I asked Tuu if I could share a little of his story. He said yes. With great respect, I wrote this after a visit to the ICU where he lays, a helpless victim of a choice gone wrong. It’s a night to remember the pain:
Tuu, a hard working Laotian 22 year old, deeply depressed over love and life tried to end his life last Thursday by drinking acid. Yes, acid. The searing pain woke him up to the fact that he wanted to live not die. A motorcycle taxi took him to a hospital that refused him help as he is Laotian and most certainly broke. Our faith community called Verge@50 got a call. The call came to his youngest brother. They told him, “Tuu is going to die, hurry and get here.” A gang of three went into a rescue mode and brought him to a nearby hospital that would take him in. After a long surgery it still looked dim. Seventy per cent chance he would die doctors calculated. Now after almost a week he is still alive. He is on life support and his throat is all burned out and the main intestine to his stomach is burnt out. But he remains alive with wide eyes.
He is also frustratingly lucid but in much discomfort. The act of death has brought him to the realization that he wants to live. He wrote to me on a paper that he wants to stay around the world and serve God somehow. I keep telling him over and over in English and Thai the words of Paul: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I stand there holding his hand during visits. I don’t know what to say for the most part. I just tell him he is loved by many and has value and he should fight hard to live. I rub his head and even kiss his cheek. I want to hold him like a baby. “Hush little baby, don’t say a word… the world is harsh but you’ll be alright.”
The hospital tells me his bill is getting higher and higher and who is going to pay? I sincerely do not know. I have asked him to chose life over death. I too will chose this living world over death and find a way to keep a soul alive if needs be. Somehow I know that God will provide. He will right?
And then, there is this beautiful young blind Cambodian girl named Jenny who begs daily near where I live. I talk to her each time I pass her by. Sometimes I sit there and share with her ice creams I purchased at McDonald’s. She likes Vanilla more than chocolate. Me too. And on my way home from the visit to the hospital with Tuu I see her. I want to avoid her, pretend I don’t see her. Enough pain for a night. But I cannot.
“Hi Jenny!” I say. “Hi Khun (Mr.) Peter!” she says and smiles with perfect teeth and no eyeballs. I tell her about my visit with Tuu. I tell her she is so lucky, she can breathe without a machine, she can swallow and smell and eat without any problems. She agrees wholeheartedly and smiles the biggest smile I have ever seen her do. I want to sing to her too, reassure her that she’s not alone, but I say goodbye with a polite pat on her hand.
When I get home I wonder why there is so much pain. I find it hard to even manage a smile. God, tonight will you remember our pain? Take a look down below and be with the the ones in deepest pain tonight.