By Tony Casson
I know I asked God to look after my mother, and I thanked him for giving her to me. I also asked him to look after my children, and thanked him again.
Apologizing for being less of a human than I should have been, I then asked him for forgiveness.
I prayed for all of the people who looked up to me–who respected me–who loved me, and would now feel betrayed by and disappointed in me.
They should all be angry with me for not giving them credit for having more character than that, and for loving me more than I did myself, but at that particular moment, rationality had long since ceased to exist for me. In a few minutes, it wasn’t going to matter anyway, because I was slipping closer and closer towards death, a slow motion race to beat the people I could hear outside my door.
I read recently, in a Nelson Demille novel, a statement made by one of his characters that said, “Compared to shame, death is nothing.” To me, at that moment, drifting closer and closer to a point from which I could not possibly return–I’m sure that statement would have rung true.
I know differently now, of course, just as I knew differently in the days to come. In fact, I would have thought I knew differently about 15 minutes earlier, before this self-inflicted nightmare began. But at that time, and for that moment, I asked for death, and it appeared that I was going to get what I asked for.
My eyes were no longer open, nor could I open them. I was aware of my shallow breathing, but beyond that, I lacked the ability–or the will–to move.
Muffled voices and sounds could be heard through the walls, along with a metallic tapping–tap, tap, tap………tap, tap, tap. My mind hearing my voice encouraging death, “Just go. Just die. Just sleep. Just end it.”
But still there was that tapping–tap, tap, tap…tap, tap, tap. And other muffled noises and voices. And me, “Just go. Just die…” And then–a voice, clearer, yet still faint, and not mine–saying, “I’m in!”
Suddenly, I could faintly hear people nearby, voices calling to others, exclamations about what they had found, calls for an ambulance.
I felt something around my neck–a towel, perhaps–and felt pressure being applied. At once point, I slipped into total stillness for a few moments, then I heard the faint voices again. I was being jostled, dragged from the shower.
I sensed more activity outside the bathroom–more voices of people maneuvering in the very restrictive confines of my room.
Various sensations of being jostled, lifted, multiple hands on me, various voices issuing directives. I had slight sensations of movement and then what I guess would have been the sensation of being lifted into the ambulance. I must have been fading in and out, there was constant pressure on my neck, muffled voices, like I was listening to people talk with ear muffs on.
The ambulance came to a stop–at the hospital, I assume–I had the sensation of being lowered to the ground. I felt movement, heard new voices, then heard and felt absolutely nothing…