by Dr. David Sanders
It is not a question you will hear often: “Would you like to have my husband’s leg?” For the widow or widower, clearing out their dead spouse’s closets is part of the grieving process. The memories held in a favorite shirt or blouse, a suit for a special occasion, and the shoes they walked this world in. All of these items can be distributed, donated, or recycled. What does one do with their dead spouse’s prosthetic limb?
Walking in a Walgreen’s parking lot this past week a widow, who had wondered what to do with her late husband’s computerized prosthetic leg, came upon a one-legged man. He was a refugee from Afghanistan who had arrived in Denver a few weeks ago. His leg had been blown off after stepping on a land mine when he was 12 years old. A prosthetic leg, let alone one with microprocessors built in, would be beyond his financial reach. Now he was being offered a “leg up” but there was a catch. The widow would only donate the leg to him if he would be trained to use it, because without proper training the leg would be of no use to him. This Afghan man spoke no English.
While this story was unfolding, an Afghan man and his family were awaiting news of where they would find a home in the United States. They were, along with thousands of other Afghans, living in temporary housing on a U.S. Army base. The man had been an interpreter for American troops in Afghanistan, risking his life on many occasions to protect U.S Army personnel. He and his family needed a sponsor and a match was made between them and the Kabbalah Experience Welcome Circle (under the auspices of HIAS). A Welcome Circle is responsible for raising funds, finding housing and furnishings, helping the family navigate American society (from driver’s licenses to health care) and finding employment.
The Afghan man sent his resume ahead with this general description: Experienced interpreter/translator (Dari/Pashto/English) and English as a Second Language teacher seeks new opportunities as linguist or instructor to adults or children.
When does a triangle become a circle? When an Afghan man without a leg, a woman with a leg of her deceased husband and an Afghan interpreter converge through a Welcome Circle of concern. It translates into a Kabbalah Experience.
P.S. Eric Neufeld, husband of former KE student and member of the Welcome Circle, Lizzy Neufeld, is the founder of and Director of Agile Orthopedics. Before transforming into a circle, the triangle became a square, as Eric is the connector for the widow who held onto her husband’s prosthetic leg for 10 years and the Afghan man who has been without a leg for 30 years.