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Brenna Huckaby Discusses How Grief Was Key to Thriving in New Life With Disability

The Paralympic snowboarder is known for her moving messages and words of encouragement.
Brenna Huckaby.

Brenna Huckaby.

Brenna Huckaby is back with another inspiring message. She shared a sweet and moving video on Instagram about grief and learning how to deal with it on Jan. 6.

The Paralympic snowboarder was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer called osteosarcoma that lead to the amputation of her right leg when she was 14. At 26, the three-time Paralympic gold medalist has a toolbox full of useful tactics when it comes to moving through life and staying positive.

“I lost my leg to cancer in 2010 and since then I’ve been on this journey of trying to figure out how to love my body and love myself and my life again, and it’s been almost 13 years and I can confidently say I have figured this out. I love myself as I am, who I am,” she explained. “One thing that I keep coming back to... is the process of grieving. I know for me, I always saw grieving as something you did only when... [you experienced] some kind of loss in the sense of someone else. I never really allowed that space to grieve a part of me, a part of the life that I thought I was going to have—the futures and the goals that I thought I was going to have the life that I no longer get to live.”

Huckaby recognizes that with her amputation—which gave her a life she loves and allowed her to become such an inspiration to the disabled community—came the sacrifice of some other plans she had for herself.

“I don’t have gymnastics or the friendships or my hair or my leg and just grieving those pieces,” she continued. “I also use this tool of grieving in my everyday life of grieving parts of me that no longer serve me that I have been able to move on through.”

Huckaby, who is a mom to two daughters, Sloan and Lilah, said grieving is such an important tool because it opens the door to letting go of the past and living in the present.

“When we’re allowed to be present in the moment, that’s where we can actually love and see ourselves for who we are,” she said, encouraging her followers to intentionally grieve. “I really want you to try just grieving the parts of you that are no longer, who will never be and that you’ve outgrown. It’s time to have a proper goodbye.”

She also noted in her caption that a process like this can take time or even require the help of a therapist, and that’s totally normal. 

“Keep going because when we release what’s holding us back we can really start living,” she wrote.

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