The Irony of (Almost) Dying on Your Birthday

the irony of (almost) dying on your birthday

 

I’ve always been one to collect quotes, and it should come of no surprise that one particular quote I collected originated not from anyone famous, nor a businessman, or a politician. The most important quote I have written down was uttered by the main character of a television sitcom. Someone, many of my close friends delightfully joke about, I have a lot in common with. As they constantly seem to remind me, “You are a real life Ted Mosby, Mehdi.”

Kids, I’ve been telling you the story of how I met your mother, and while there’s many things to learn from this story, this may be the biggest. The great moments of your life won’t necessarily be the things you do, they’ll also be the things that happen to you. Now, I’m not saying you can’t take action to affect the outcome of your life, you have to take action, and you will. But never forget that on any day, you can step out the front door and your whole life can change forever. You see, the universe has a plan kids, and that plan is always in motion. A butterfly flaps its wings, and it starts to rain. It’s a scary thought but it’s also kind of wonderful. All these little parts of the machine constantly working, making sure that you end up exactly where you’re supposed to be, exactly when you’re supposed to be there. The right place at the right time.

If life is supposed to happen the way it has been unfolding, then this too must be for the right reasons. Though I hope one day I understand why, because while writers may find some sort of poetic irony in (almost) dying on your birthday – I certainly do not.

 


 

In 2014, my birthday was on a Monday. I don’t remember much of that week, mainly in part to what happened at the end of it – but I do remember my coworker leaving me the page of her New Yorker Comic Calendar for the weekend we had just past. The comic depicted what was supposed to be heaven, but what we thought were clouds were actually mountainous celestial terrain. Unbeknownst to us, what we believed were wings that would give us flight were only for appearance; instead angels could be seen attempting to bike up and down the peaks to get around heaven. In front of this picture, two angels stood in conversation, with a caption that read, “So much for eternal rest.” She thought it was funny, I did too, and neither of us would have imagined a comic could portend what would happen only a week away.

On Tuesday my roommate helped me film an Instagram video to commemorate National Suicide Prevention Week, which coincidentally started on my Birthday. I wore a shirt for the campaign, designed by the non-profit To Write Love On Her Arms, that read “Please Stay Alive.” I held up a sign that said, “Ten Years; Still Alive.” Yes, depression was a very active part in my life from high school onward – and here I stood in front of the world saying I bested it. Oh how far from the truth that was.

On Wednesday I enjoyed what would be my last run with my team before going to Lake Tahoe for my race. It was a wonderfully pleasant evening during the last days of our indian summer; rich with amber and golden hues. It was as if you could taste the summer still yet feel the fall nip on your ears. I remember laughing while running, something I seemed to do a lot of those nights. Afterwards I celebrated my birthday, and my soon to be Ironman title, by getting frozen yogurt with friends after the run. I mean, why else would anyone run in the summer if not for refreshingly cold delectables?

When Thursday came, my nerves also followed suit. I had to rush home from work to get my race bike to the shop; after eight weeks of waiting my new race wheels were finally in. I needed to make sure that the bike was properly tuned to them, so I had no issues 6 hours away from my mechanics. This had me driving like a maniac from work to home, and finally to the shop. I was told I could pick up the bike Saturday morning, and if there was any problems after my test ride I could bring it back for adjustments.

Friday was a treat. The entire department, care of one of our vendors, was going to be spending the evening in San Francisco at the Giants game. We would watch San Francisco beat the Dodgers from a private box up behind first base. Brian was with me, and I couldn’t have imagined a better way to end my birthday week – especially when we got to see Buster Posey put one in the Bay. We left the park and walked for almost an hour to his car before heading home. The late evening was still warm, and for San Francisco that was unusual, but it wasn’t unpleasant. In fact, we used this time to talk about my race, and the trip, and my relationship.

Saturday finally came, and it was a day like any other. The scary thing about that day is that exact fact – it was a Saturday just like any other. I had called my girlfriend that morning and surprised her with the fact that I would be coming up to see her before going to Tahoe Monday morning, just as soon as I picked up my bike and made sure it was good to go. We had a really special night planned, a night of dancing, laughing, and then spending some time together with no roommates or friends – just us. At least, that was the plan. Things never do go according to plan though, not in my experience that is.

I went to get my bicycle around nine that morning. Dressed to ride, I’d pick it up and bring it home first before immediately setting off. When they wheeled it out to me I looked at it in a sort of stunned reverence. Jet black with red details, immaculately polished, the bike I had purchased with the last of my inheritance (after paying off all bills and loans) from what my uncle left me after his passing, was now as ready for it’s Ironman debut as I was. Only thing left to do was make sure she rode solid and true.

