Despair is no stranger to humans, and like a stranger, people have various ways of approaching or dealing with it.
Not long ago, a friend of mine was dumped by his girlfriend of several years. He was heartbroken and to make things worse, as Fate would have it, this happened just days before the anniversary of the loss of a previous girlfriend, the love of his life, who had died some years before. On the actual day the death had occurred years ago, it was apparent the pain—the despair he was experiencing. Fate would also have it that a party was going on later that same night which both of us were expected to attend.
While at the party, I sat, sympathetic (though I’ll admit a little bitter), listening and trying to no avail to ease his severely troubled disposition while around us people drank and were merry—oblivious. It did not take long before he realized the arbitrariness of his melancholy presence at the celebration and soon left for his own apartment just a few doors down from the party. A natural thing to do, nobody thought twice about his absence—well almost nobody.
Having dealt with depression myself and being all too familiar with tendencies that go along with it, I became concerned, eventually enough so to go and check on him. Admittedly, it took longer to get myself over there than I now prefer, because when I walked into the ominously ajar door and around into the hallway, my friend lay gasping for breath on the carpet and unable to convey anything comprehensible besides to point to the open jug of freshly-chugged laundry detergent laying nearby. Obviously he was not faring well (to say the least); obviously I had to do something, and quickly.
Things turn into a sort of terrified haze for me from that point on. The gist of what happened, however, is that after acknowledging the fact that my hundred-and-ten-pound-sixteen-year-old-little self could not sling a large unconscious person over my shoulder to carry to a hospital, I rushed back to the party and rallied some strong friends of ours and, panic-stricken, led them back to the unfortunate scene. It took about six guys to lift and carry the unwilling body into a car bound for the hospital (he nor anyone else had any means or intention of waiting on, let alone paying for an ambulance ride), me opening doors and sobbing miserably the whole way, pathetic I know.
Once to the emergency room, his stomach was pumped and various other procedures performed, saving his life, which I am happy to say he is grateful to have to this day.
John Gardner once said in his novel, Grendel, “Fate often enough will spare a man if his courage holds.” What then when one’s courage does not “hold”? I have come to believe that it is not “Fate” which spares him, rather, it is people who care.
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