After I learned that my friend Jesse had passed away, I got hold of his mother’s e-mail address. Léa was my Grade 11 English teacher, someone I had always greatly admired, and who had been there for me during some tough times in high school, above and beyond the basic teacher’s role.
We hadn’t been in touch in such a long time, I was afraid of saying the wrong things and causing her more pain. As you will see, though, she is just as generous of herself as she’s ever been. It took several e-mails to tell Jesse’s story, not to mention an enormous emotional investment. I’m going to share that story with you here, also in parts, and in her own words.
I do hope you read it. Despite the heartbreak of a life ended all too soon, Jesse’s story is a beautiful one, because he lived it bravely and generously. For a time, at least, he was able to overcome
all the shit, oh crap all the dirt “the beast” heaped on him.
Here’s an excerpt from a message he sent me when we first got back in touch and I learned that he’d been living with epilepsy:
There is no prying. This is sharing information about an important topic. Living with epilepsy for 16 years taught me — among other things — to be open about it, to not be shy because of it, not to fear it or fear doing possibly dangerous things because of it, and most important, to teach others more of the truth…
After my first seizure, I woke to a bunch of friends shaking me, asking if I was okay, looking all concerned… and I thought it was an elaborate practical joke, and blew it off… But one friend took it serious enough to call Mom in Cambridge Bay.
There is no reason for my seizures; they happen, there is no cure for me, that’s enough information for all but my neurologists.
My drug from age 18 – 30 was Valproic Acid. I gradually worked my way up to 1000mg, 2x a day… but in 2006 a new drug came out (Keppra aka Levetiracetam). It wasn’t until I had no side-effects that I realized how many I had with the 1st meds. February 16 was my 4-year anniversary of getting my life back — enough that I can work with power tools all day without fear.
And now that I’m in control, all those good vibes I saved for myself getting better are free to go to others like Jade!!
Isn’t that sweet? Like his mother, Jesse was always willing to give of himself. Jesse was happy to share his life and his experience with others. By hearing his story, we can give him his voice again.
Click here for Part I of Jesse’s story.