It was a little past ten when I set off on my test ride. I planned to go from my house, up to BlackHawk, and then down to Downtown Danville. My team was having a bicycle safety clinic (of all possible things) behind Forward Motion Sports at noon, and as a member of the Board Of Directors I wanted to make an appearance. My route was roughly twenty miles with elevation, which would be enough to tell me if I had any issues or not, and would be just long enough for me to make the clinic.

I don’t know if you’ve ever had the privilege of riding a fast bicycle, but you may have countless memories of racing around town on a single speed or mountain bike. You may have even had a good sized hill in your neighborhood, one where you could pedal down hard until your gears spun out forcing you to glide the bike down until it finally lost momentum and you could pick up pedalling again. I had several hills like this, and I rode them many times.

One time, before I was old enough for my mountain bike, I was at the park tackling the perilously high hill at the back end of the soccer field. Still in my days of cycling infancy, I wasn’t prepared for the downhill – and without hand brakes I had to resort to using my feet to slow down, or gun it out and pray. Almost always I was prone to the latter, which also shows you how young I was. I had no fear, because I had never been hurt before. Half way down the hill I lost traction and my bike pulled up to the left embankment unseating me into the ground where my left arm ate it.

My left arm had a nice gash near the elbow, and as it was one of the first times I had ever see my own blood (and so much of it). I panicked, grabbed my bike, and sped off home where I would come charging up the sidewalk screaming for help. In retrospect it couldn’t have been that bad or else I would have ended up in the emergency room, but it did take a long time to heal – and it left a nice scar near my elbow. Looking at it, or rather for it, now reminds me only that it happened – none of the pain or feeling is there, nor is the moments where I notice it on a daily basis. Time tends to rob us of feelings like that. Not entirely, but effectively enough so only a memory of a feeling remains, and then only a memory.

This was not like that time.

As I approached Danville the day had finally turned beautiful. I was dressed to kill and my bike was performing like a Ferrari. I would beat any car off the line to the next crosswalk before being overtaken. 0-30 in almost no time at all, and that is pretty fast considering on my older bike I’d top out around 21 mph. Sitting on that bike I felt it’s power under my legs, but I also felt my own power. The strength of my body as it rippled and flexed while pushing and gripping that piece of carbon fiber with two wheels attached to it. Months of training had transformed me from a normal twenty-something to a paragon of endurance fitness and discipline. I was nervous for that following Saturday, arguably the hardest Ironman Triathlon in North America. I was nervous, but I was ready.

I turned on Hartz and came right to the fork between where Hartz turns off, and you’re on Main Hartz or you go by Burger King and go behind Hartz. Two roads diverged, and for the first time in I don’t know how long, I took the one less travelled – and that made all the difference. I could have easily gotten to the store from going the other way around, but this was more direct, and of course the store wasn’t even that far down Hartz. When the light turned green, I carried on straight. Who would have known what happened next? The New Yorker comic strip artists? Were they some sort of Minority Report Precog? Did they know what was going to happen next? I didn’t.

I floored it into Hartz, not sure if a car was behind me or not. I pushed to keep my speed above 25 so I wasn’t affecting traffic, and I even turned to see if there were cars approaching. At that next moment it happened.

Two months ago I started writing this piece, and at the time the working title was “Greater Than Two, Not Three.” This was, in fact, the time it took me to go from the land of the living, to the land of the uncertain.

Passing Fez Restaurant, I turned to look over my left shoulder and make sure the road behind was still free of traffic, when I turned my head forward reality shifted into the surreal. I’ve taken it upon myself to remind myself daily of what I’m grateful for, but no matter how much I list on paper or rattle off in a hushed prayer atop my pillow before slipping into unconsciousness, I will never be grateful enough. Not for my life, and especially not for these next few moments.

One.
I could see it happening as if shot in slow-motion, the car jerked out of a tucked away parking lot, immediately next to Forward Motion, and straight into the street, less than twenty feet from me; forty feet from my destination point. Previously obscured to each other thanks to the presence of a massive yellow Hummer, no doubt owned by one of the many middle-aged men overcompensating for something, I could see she didn’t even notice me when she pulled into the street. Rather than fully check the left lane, she was looking to her right; hoping to make a quick broad-side turn. The distance between us was closing fast, and my mind was having trouble realizing what was about to happen, but then it clicked: two objects cannot occupy the same space, one will have to acquiesce.

