If someone close to you has had an amputation, you may be feeling afraid, sad, worried, angry, or upset. You may also have new worries about money, and about the way other people in the community are going to react. When one person has an amputation, everyone close to that person is affected. The more you know about limb loss, the easier it will be to help yourself and the person with limb loss to heal and go on with life.
Persons with limb loss can adapt to lead normal, productive, happy lives — working, enjoying hobbies, and raising families.The fact that someone has suffered from limb loss does not change the deepest, strongest most important part of a person; it’s very important to let your loved feel that you see them this way.
How can you help a loved one with limb loss?
- Learn about limb loss: Learning as much as you can about limb loss may help you feel better, and it may also help your family member who has lost a limb.
- Listen: Losing a limb is so much more than a physical loss. It can be compared to losing a spouse or a child. It takes time to work through the feelings, and adjust to the loss. The best thing you can do is listen completely and without judging. Listen with an open mind. Listen and try to understand.
- Avoid feeling pity: Persons affected with limb loss may see themselves reflected in the eyes of their friends and family. If all you feel is sadness and pity, they may feel the same—sad and full of self-pity. Talk to your friend or family member as you did before, as a whole worthwhile person. This may help them see themselves as they did before limb loss—whole and worthwhile.
- Be practical and helpful, but not too helpful. Too much of this can lead to your loved one becoming less self-reliant, and it can also come to interfere with their recovery. Help your family member or friend when it is right to help, but don’t help so much that the person becomes dependent on you to function.