I spent the majority of my day yesterday experiencing my first funeral. My step grandmother passed away and my family spent the past couple days saying goodbye. My brothers and I were asked to be Pallbearers and I was honored to do so. A couple weeks after I returned from Chicago last year and was living with my parents my step grandmother had locked herself out and needed the spare set of keys at our house. I was home so I simply drove over to the other side of town and let her in. Even though I thought I did really nothing she couldn’t have been more thankful; she called me her guardian angel.
While these past few days have been my first experience with a funeral it was not my first experience with death. Nope, that unique pleasure I suppose goes to my first psych ward stay back in Denver at Porter Hospital. And while I may have been experiencing death for the first time, it was actually alive in front of me.
It was a couple days into my stay at the ward and I had finally caught up on my sleep and was back to normal sleeping patterns (well close to at least, still the first one up on the ward though everyday). As part of the rehabilitation program there the patients would break up into groups throughout the day. Each group had a different theme ranging from crafts, to healthcare, to emotions, to basic life functions. At the time I was a 26 year old kid who a mere few days prior was looking at bungalows on the beach in California, experiencing my soon to be new city and checking out Stanford’s campus, my mortality was the furthest thing from my mind.
“Next time I’ll do it right, I’ll finish it.”
These were the words from one of my fellow ward patients in our group when asked: “What’s one thing you would change if you had the opportunity.” This patient was brought to the ward that very day and she was still showing the bruises and mangled body of a failed attempt at suicide. She had given up, lost hope, relinquished her faith, and thrown herself in front of a train. I had never experienced death like this before in my life.
I struggled to understand what on Earth could persuade a person to willing throw themselves in front of a train to end it, and then regret that they failed in doing so afterwards. I can recall that I spent a lot of time trying to comprehend what I had seen that day. At that time suddenly my bungalow by the beach, my Ivy school aspirations, my new job and car seemed irrelevant in the grand scheme of things (“I’ve never seen an armored truck following a hearse”-Cox, J). My view of my world had changed forever.
Before I was released I was able to see a change in my fellow patient, especially when she was able to draw, you could see life glimmer just a bit back into her eyes. I’m not sure whatever happened to her and I hope she’s alright, because no one deserves that evil pain and suffering. But if she lost that fight I know one guardian angel up there that will lend a hand, because that’s what always seemed to make her happy.
Since many of my manic experiences involve music I’ve decided to add random music videos to the blog for my enjoyment and your inconvenience. Enjoy!