Two.
I screamed from the depths of my diaphragm for her to acknowledge my existence. To see me, and ultimately realize she needs to correct her mistake before something more grave happens. I am now ten feet from her and I can see the whites of her eyes. I shift my entire body weight to the left, hoping, praying, I can curve the front of her car. Not even considering there may be traffic in the other lane. It was then the greatest mistake was made, instead of slamming it in reverse… she gunned it.

Less Than Three.
Time, it seems, has a way of almost stopping at certain times of our lives. This was one of them. As the space between my present and my future self shrunk to three feet, by some weird stroke of fate or divine guidance, I unclipped myself from my bike before I hammered the break to try and drop as much momentum as possible before the inevitable. Time stopped completely as I went flying in the air when the front right end of her car collided with the front of my bike. And then it took a lifetime to fall.

Movies, books, poems, all have a way of describing dying and the things we experience before we face the uncertainty of our continued existence. Many seem to think that your life will flash before your eyes, but that simply wasn’t the case for me. The only thing that I saw were my parents, my sister, my friends, and then finally my girlfriend. The only thing I felt was regret. Deep, deep regret, because they would never know how much I loved them. How irrefutable, and irretrievable, was my love for them. And as the ground reached up to grab me when three feet of space became zero, I closed my eyes. In that last moment all I saw was her, and the fact that I knew in my heart I was withholding love from her for no reason at all. Just my own fears, my own beliefs in my own inadequacies, my inner belief that I would always fail, and I would fail her, and then the world began to move again in real time.

Tires screeched, and there was screaming, but I am not quite sure it was my own. I was on the ground under her wheels, I don’t know how but I vaguely remember a voice erupting from the depths of my soul, screaming out “HELP ME!” In the distance I could see pairs of feet running towards me, and then it went dark. I remember instances of being at the hospital as a kid, after I sprained or fractured something, being asked how much pain I was in from a scale of zero to ten. I don’t recall ever saying I was ten out of ten, because I believed if I was in that much pain I had to be dying – there would just be no way to sustain that much pain. That morning I found out exactly how close I could get to ten, without succumbing and calling the pain a ‘ten’.

My eyes opened and I was face down on the ground. My nose mere millimeters off the ground, my helmet kept my face from grinding on the asphalt. A pool of blood was forming in front of my face though, and then the rest of the signals that my body was sending my brain began to process. Seething hot, inexplicable pain shot through every part of my body. I don’t know if I started to scream or not because I was rendered blind and deaf from the pain. My breathing became rapid and shallow, and part of my brain knew I had to control this pain, I had to focus this pain, or else I would go into systematic shock. As I fought to breathe, and controlling the pain, I realized I couldn’t feel my right side; it was completely limp against the ground.

The photo is The New Yorker calendar from the day before my birthday, and the weekend before my accident. Ironic, huh?

My mind was a collective pit of pain and color, I could use my eyes but barely; seeing only the shadows of people running around. Sound began to return to my brain, I could hear crying, but it wasn’t my own. I could hear someone being pulled from the car. I could hear someone praying. Someone asking me if they could also pray for me. My brain focused on that, for some reason. “Pray for me?” I thought, “don’t pray for me.” Of all the people in the world, of all the sick and neglected, the young and old dying from things humans could do something about, you want to pray for me? The idea of accepting a prayer, even in this dark hour of my life, made me bitter and had me feeling like a hypocrite. I heard a voice then, one I thought I recognized.

“He’s one of ours! He’s one of ours!” A woman’s voice cried out. “He’s on our board of directors! Don’t touch him!” I knew that voice. I could hear her rallying witnesses, though I could see nothing. She had the driver held in custody by other people. I was finally able to breathe a little easier, literally, but the pain was barely manageable. I managed to speak finally – only wanting to express one thing, “Please take my Road ID off and call my contacts.” My Road ID was on my right wrist, and I couldn’t feel my right side except for the pain I was in.

I could feel someone approach me and start to touch my right hand, and I felt calm then, relieved if at all possible. Then suddenly someone screamed for him to stop, to not move me at all. “Please, please call my contacts, please.” I begged but no one was listening to me. People were on the phone with 911, others were praying, but no one was listening to me. I felt confused, scared, and then frustrated. Why wouldn’t anyone take my Road ID? I needed my contacts to be called. I needed to close my eyes and relax and stop worrying, but I didn’t want to let go of consciousness until someone had my Road ID. I was literally fighting this feeling to just let go if for only the sake of making sure someone called my Road ID, but no one would listen to my cries.

