Stories: Who We Have Lost

My mom was the strongest person I ever knew AND had a wicked sense of humor about being an amputee

Who did you lose to Covid 19? Mary Tuck

My mom lost her left arm in freak gun accident when she was 7 years old. She spent 6 months in a children’s rehab hospital learning how to use an artificial arm. My grandmother was determined that my mom would never let my mom feel sorry for herself and that she would be able to accomplish anything that she wanted to. She rode and showed horses. She drove a stick shift car (it was all they had when she was 16). She loved being outdoors and had a gift with plants and flowers. She was also an avid exerciser and loved to swim She was an amazing mother — even though she worked full time, she never missed any activity that me or my brother were involved in — she was the very definition of a super mom. She never let her status as an amputee define her.

She was also very blunt and had a biting sense of humor (if you were not prepared to hear the absolute truth, you should never have asked for her opinion). She was an amazing story teller and some of her best stories happened to involve being an amputee.

Her favorite story was from one of our family vacations to the Gulf Coast of Florida. My mom used a different artificial arm when she would swim. It did not have straps on it because she did not want to have tan lines (yes, she was a little vain too). She was floating on her stomach on a raft in the ocean and she fell asleep. A wave woke her with a start and her artificial arm fell off into the ocean. Panicked, she jumped off the float and started searching for it (artificial limbs are VERY expensive and are not fully covered by insurance). A kind lady noticed my mom walking in circles and asked if she needed help. My mom explained what had happened and the lady began helping my mom with the search. Around 10 minutes later, the kind lady reached down into the water and pulled out my mom’s artificial arm and exclaimed loudly, “Is this your arm?!?” The way my mom described the story, it was as if the lady was clarifying that this was actually my mom’s arm because there were all these other artificial arms floating around the Gulf of Mexico which of course is silly to say the least. My mom started laughing and said, “Yes, that particular arm is mine, thank you.”

She told that story many times over the years and no matter how many times I heard it, it was always funny (her delivery was the best). My mom always had a way of looking on the bright side of everything. Whenever she would go through security at an airport, her arm would always set off the alarm. She would always say, “Yes, I am armed.” The security folks would always laugh. One time, she went through security and a pilot that was a double arm amputee set off the alarm right behind her and she “high fived” him and everyone around us in the security line started laughing.

She over came so much in her life; she was an amazing person. She was truly one of a kind and I miss her so much.

Share Your Story