DISCLAIMER: Some of the written content is graphic but I implore you to read. Albeit a tough read, there is hope at the end.
In 2006 I went to a conference in San Francisco. At the end of the conference I collected and purchased the standard array of SWAG that one simply must accumulate to bestow upon friends and family as a form of peacocking and visual storytelling. One item that I picked up was a rather nice, “youth-M” sized white, all-organic-cotton, Google branded tee-shirt. It was a very nice tee-shirt as one would expect, bearing Google’s logo. A fine, soft, 100% cotton fabric, made in Honduras.
This tee-shirt was brought home to my daughter who was 8 at the time and she could seemingly swim in that tee-shirt. Thus it became pajamas.
Circumstantially she didn’t wear it often, it was an awkward size and over time, I re-adopted the shirt back into my own collection. Something just really chimed with me about that particular article of clothing and despite the obvious lack of necessity to toss it or re-gift it, I could not bear to part with it.
As the years went on, I ended up using the tee-shirt as a wrap around my eyes to blind myself from the light that poured through the cracks in the blinds in the mornings. Conventional eye-masks always seemed to leave me with dry skin on my brow and across the bridge of my nose and this soft cotton did the trick. Additionally I used it on the onset of a migraine when the light sensitivity was overwhelming.
Let’s jump ahead here to November of 2015…
By now, this tee-shirt had become apart of my sleeping ritual. Whether I used it or not, it was (it still is today) always in the bed with me, inches from my head.
On November the 4th of 2015, I awoke with the realization, the understanding and the acceptance that would be the day that I would end my own life. It was no longer a matter of question or decision. It was a matter of execution.
I’ll break for a moment here only because you can read about my thought process that day here [“That Uber Should Have Been My Last”].
It’s just as much as a tough read as it was a tough write much like this story I’m sharing now. Obviously I was unable to go through with it.
As I lost consciousness, the sense of touch draining from my extremities. The light swirling into a tunnel. The very last muscle spasms from my lungs desperately searching for air. I felt the tee-shirt I was holding slip from my grip between my hand and the bag around my head. In a fraction of a second, what remaining muscle synapse I had left fired and I went to reach for the tee-shirt.
My thumb tore a gaping hole open in the bag and when oxygen graced my nostrils and lips, instinct kicked in and my brain sent every remaining electrical impulse left directly to my diaphragm and I gasped for air.
I collapsed to the ground. Confused but alive.
This tee-shirt saved my life.
And you know, it wasn’t until I brought the tee-shirt home with me from
being in the hospital that I noticed the word “LIVE” written on the shirt tag.