Then it hit me, I couldn’t move half my body without the most excruciating hot pain shooting through me. “I don’t want to lose my arm,” I cried out. “Oh my God, I don’t want to lose my arm… and my bike… oh my God, my bike…” My mind was racing. “Someone needs to call my Road ID! Please! My brother needs to find me, my girlfriend needs to know…” Tears were flowing down my face and mixing with the blood, the source of which was still uncertain. Then the sirens came. There was running and the sound of something heavy on wheels moving towards me. I could hear that woman’s voice again, arguing with a police officer, I think, about her keeping the bike so they didn’t take it. I later found out it was Cameron, the co-owner of Forward Motion Sports.

Voices were talking to me then, rushed and concerned voices of E.M.T.s, firefighters, or police officers. I kept saying the same thing, “Please call my Road ID. Please call my contacts.” I could hear the stretcher being setup. They were starting to explain to me what was going to happen next. I kept begging them, confused why they weren’t listening. And finally it happened, someone took my ID off my arm. A police officer, came and took it, and finally allowed me to relax. Without knowing it, a dozen hands proceeded to lift and flip me on to the stretcher, and I screamed.

When writers describe a scream that could awake the dead, they were probably describing this: a cry that transcended the living and emitted color; blinding white color. Much later I found out that people could hear me throughout Downtown Danville, but it wasn’t until I was in the ambulance that I came back to reality. The fight to control the pain started again, but now I was begging for help, because the pain was so much I thought I was going to piss myself. Instead of listening to me though, they started to ask me questions. “What’s your name? How old are you? What is your insurance?” I became belligerent and started swearing at them. “Where’s my fucking Road ID? Call my Road ID! Call my fucking Road ID you idiots!” I felt like I was in a movie surrounded with the stupidest human beings on the planet. I’m constantly being ignored for what I’m saying, yet what I’m trying to tell them is that my Road ID contained everything they could possibly need from me and – most importantly – who to notify.

I reluctantly began to answer their questions, but not out of kindness. They told me they were going to withhold the morphine until I answered all their questions. So every time I answered a question, I threw one back, “Where’s my Road ID?” After the sixth question someone finally said, “it’s not here.” My eyes opened wide, and the pain was replaced – if only momentarily – with anger, rage. “The police officer took it off me! WHERE IS IT.” They dutifully instructed me that she must have still had it. Panic set in. “Where’s my phone?” They looked confused. Now no one knew where my phone was either. I was seriously hurt, on my way to a hospital, and no one knew. No one would know. She wouldn’t know.

I started to cry. Exhausted from my ordeal, and now my forced interrogation. I stopped listening to them, stopped answering. My mind was racing and I felt hopelessly alone in my ordeal. Then a small prick hit my left vein and moments later a calming warmth washed over me. I felt disconnected from my pain, and I began to fade into that nothingness.

I jerked back into reality as the stretcher was pulled off the ambulance, and I was rushed into the Emergency Room. Bright white lights were overhead in the hall and I was surrounded by doctors and nurses as all of us ran down the hall. The E.M.T.s explaining to the emergency trauma team my vitals and condition, while I laid incapacitated in a drug induced contentment. The stretcher stopped moving and I started to go back into that darkness, but pain suddenly shot through my body keeping me grounded in reality. The trauma team was cutting my uniform off of me and it was moving my arm. Then, I saw it. My phone was coming out of the my jersey as it was being taken off of me.

Before the nurse turned away I begged her, please hold the phone up for me. Please. “I need you to call my brother, I need you to call him and not my family.” I unlocked my phone and pulled up the dialer, and a pain of regret and hurt hit me as my finger moved over her face icon and hit my brother’s, knowing I only had one person I could choose, and it had to be him because he was closest – and because if something worse were to happen to me, I wanted it to be him that told my mom and not a police officer. I hit dial and she turned to go out of the Emergency Room to talk to Brian. I started to cry again, and began to fade to the morphine as they started hooking me up to all sorts of instruments, taking x-rays, and stripping me of my attire. Sometime in that moment they turned the morphine up a bit and I succumbed to the chemical bliss. The pain faded away, and I slipped into blackness.

I awoke somewhere. I don’t know where exactly, but it was pre-surgery. Brian was there, and I think it was only him. I can’t be certain of what I said, but I believe that I first asked if he called my mom. They were on their way, so was my sister. The morphine was calling me back to the black, and I was struggling to fight it. I don’t know if I asked about Shea, though she was on the tip of my tongue, my mind and my mouth were disconnected.

