1halffull's Blog


What will your legacy be?
November 30, 2009, 1:49 am
Filed under: alcohol abuse, drugs, Legacy, Life, News, Sadness

photo Tribune Chronicle

     Friday night, five young people, four men and a woman, got into a Mustang and went on what would be a last ride for some. By the time the ride was over, two of them were dead. Two more were in critical condition in local hospitals. The driver lived; but he, too, was in critical condition.

     The speed of the car was so high that when it hit the pole, the car literally split in two. The newspaper said bodies were thrown everywhere. How could they not be?

     All of this caused me to think about the belief that many young (and some not so young) people seem to have that they are invincible, that nothing can stop them when in fact, everything can stop them. In a mere heartbeat, with the next breath, life can change forever, just as it has for these five.

     Was alcohol involved? Most likely and it is suspected that other substances played a part as well. Not to say that the same thing could not have happened without those influences; they could. But the likelihood goes up 100 fold when you add alcohol or drugs.

     One of the reasons people, young or old, use drugs of choice is because it reduces their inhibitions, makes them feel free. It also adds to their already overblown sense of indestructibility. Next thing you know, you’re trying feats of madness you’d never dream of in a sober state. You look for the next big thrill and the bigger one after that.

     While you may get the thrill you’re looking for, you may also get more than you bargained for, like these kids did.

     Though we might think that death is the worst part of what has happened, I think there’s a large case to be made for the aftermath that will follow those who were ‘merely’ critically injured. Paralysis, mental deficiencies, speech defects, many reconstructive surgeries, future arthritic conditions, a life of physical pain, not to mention the emotional pain that will most likely linger, especially for the driver.

     If it only affected those who are now in hospital, it would be one thing. But every single thing that they will have to go through to recover from that joy ride (funny how fast joy riding turns into death, isn’t it?) will also be visited on their families who will bear the brunt of all the care, the worry, the sadness, the questions of ‘what if’ and ‘if only’ to be spoken and thought of time and time again. Every family member will become the sad witnesses of how a night of folly, drowning in the sea of alcohol and drug excess, changes everything. They will be forced to trade their peaceful lives for a life of being a caregiver to someone who thought they were invincible.

     Friends, we are not invincible, be we 18 or 88. The choices we make have consequences, consequences that should keep us ever mindful of how our lives can change in the next breath.

     So, dare to be ‘thrilled’. Dare to be maimed. Dare to be dead. But remember: what you do may end up unexpectedly affecting every single person who knows or loves you in some, possibly terrible, way. Can you live with that?

     If you die, is that the legacy you want to leave behind?