Thursday, September 24, 2009

It Was the Night to Forget About Everything

To the Day He Wanted to Die

True Story

It is a nice summer evening in 2008, when a group of people gathers at a lake to celebrate their friend’s birthday. They are having fun, just enjoying the company of one another, without having to think about unemployment, relationship issues, and financial problems. It was a night to forget about everything else. The party involves alcohol and who knows what other substances. The evening proceeds into night, people are reaching a certain limit, starting to feel buzzed, when one of them has an idea--taking a dip into the lake.

One of the friends is hesitant. It is the birthday child. I call him Mike since I do not want to reveal his real name. He knows it is a bad idea, but his friends laugh off his concerns, so he decides to give it a shot. He jumps into the dark water, head first...

Mike wakes up weeks later from a coma. Soon realizing he cannot move from the neck down. He has been paraplegic from that day on.One of the first things he does, and will do almost daily, is calling his best friend asking for salvation; asking to be put out of his misery.

Next, he ends up at an institution for disabled people, most of who are mentally disabled. Mike is still clear in his head,but he is surrounded by people that can barely talk, have ticks, or are just slow. It's Mike's first night there, when a young woman who belongs to the nursing staff starts her shift. One of her colleges tells her they have a new resident. It is the night shift, and she decides to go into Mike's room to introduce herself as the night nurse. When she opens the door, she cannot believe what she sees.

He just stares at her, unable to say anything at all. They are the same age, not even thirty, and had known each other from their teenage years. He was one of the "cute guys", talented, too. She hid her tears that night and tries to be as professional as possible. The tears came when she went home that day.

Whenever she works, she spends time with him, they have conversations and she takes him out for walks in the park. At the point where he refuses to eat, she has to put him on a feeding tube. She tells herself she is just doing a job. Other nights, when she sees how degraded he feels when she has to release him from his excrement, since he can't use the bathroom anymore, she just focuses on the job, too. She tells me how at first his friends come and visit. But the longer he is there, less people show up to see him. At last, only a few family members and maybe one or two friends persistently show up.

A couple months later, he moves to a different institution. They haven't seen each other since.

Two weeks ago, she gets the news--he died at the age of 29.

I want to share this, because I really felt for this person. I want people to remember these kinds of stories and make them apparent in their lives. I want people to realize that life is short. We may never take a single day for granted. We may never not do what our heart desires, we need to be aware of how precious life is. Tell your loved ones you love them, and never leave after a fight, before you told that person you love them.

These kinds of stories help me to put things into perspective, and make wonder about what really is important in life—certainly not materialistic things.

I do not think we actually have to look in the face of death to be able to appreciate certain things as simple as the sunrise.

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