Hours may have gone by, even days for all I knew, but I woke in a fog in a room. Mechanical beeps and sounds came from devices around me, I couldn’t move – not that I wanted to – due to being hooked up to so many things. Nibs were under my nose and the oxygen was cold and clean. Brian was there, and so was my mom, and I think my sister as well. Though when I finally opened my mouth, the first words, as I was told later, was me asking for Shea. That was when Brian called her. Some of my aunts and uncles showed up sometime later, but everything felt so disconnected. When I was finally connected with reality again I was amazed at how fast the word got out about my accident, but as Brian reminded me, it was actually of my own undoing. In my drug induced haze, I told him to grab my phone and pull up Instagram.

He recorded a video of me talking to the camera in a drugged out state of mind, where I deliriously told everyone I was alive and was in John Muir. It sent out across the social media web, and I was finally able to relax. In retrospect, it was pretty brilliant of me as it was quite efficient. Though now that I think about it, it probably made many people worried that I wouldn’t want to worry about me. Life or death, I never wanted my friends to worry about me, or feel concern or hurt. It’s why I wanted only Brian to know about the accident, because I knew he could handle it and I knew if it was worse than it was he would be able to take care of everything.

I slept some more then, until late that evening when Shea finally showed up. When I saw her face I almost felt salvation, if that is what salvation could feel like. Redemption from perdition maybe. Though in that moment no one else in the world mattered but her. I could see the hurt in her eyes, the hours of panic and fear she must have been in, crying the entire three hour drive as fast as she could to the hospital. Let me tell you all something. You will never realize how much you love someone until you, or they, are gone. I hope, no I pray, that you never have to experience losing someone you deeply love – or worse – realize that something may be happening to you where you will never get to tell them how you feel. Never take love for granted. Not for an hour, not for a minute, not for a second, not for a moment of any day.

You see the real irony here, at least to me, is in the moments I was closest to death, only then did I realize what I would miss of life the most. It would have been my friends, my family, and most importantly, her. When I was in that room, knowing my mom and sister (who were just feet away) have never met this person despite me seeing her for almost a year, I could look her in the eyes and see the colossal amount of love she had for me, and hurt she was feeling at my near demise, but I couldn’t open up and tell her the truth.

The truth that says: beyond the stupid and hurtful things I say and do, that are not a reflection of your worth or my love for you, is not only the fact that I love you, but you were thing that I would miss the most; you are the person I wouldn’t want to live without.

On Sunday I would be discharged, not back into the world I knew, but a new one. One that, to this day, is still not the same – and maybe it will never be again. That old saying, nothing gold can stay, is true. Nothing gold can stay gold, and I was bound to lose my physical prowess at some point in my life, I just didn’t think I’d lose my ability to do anything with my arm in my twenties. Maybe this was the right thing to happen, the events that needed to transpire in order for the story to continue. In the past month I’ve read two books, and an email correspondence from a professional triathlete – who had reached out to me after hearing about my ordeal. All mentioning a specific publication by Viktor Frankl: Man’s Search For Meaning.

I finished it yesterday, and like all books I read, it is covered in post-it tabs which serve as quick-references to sections or sentences worth coming back to whenever I should feel the need to pick up the book. At lunch I had still not quite finished it, but was having a bit of an existential crisis.

It was now September, and has now been a year since my accident. It has been almost seven months since Shea left. It has been six months since I finally got help and realized I’ve been clinically depressed since as early as high school. It has been five months since I’ve finally started to feel calm and not perpetually manic.

It has been four months since I took time off work to go to the mountains alone to pray, and I think where God found me (another story, for another day). It has been three months since I decided I needed to leave again, but even further away. Deciding in less than a week to buy a ticket to Europe and to go, with no set plans except a backpack, a laptop, a camera, and a train ticket. Where I left my family behind and just went on my own across Europe. To live, and to write (though still not finished) a story of my life as experienced in those days.

It has been two months since I came back, since I realized that California is just a place. Since I realized that there is no need for me to stay here if I don’t want to, and that the people I love – and who hopefully still love me – will continue to do so where ever I decide to go. Two months since I decided that it isn’t life that in and of itself is worth living, but rather the stories I can experience if I continue to do so – no matter how futile and hopeless that story feels at times. Finally, it has been a month since I found, what everyone considered, the job that I was made to find in Portland. A month since I painstakingly spent the better part of fifty hours working on submission material for my application, which included building a website and designing a document that was so carefully constructed that I could of had it printed, bound, and shipped to them for them to view as a hard copy portfolio.

