The Stranger That Never Left Me
My days are spent in bed. For weeks I am in my tomb, alone in my head except for images of one boy.
A boy I have never met.
Why Did He Reach Me?
Before the head injury I had only seen his picture on Facebook while I was away from home, training to be a Juvenile Correctional Officer.
It is ironic and disturbing to me to see these particular images of a 9-year old boy. His aunt posted the pictures. She and I are not connected in any way.
We are not Facebook ‘friends’ and we have no friends in common.
I don’t know why her post shows up in my news feed.
There is a before and after photo.
The first photo was taken a month before at a family gathering.
I notice he is a heavy-set fellow with a Gatorade sitting next to him (I notice things like that – it’s a health coaching thing and I can’t shut it off).
The next photo is of the same boy on life support and the post starts with
“It is with a heavy heart that I…”
What happened to this young man? Car accident?
No…. His heart just stopped.
Age: 9-years old
The shades were added by me to protect his privacy. There is nothing funny about this photo.
He is someone’s baby boy, and at the time of the photo I am sure they were wondering if they were going to have to say goodbye to him.
My immediate thought was I am not reaching enough people!
I closed my eyes and asked, “Why God? Why now that I am committed to DJJ do you show me this heart break?”
I tried so hard not to think about him and the thousands like him that are headed in the direction of early demise, or life long chronic disease.
This task is too big for just one person. It’s also super personal and I think that is why people shy away from addressing the issue.
There is also a lot of denial and/or defiance that people face from parents or caregivers. I hope this post reaches them. This could be their child.
This image should be unsettling for everyone who knows a kid…
My mind races with who could have gotten involved to prevent this! I couldn’t help but ask where are the teachers? Where are the parents? Where is his pediatrician?
It is not this 9-year old’s fault that he (or she) carries heart attack inducing weight.
Who is feeding him? Nobody in this boy’s life saw this coming?
Nobody? I really had a hard time letting the anger go.
With sleep mask and ear plugs in place, I lie flat on my back in bed.
My ears are ringing.
I can’t even remember how to heat water in the microwave. I am not thinking.
This must be what it’s like to be dead.
In a coffin and dead. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is no joke. It’s incredibly lonely.
My mind, the one that used to race with creativity, is in repair mode.
There is not a thought in sight. Occasionally, a thought floats by like a helium balloon that’s been released to the sky.
The thought is gone as soon as it floats through my head. There is no recall.
There is no recalling anything because there is nothing in my head except my soul and the image of this boy on life support.
He keeps me company because his image is the only thought that stays with me.
As the days tick on, I make promises to him that I will get better and do what I should have done before DJJ. I won’t run from my passion and conviction to prevent childhood diet-related diseases. I will do my part.
Continue reading the next installment of the Thumped series by Kathy Trill:
Can you share a time where something so unexpected, hit you so profoundly?
You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.