My friend, in a coma.

A childhood friend. Named Jake.

The earliest memory I have of us together was a day after second grade. Funny enough we were both in the same class and his mother was substituting for our pregnant teacher. He called me that afternoon asking if I wanted to come over. I don't remember why this sticks with me but I remember Jake (his name) telling me he was confused when we talked on the phone. Our voices sounded different he said.

"You sounded like an elephant" lol

The years grew long. Many a sleep over, homework sessions, trips to amusement parks. 6 years spent drumming for the high school band together. We were pretty damn close. Jake was funny, always making me laugh. It was effortless for him, something I envied about him. It was great because it naturally attracted girls, captivated by his charm. A couple of times we even went after the same girls. Jake and I were always average students, but he was usually unfocused and bored with school. In those early jr. high years I started to sense something deep down inside him. The seeds of depression, or something. I couldn't be sure.

Freshman year rolled around and so did the use of Marijuana. Not just with him, but for a lot of my friends. It was a bit hard to watch but I powered through. If you guys don't know, I came from a very strong conservative Christian family and upbringing. Anyways, back then I could tell when he was high. And it was a lot of the time. That's when he started spiraling. Over the next few years I heard stories about him huffing, inhaling air duster, taking acid, and one striking account him snorting cocaine and trying to have a normal conversation with his mother while watching a baseball game.

Jake introduced me to my favorite band and album, still true to this day. Jake was all about music. His drumming was always better than mine, and his brother taught him how to shred electric guitar. We even tried (hilariously and failed) to form a band with me as the drummer and vocalist. Once, while we were having a late night hangout, Jake and I were on the internet looking at stupid shit, I'm sure. He glanced at the clock, jumped up, and grabbed his guitar. I looked at him with a puzzled expression. All he did was say, "its 1:19am, time to practice my "thunderstruck" solo". It was funny at the time.

He always liked harder music with harsh vocals. We would listen to it on our various car drives around town. It took 3 or so years before I was ready to try some of it for myself. Early into our senior year, the band Between the Buried and Me was set to release their flagship album, "Colors". Clearly the band had had a huge effect on Jake in years past. He talked about the new album, showing me clips the band would release, teasers of songs, and eventually, after he listen to the album for himself, the best parts. Trying to win me over by showing me there were parts I could relate to. It worked. A few weeks after BTBAM released and album, Jake burned me a copy and I started my journey in metal. I spend hours listening to Colors, working on artwork (avoiding doing scholarships lol). I would listen to it while I gamed, and in my head, it was almost synonymous with the game Front Mission 1st for the DS. I grew to love BTBAM's Colors album. It's still my favorite. Especially today.

We graduated together and went our separate ways to college. I didn't get to see him much, but when I did, we had a good time, like usual. There was never any need to catch up or make up for lost time. We just picked up where we left off, with zero need for maintenance in our friendship. We just clicked on some deep level.

College proved to be too much for him. Somewhere in our respective junior years, Jake was expelled from school for shoplifting a powerstrip from a local Staples. What would normally be a slap on the wrist became much bigger as the police found a few substances in and on his person.

After I graduated college, I moved back home, got a 9 to 5 job, and devoted a lot of time visiting my now wife on the weekends. Jake was only 13 minutes away but I didn't get to see him much. We did make it to a couple of concerts and a few outings at a local taco shop. But not often, since he was very prideful. He hated when I would pay for him or offer to front him money for activities. He got a job a hotel in a nearby town working odd hours. Eventually he was fired for theft again. I would see him at church every once and a while with his grandma, but I am more or less certain his parents forced him into it. 2 years ago in the early spring, he called me to tell me he was going into rehab for a month. I saw him afterwards and not much had changed. But I was starting to notice he was slower. With words, thoughts... actions. The drugs were starting to take a toll.

A few weeks ago he messaged me asking if I wanted to see a movie. I never got back to him, being busy and all, the week before thanksgiving. He would forgive me, and we would hang out again soon.

That was the last message I would ever receive from Jake.

Two fridays ago, November 26th, I got a message from another mutual friend saying that Jake was in the hospital in a coma. The story goes that he, his father and sister were shopping at the mall. Jake makes mention that he wasn't feeling well and needed to sit down. He collapsed, later revealed due to a heart attack. No one in the mall had the knowledge of CPR nor did the mall have any AES units. Jake went 6 minutes without oxygen. Last friday my brother (long story, he's got connections) told me the MRI came back revealing Jake's brain was heavily damaged and didn't make it through the oxygen deprivation. The last thing I have heard is that the family has elected to take him off of life support. I am sorry to leave you all with a cliff hanger but I fear for the worst. 16 hours ago, his sister posted that he is still doing the same. No brain activity, still out.

I think we know he's already gone...

UPDATE:

I visited Jake in the hospital last night. This might be a little tough for some to read.

My mom called me yesterday afternoon. We talked about my friend's situation and how she felt like she felt she and my dad should be there for his parents. I can't even imagine what they are going through. I voiced my concern about seeing him like this but after a bit of deliberation I decided I would be more upset with myself if I didn't take the time to see him.