My birthday was coming up, and with it the anniversary of one of the worst days of my life. This time she won’t be there, this time I will be alone. My thumb was holding the place in the book where I had left off, I was filled with emotion but I opened it and continued reading – this is what came next:

An active life serves the purpose of giving man the opportunity to realize values in creative work, while a passive life of enjoyment affords him the opportunity to obtain fulfillment in experiencing beauty, art, or nature. But there is also purpose in that life which is almost barren of both creation and enjoyment and which admits of but one possibility of high moral behavior: namely, in man’s attitude to his existence, an existence restricted by external forces. A creative life and a life of enjoyment are banned to him. But not only creativeness and enjoyment are meaningful. If there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering. Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death human life cannot be complete.

The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity – even under the most difficult circumstances – to add a deeper meaning to his life. It may remain brave, dignified and unselfish. Or in the bitter fight for self-preservation he may forget his human dignity and become no more than an animal. Here lies the chance for a man either to make use of or to forgo the opportunities of attaining the moral values that a difficult situation may afford him. And this decides whether he is worthy of his sufferings or not.

Do not think that these considerations are unworldly and too far removed from real life. It is true that only a few people are capable of reaching such high moral standards. Of the prisoners only a few kept their full inner liberty and obtained those values which their suffering afforded, but even one such example is sufficient proof that man’s inner strength may raise him above his outward fate. Such men are not only in concentration camps. Everywhere man is confronted with fate, with the chance of achieving something through his own suffering.

To this day, I have yet to hear from that company in Portland, but what is funny, almost ironic actually, is that if it wasn’t for finding them and researching extensively about what they’re trying to do as a company. If it wasn’t for experiencing Europe and talking and meeting all the people I did while I backpacked through that hellishly hot summer. If it wasn’t for the time alone in the mountains, or finally getting help and getting full control of my mind for the first time since I was a teenager. If it wasn’t for losing my ability to use my arm for anything more than typing and -barely- playing guitar; and as hard it is to say this next part, it needs to be said: If it wasn’t for losing someone I loved by my own actions. Completely and absolutely unable to be myself for the better part of a year due to being so mentally sick that I had shut myself in my head and lost my ability to communicate my feelings at all to anyone.

If none of these things had happened, I don’t know if I would be here today; on the precipice of making an idea, a crazy idea that might just work, a reality. I’ve gone over the details with my dad, I’ve talked them over with someone I consider as much my blood as my sister, and now I’m in the process of incorporating the idea once we get a minimal viable product. I’m going to start applying for funding soon. I’m hoping to find some investors who will see this dream, and hear my story, and realize that what I’m trying to do is partially revolutionary and may impact many lives if it works. And all of this comes back to the moment where I woke up one morning and decided I had to go for a bike ride, but if that’s the case, it also goes back to a Christmas party where I met a girl, and goes back from there to accepting a strange position in San Ramon over a lucrative Project Management position in Seattle. And so on.

Maybe we are the product of not only our decisions, or our circumstances, but of things that are truly beyond our control. Maybe there is something as powerful as fate, or a divine calling. I wish I was wise enough to know with certainty instead of sitting here pitching conjecture, and I too wish it would all have come at less of a cost. Hurting another person, directly or indirectly, is a price to pay to which I would never so choose even if promised all the riches and power in the world. No reward is worth that. I always remembered what Proctor did in The Crucible; what he said. “I have given you my soul, but leave me my name!” This burned a mark onto my heart that said I must be true, that nothing is worth losing your good name for. And yet, I did lie. I gave myself over to lies. And it cost me greatly. I only hope that what I do now, with this idea – this project – and the rest of my life, will vindicate me and redeem me for the last two years. Maybe in time I will come to understand why. Maybe all of this was meant to be realized; the actual irony of almost dying on my birthday.

Wherever you are in the world, call someone you love but have been too busy to talk to, or what other excuses that have kept you apart. Call them and tell them you love them. And remember that every day is a gift that we don’t deserve but are gracefully given. We cannot know if we will live to see the end of it, so make sure to fill your days with nothing but love. There is nothing in the world more valuable or important than that.

Song On My Mind:

Thrice (Dustin Kensrue) – The Artist In The Ambulance

and on Spotify:

2018-06-24T18:21:10+00:00

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