The Grateful Dead


That poor, little boy seemed to die right before my eyes. His heart had stopped but the blood still drizzled out, slowly coagulating in an ominous pool beneath him and dripping to the floor as the stretcher was hastened through the department. It was so terrifying, the apprehension penetrating through my layers of desensitization, that armor we build to protect the soul. They brought him back to life; thank whatever gods are out there. But I can’t quite explain how I felt afterwards. My heart was just lightning. I felt like sobbing from the tension, but you just end up holding it in because there’s nothing else you can do. During the time he was down I was so utterly calm, impassive, and emotionless. But it hits you afterwards, like a thunderous, crushing blow from Thor’s hammer. I find it so strange how it comes crashing down. I haven’t felt anything like that for a while. And it’s so different when it’s a child. Everything else feels so tiny and inconsequential in that moment, like grains of sand slipping through your fingers. I had pinpoint vision and purpose, utmost focus. Life is all that matters in those few precious seconds. Perspective both deliberates on the present, but then afterwards it expands and swells to encompass all that you are – and for a flicker of an instant you really understand what it means to appreciate life.


Remember when I asked you when the last radical thing had happened to you? What I really meant to ask was when the last time you actually appreciated your life was. Eight minutes. That’s all you have before anything permanent happens from oxygen deprivation. They had him up in two. His heart was still contracting in the throes of death and they had an oxygen mask on him nearly instantly so he’ll actually recover fine, thank the skies. He’s sitting up talking now, and he just looks grayish-white, shrouded by a bloodless pallor, empty of colour. And seeing all of this, this little thwarted disaster, makes me really grateful. Maybe that’s what you’re lacking – the appreciation of what you do have. The perspective of how much utterly worse it could be. Cherishing the fact that you can love and laugh and live as well as your will allows you to – which is a substantial amount. I wish you could feel what I do in this moment just to understand what I mean. I wish you could see the beauty and triumph of your own battles and not be ruled by the overwhelming unfairness of being dealt a less than perfect hand in life. There is so much to be grateful for and I think it really pays off to remember that fact every day. You have so much more than so many, so much heart, intellect, soul, willpower, creativity. And perhaps misery is just as powerful as those other emotions because it gives the perspective that’s so vital to compassion and empathy. It inspires creativity. And it allows for a true appreciation of happiness. I would never want to be “normal”…no one really is. And I would never want to exchange what I have for what society deems better. I am satisfied by my lot. Proud. You are perfect just the way you are. But it’s up to you to understand how and why that is, how to utilize what you have, to learn how to be grateful. You should be grateful for your myriad abilities and talents and sensitivities. You should see your imperfections as the gifts that they are. They are what make you human. They are what make you beautiful.



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