grew up not knowing any differently. But, it’s comforting to know that we can talk about it anyway. That maybe I can be a part of the process that helps him overcome his grief. 

Sometimes it’s as simple as having someone to talk to.

I wish I could have been that person for Daniel.

———-

Via- Erik Stolhanske blog

Erik Stolhanske is a comedian/actor most well known for Super Troopers and Beerfest. He is now speaking to audiences across the country, telling his poignant and often humorous story of overcoming obstacles and persevering, even when the odds are stacked against you.