A Christmas Cut

In 2012, we had finished the Christmas festivities and the morning's anticipation was winding down. As I passed by the living room window, I saw that the bird feeders were empty.

I strolled down into to the garage, around the cars and into the shop where I grabbed a box cutter. I walked to a shelf in the garage, lifted up a new bag of sun flower seeds, and drew the box cutter along the top of the bag towards me.

The resistance in the bag's rough texture that I expected was not there and before I knew it, the blade not only sliced the bag wide open but ran up my wrist that was holding the bag and cut my wrist wide open. I immediately took my T-shirt off, wrapped it around my wrist that was bleeding badly and calmly walked back upstairs.

"Terry, can you do me a favor? I need for you to call 911."

Thinking I was joking, she panicked when I removed the T-shirt and showed her the damage. Chaos set in.

I positioned myself on the couch sitting up with my arm above my head and waited. It wasn't long before help had arrived.

"Are you OK?" the paramedic asked.

"I think I'm getting ready to pass out."

"It's OK...everything is fine now," as he put the oxygen mask on my face. "What happened?"

I could tell that he did not believe my story. Once I was loaded in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, the conversation began.

"Did you try to kill yourself?" he asked.

"No, seriously, it happened exactly as I said. We can go back and I can show you the sunflower seed bag that has blood all over it."

"This is my fourth suicide call this morning," he explained.

"No, it's not," I replied smiling.

Within a minute or two, the two of us had settled into a dialogue that made the 10 minute drive to the hospital seem even shorter.

"Christmas is really difficult for a lot of people," he said. "I remember one particular Christmas for me that was really hard. So, I understand what they're going through. But still, killing yourself doesn't help."

"Were your first three calls death related?" I asked.

"No, all three were attempts with no success. Maybe they can get the help they need. I know it seems so trite to say it but there's so much to be thankful for. Just the fact that you wake up and have another day...that's something to be grateful for. Maybe today's the day you figure out how to improve your life," he said. "But I know they don't look at it that way or they wouldn't have done what they did. I understand because I see it so much. I know it's hard for a lot of people."

"Well, let me start with a little gratitude. I'm grateful to you for your help. Thanks for getting me to the hospital. We got ready to jump in the car but if I passed out, my wife would have flipped out, so, we thought it best to wait," I explained.

"You made the right decision. That's quite a cut you have," he said laughing.

"It was dumb. I don't know why I pulled the blade towards me. I never do that," I said."For a moment, I thought, well, I guess I could die if I kept bleeding but to be honest, I felt relaxed. I was focusing on breathing and staying calm and even in the middle of it, I was so aware of the life of grace I live, of the incredible life I have lived and I was so happy. Don't get me wrong...I wasn't happy about the cut but I am happy about the day and my life. I have been so blessed."

"We're almost at the emergency room," he said. "We'll get you inside pretty quickly, get you signed in, and they'll take care of you from there."

The paperwork was signed and I was admitted with little fanfare.

"Thanks so much for your help," I said.

"Anytime. It's what I do," he said, as he turned and left.

Self-AwarenessAshleigh Stoia