How he died

Originally posted on Reddit.

He was a student, not even 16 years, when the disease bit for the first time. He missed an essay deadline because of it – but since he was well liked that was no big deal.

Life seemed to go on nearly the same – sport, eating, socializing – but his studies suffered from the disease. And more so, he himself suffered. The day was lethargic. The night was restless. He felt like the world was resting on his back and slowly crushing his shoulder blades under an ever-increasing load of new duties and deadlines.

Before long the disease showed its full effect. His mind kept weaving thoughts of duty and failure. His body slowly fell apart – bad sleep, painful legs, a tennis arm and the typical painfully hunched shoulders from which an expert can quickly recognize the ill. Every day it got worse, but he lived on. Every week it got worse, but smiles kept him alive. With every year it got worse, but life didn’t leave him alone.

He hoped, with a flawed hope that only a dreamer can honestly believe, that a university would be the solution. He hoped that mere distraction would be enough to cure his ailment. But as you and I know very well this was an illusion, and a dangerous one. Rather than suffocating it, the distraction suffocated him and fed the disease. With distraction the disease got stronger, and while alcohol, unhealthy food and sleep deprivation destroyed his body’s last defenses the disease grew and spread into more parts of his body and life. Not long after his first year of university his grades fell and his remaining ego faltered.

His own mirror image was taunting, the thought of work a torture, every morning a new unwelcome gift. His only refuge became to welcome pure hedonism and its cold embrace. Mind you, he was too smart and his will to strong to let the virus win outright. His weak constitution did not mean that he fell for the traps of addiction or despair. But the disease kept him from holding onto his dreams – rather than wrestling for what was rightfully his he just stayed in bed and online and drowned his sorrows with nightly and digital dreams.

It was his likeable attitude that got him through it all: The friends that forced him to complete what needed to be completed, the beneficial atmosphere of friendly professors and helpful assistants. They all helped him survive while his body and mind withered away and the cancerous growth in his mind kept spreading.

But the moment he left university the last safety net was gone. Old friends and good looks paid off at first – apartment, job and girlfriend made him proud of who he was. But he knew that the disease was there, ever ready to deal the last and deadly blow. Far too many self-professed healers and doctors had told him the same, that the cure needed to be found – or else.

Last summer his life ended, and from all I know it was exactly the way he always knew it would end. Not all is lost – his heart now allows another man to stand and walk and run, and his eyes allow a young girl to see. But he is dead. The deadline – he missed it. The job – he lost it. The girlfriend – she left him. And only this once could his disease have been a blessing, but instead it failed him again: A decision made, a train track found and finally, the first time in many years: An action, no procrastination.

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