It must be Love! (A sad but true story of a family's life experience)
Little Timmy had grown up, and now known as Tim to everyone except his parents and little brother Rob, who insisted on calling him Timmy. He had matured into a muscular, handsome, and well-liked twenty year old who had everything going his way until that fateful day at the lake. On that day he had gone swimming with his friends and was having fun in the water. He liked to swim and loved the thrill of diving high off the rocks and the feeling of his body slicing through the refreshing water. On this day however, his live was about to be turned upside down. On his final dive of the day, his feet left the smooth granite rock and the feeling of exhilaration flashed through him as he streaked into the clear, cold water in a smooth dive with the cheering of his friends still ringing in his ears.
His mind was blurry and his consciousness slowly seeped back into him. He could hear sobbing somewhere close by and wondered why anyone would be crying. But something was wrong! In the blurry haze of his memory, he barely recalled a bit about cold, splashing water, but the rising awareness of overbearing pain in his whole being flushed away all other thoughts as they swirled around in his brain. Only the gnawing question persisted. What happened? At first, his eyelids felt stuck but after a slow, long effort, his eyes slowly opened to multiple distorted images of figures moving through blinding white light, which only served to increase the intensity of the pain which he was feeling.
Flash forward twenty three years, and Tim now sat in his wheelchair, immobilized from the neck down, essentially a brain which was totally unaware of the body to which it was still connected and dependent on staying alive. A long time ago, during the first few years in his ever-present wheelchair, he could have vaguely remembered the incident as it was described to him by his mother, that on his last dive into the lake on that fateful day, his head had struck the edge of an underwater rock and he had spent the next three weeks in a coma. Now, the memories of the incident and all he had known, just float by as incoherent bits and pieces of a faded, picture-like slideshow, skipping and stalling into a glob of unrecognizable information in his head.
Over the years, the painfully long days passed by as an endless parade of ambulance rides to the hospital, the visits of his four-hours-a-day caretaker, constant fussing by his mother, and his father’s sometimes stoic, yet gentle attention in the evenings, after he returned from the tech company where he worked all day long. His once-caring relatives have long ago stopped visiting to offer their support, and now kept to their own ‘normal’ and busy lives. Every few months, some of his relatives may stop by for a few minutes, but the effort seems more at pacifying their own guilt about their infrequent visits, rather than to lend true emotional support, even though his family did not seem like they needed it much.
Now, Tim is just a mind which is trapped in an unresponsive, useless body, or so it seems. Whether he slept or not, no one really knew unless they watched him constantly, since there was no way in which he could communicate what, or how he felt, which was not much anyway, given the fact that he was always under the influence of his daily diet of pain-erasing and mind-numbing medication. When the monotony of the previous night was over, he was washed, cleaned and fed the slurry of tasteless mush, together with the daily handful of pills. When he was too ill to eat, the intravenous tubes were always on the ready, to be plugged into the almost permanent receptacle stuck onto his lower arm.
This daily routine was a grind. Or was it?
This was Tim’s existence! This was his life!
With a life as this, if it could be called a life, what was the purpose?
What is it that keeps a family like this motivated to keep doing what they’re doing, day after day and year after year?
How many people on earth can keep doing this for so long without giving up?
How, over the long years have their dedication and perseverance managed to remain steadfast and unbroken?
What is it that keeps this family driven to serve Tim with absolutely no hope of his recovery?
Isn’t this the true practice of tolerance, kindness, caring, consideration, empathy, and patience? All these key components which, when put together makes up true Love?