As I watched Aimee Copeland walk slowly, painstakingly, across the stage of Katie Couric's new talk show with just one leg and a walker to help her move, a lump settled somewhere in my throat. It's hard to look at the woman who survived a brutal attack of the flesh-eating virus this year and not be overwhelmed by feelings of sympathy. But as the 24-year-old Georgia college student started talking, I realized I'd gotten it all wrong.
Aimee Copeland doesn't want our pity. This is a woman who has stared death in the face and spit in its eye. She is a woman who understands something some people three times her age are still struggling to comprehend.
We're lucky to be here. Or as Aimee Copeland told Katie:
I love life, it's a beautiful thing.
So simple. And yet ... it's not, is it? Every day we're knocked around. It can feel like we're at the bottom of a landfill, and the garbage trucks just keep on coming. All you want to do is get it out, to shout, to cry, to gnash your terrible teeth and roar your terrible roars.
I want to say I'm better than that, but I'm not. Just last week I posted a whine to Facebook about my horrible week, complete with a request for someone to deliver me a vat of ice cream and a bottle of wine. And then came my moment of clarity: a friend who has just gone through the unspeakable trauma of losing her child wrote something nice on my wall. Here she is dealing with the one thing no parent should, and her heart is so big she still has room for my silly little problems.
It's people like my friend, people like Aimee, who make you snap to attention, who force you to realize that someone who does have it worse than most of us isn't wallowing, so why should we?
After losing her limbs to the flesh eating bacteria, Aimee Copeland still sees life as beautiful. And she's right.
Watch Aimee's incredible walk:
What do you think of how far Aimee has come?
Image via Katie Couric