Hello, friends. I came across a touching quote last week: St Vincent de Paul once said that “people who work with the poor will not be afraid at the time of their deaths. “I guess it”s just a gift of peace God gives those who care for the least of His children. And here’s our story:
Tony was a lost and confused 22 year old in his senior year of college, he says. He was deeply depressed and didn’t know how to get out of it. Of course, alcohol was an easy and convenient way, and available wherever he went.
“One night, my roommate and I had a party,” Tony says. “My younger brother and sister drove up from our hometown to come as well. It was late into the night and I was pretty intoxicated—it had become almost a ritual for me to get drunk and then think even more about the pain I was trying to make go away. This would result in me crying to whomever was around. Tonight was no different and I was talking to my brother.”Â
Eventually Tony went to the bathroom. While in there, he noticed an almost-full bottle of prescription painkillers. He remembered them. He had used them temporarily after knee surgery. “Being young and intoxicated, a deadly combination for impulsiveness, I decided right then and there to end my life,” Tony says. He swallowed every pill, and then sat on the floor, waiting. Suddenly a moment of clarity came over him. It’s like when you’re sitting in a dark room on a cloudy day and the sun breaks through the clouds and the room just lights up. This is how I felt and I suddenly realized that I wasn’t ready to die…I wasn’t ready to leave my family and I wanted to fight this rather then end it.”
Chaos reigned as someone called an ambulance, and Tony was taken out of his apartment on a stretcher, in front of his shocked siblings. The next several hours passed in a blur, but eventually the emergency room personnel released Tony. He hadn’t slept, and felt as if a train had run over him. He stood in front of the hospital, waiting for his siblings to get the car and bring it around. There was just one person waiting too, in the middle of this night, a short, red-haired woman wearing glasses. She tried to make small talk, but Tony was short with his answers. He was still somewhat dazed. Had he really tried to kill himself?
The woman was talking again. “Why are you here?” she asked him.
He was going to brush her off again, but something stopped him. He thought to himself, “Tony, if you’re going to try and beat this and get yourself better, you might as well start being honest with other people about what’s going on.” Although she was a complete stranger, he found himself telling her what he’d done.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to pry,”the woman responded.
It was okay, Tony told her. He had been depressed, and wasn’t thinking right, but now he wanted to try and get better. It was getting cold so he went inside. He sat down on a bench in the dark deserted vestibule. Everything that had happened in the past several hours came flooding back, overwhelming him, and he put his knees to his chest, buried his head and began to cry. What was he going to do? How was he going to explain this to everyone?
“Then I felt an arm come around my shoulder,”Tony says. “I Iooked up and there was this same red-haired woman. ‘It’s ok,’ she said, “and it will be ok. You’re here now and that’s what matters.”
“It’s amazing what effect a few simple words can have. I realized she was right…I didn’t die, I was still here. That was my first step to get better, understanding that I wanted to try and get help. A few seconds after she said that, she was called back to the ER. I never saw her again.”
A great weight left Tony’s shoulders in the short time that the woman held him. “It was exactly what I needed at that moment, as if God sent her there just so I could have a few minutes of comfort,” he says.
That was five years ago. Tony went through several months of therapy and has discovered ways to cope with his depression. “I’m proud to report that I’m happy and healthy and have been for quite awhile,”he says. And he’ll never forget the woman who was there at the perfect moment. “I believe that she was my angel, sent to comfort me when I felt so lost and alone. No one, to this day, has ever had such an effect on me.