The shooting was one thing, but the paralysis was something new and completely different to us. In the beginning, Lyra wanted to do everything. She cared for me so much that she didn’t want anyone else to do the things required to keep me functioning on a day-to-day basis. Eventually this created problems.
We basically began to fall apart. We took out our anger on each other quite a bit. We called each other names. When you get to that point, it is very hard to return to something normal. She stood by me for two years. She did everything in her power. We even went to counseling. It did not help. In the end, she needed to be out and I knew this. I wouldn’t want anyone to have to go through what she did. It was a life-changing situation. One in a million. And I have no ill will toward her at all. In fact, I wanted her to go. I wanted her to be free. From everything. It was a hard decision on both our parts. The love was still there. This was the hardest thing to wrap our brains around. We divorced.
It hit me very hard. I felt lonely and a bit abandoned, even though I had a huge part in her departure. There were times when I felt like I couldn’t go on. But I did. And for the better. We are still really good friends. We talk a lot. The love is still there. I don’t think it will ever go anywhere. We have a special bond. One which I cherish, and will forever. Her name was Lyra and I adored her. Still do.
Some great things eventually do come to an end, whether you like it or not. It happens every day the world spins. People die. Innocence is lost. Marriages end. The latter won in my case. I was married to one of the most beautiful girls on earth for nearly 16 years. Her name was Lyra and I adored her.
I first saw her in a photograph. She looked so open and friendly; her smile was broad across her face and she had lips to die for. I was enamored. From that night on I gathered info on her: she was 16 (yeah, yeah… I was 20, so shut up), attended high school, had the same art teacher I had (a fact that would prove beneficial), etc. We met briefly at a mutual friend’s house a few days later. My interest had grown. I attended college 6 hours away, so I left my hometown bound for Savannah. Once back, I knew I had to see her again, so I went to work on a love letter of sorts. I sent it care of that art teacher I mentioned. It worked.
We had a long distance relationship for about 18 months. Wrote hundreds of letters. Paid the phone company way to much money. Finally, I asked her to marry me via scavenger hunt (I was holding her ring at the end). We were happy and married in the summer.
For the next 14 years we made a life together. We grew up together. We were best friends. She meant the world to me and vice versa. We planned to start a family in early 2009. Unfortunately, it would never be. The shooting caught us off-guard, to say the least. Our lives changed in seconds. The dynamic changed. We shattered and were left to pick up millions of pieces. Lyra was there for me from day one. Her devotion to me was stagering. Her face lit my darkness each day. In fact, she was the reason I survived. I was angry at the start. I thought my life was over. Fucked. She helped me to rid myself of the anger. She helped me immensely. This, though, would prove to be the beginning of the end.
To be continued in Part II.
This blog has only existed for one full day and already my head is in my hands and I am crying. The comments, though few, have already hit home. Honesty was mentioned. If there’s one thing I will try to do is to keep this as honest and raw as possible. This is my life. This site is my way to get my feelings out to the public. I control this, as I do my own life. As an outlet, I think it can only help. Me as well as others. You can rest assured I will keep doing it as long as I can. I hope people will continue to read. It is going to be a bit of an experiment.
In the early morning hours of June 28, 2008, I was standing with my friend and bandmate, David Williams, having a beer. We had just played our first show as a band, and were waiting for some friends so that we could celebrate. We were approached by two young black men. We had a quick conversation regarding drugs. They asked if we wanted any, we declined. We offered them a beer. They accepted. After a few moments, they walked away. About five minutes passed; they were back.
A gun was pressed into my neck. Before I could say anything, he fired. I fell paralyzed. The bullet had passed through my neck and entered Dave’s neck. He hit the ground but was able to crawl over to me and grab my cell phone. He called 911. I suffered a spinal cord injury at my C-5/6 level. I am paralyzed from the chest down. Dave survived with a damaged vocal cord but is otherwise fine. I have limited use of my hands. That doesn’t stop me from producing art. Thank you for reading and having an interest. Please visit my booth.
Autonomic Dysreflexia, also known as Hyperreflexia, is a potentially life threatening condition which can be considered a medical emergency requiring immediate attention. It occurs where the blood pressure in a person with a spinal cord injury (SCI) above T5-6 becomes excessively high due to the over activity of the Autonomic Nervous System.
The most common symptoms of autonomic dysreflexia are sweating, pounding headache, tingling sensation on the face and neck, blotchy skin around the neck and goose bumps.
Not all the symptoms always appear at once, and their severity may vary. In untreated and extreme cases of autonomic dysreflexia, it can lead to a stroke and death.
– from apparalyzed.com
This will be revisited soon.
I’ve never died but I’ve come close. In my case, I was shot in the neck at point-blank range. Most people know this, but no one knows what was going through my mind in the few seconds after I was shot. First of all, I knew I was paralyzed before I even hit the ground. It was like my body was one giant rubber band that had been snapped, the vibration strong at first and dissipating as I fell.
Then I heard the blood. A soft hissing sound followed by gurgling noises. I watched as it trickled into the gutter. At that point I thought I was going to die. And in that moment, I accepted that fact. Now, I know some people believe in God. If not God, then some other higher power. But I’m here to tell you what I experienced. There was no God. There were no angels, nor trumpets, or even a long tunnel with a light at the end. There was no devil, nor demons or hellfire. My salvation came in the form of something else. My salvation was love.
It was a face. Her face. I saw it in snapshots. I saw it in good memories and bad. Always changing, smiling. It was like someone had taken a photo album and made it into an animation. A flipbook of everything I’d ever done with her. It was this that made me want to hang on. So I clamped my neck down onto my shoulder as much as I could to stop the blood from pouring into the gutter. I held it there until the paramedics arrived. I lived.
My point is that there are things in this world worth living for. Others might see angels. Others might see a tunnel with a light at the end. Whatever it is, there is something worth living for. So, love when you can love, help when you can help, and teach when you can teach. We will all be better off in the long run.