I'm glad I did, even though it was one of the hardest things I have ever done.

I lost it as soon as I saw him lying in his bed. Micah, his nephew had left his stuffed lion next to Jake in bed. I couldn't even walk into his room. I had to face away and talk to the nurses for a few minutes before I could even look at him. After a few minutes I had enough courage to sit with him. I slumped into a chair next to him and balled my eyes out.

The nurse called his parents and they gave permission for the nurse to brief us on his situation. He's not really necessarily in a coma, but I don't know if I could call him conscious. His body seizes and he squirms around every so often, maxed out on drugs, and traked and hooked to a respirator. He suffered massive brain damage at the time of his event. The nurses say he isn't in any pain, so I guess that's good. He has low neurological functionality but that's about it. He yawns, chews, and can open his eyes at times. I don't know if he can focus on anything, but he seems to respond every once and a while to loud noises and human contact.

My parents left me alone with Jake for me to say a few word. It took me awhile, but eventually I was able to talk to him through the tears. A minute into talking to him i layed my hand on his shoulder. I told him I loved him and how strong he was. I don't think there is any scientific possibility that he heard be or knew it was me, but he stirred I could see him making an effort to open his eyes, so I kept talking to him. I apologized about not getting back to him about the movie. Part way through our talk I saw his mouth open and his lips curled into a smile. I finished up with my rambling said my goodbyes. I told the nurse thank you for taking care of my friend.

I feel better after seeing him. I know he suffered a ton of damage and there probably isnt any way he actually heard what I said, but I choose to believe that he did... just to make myself feel better. It was heartbreaking to see him like that, but I know I would want him to do the same for me.

Edit 2: The family took him off life support December 27th and I got word he passed last night.

Edit 3: I had some wrong information. He actually didnt pass away till January 15th. We buried him on January on the 18th. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.

I don't blog much anymore and I am sorry about the text wall. I just needed to tell someone. If you stuck this read out, thank you.

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Comments

I know I said it before, but I'm sorry brother. Condolences to his family, you and anyone else to have him in their life. Sounds like I would have gotten along wit him quite well, had great tastes in music.

I've lost 11 friends in the last 10 years of my life. 3 of them not even a year outta high school. The pain and hurt never gets easier, just more bearable, if at all. You think maybe if you were around, if you had been there that one time, maybe things might be different. Sometimes you know. Its hard, lookin at what could have been and what was. But, the only thing you can do is move forward. Live. Always keep your friend in your heart (corny, I know) and live for the both of you.

Again, I'm sorry, Bortz.
 
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Wow man I'm sorry to hear that. How are you taking this? I can only imagine not good considering the relationship you had with him.
 
Holy shit dude, I'm so sorry. There's nothing worse than losing someone dear to you, especially in such a sudden way. Best wishes to you and his family.
 
Oh my gosh, that's awful... If you need to talk things out, feel free to hit me or someone else up via PM. I can't quite say that I've had a similar experience, but I do know that the only thing that's really going to help you is time and a good support system...
 
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Man. I could feel your pain while reading through this. I have a friend that is really dear to me as well. We knew each other since we were like 3 (he is one year younger than me) we used to play alot during kindergarten and especially elementary school. He couldnt pronounce my name when he was younger so he always said drestin to me haha. We didnt talk that much for some time after I left the elementary school, but we talked over the swapnote app on the 3ds alot back then. I didnt talk to many other people back then, I only talked to him. He really was the only one that I could relate to, and I could understand his problems. I only really hanged out with him for my last 3 years at that school. Recently I went to another school, while he still needs to visit my old school for 2 years. We dont talk that much anymore, but I try to spend time to him as much as I can. If that would happen to him what happened to your friend, I seriously wouldnt know what I should do. Drugs fucking suck man. My area is really bad with drugs and you can see little children smoking weed and snorting stuff. Its sad to be honest. I try to stay away from smoking and drugs as far as I can, and I am happy he does the same. I hope he gets better somehow...
 
I can't imagine how you are feeling. I'm really sorry about your friend. It must be devastating to be losing him this way. You clearly love him very much.
 
A very sad story to hear. You mentioned that you came from a strong conservative Christian upbringing family. My advice is that you stick to that. It will help you get through and see that everything in life has a purpose, even if we don't see it sometimes. Life can be funny sometimes, but you have to power through.

Hold on to those memories, and pray for him. That's as probably as much as you can do for him. Pray that god forgives, and he lives happily in the afterlife, no pain, no suffering.
 
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I can't imagine what you're feeling right now, it hurts, it hurts a lot to lose a close friend; I lost someone close to me on Friday, he succumbed to a brain tumor, so I feel your pain. Know that I'm here if you ever need to talk more, okay?
 
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I am sorry, man... I could feel your pain while reading what you wrote. I can relate in a way, since I lost a friend to cancer last year and I still can't believe he's gone for a year now.
Also, don't blame yourself for not going out with it that time, I am sure he would have understood it even now, man.

Best wishes for you, his family and friends. I can't do much, but if you want to talk about it sometime, I am all ears.
 
Jesus ... that's the last thing I wanted to read.

I truly don't know what to say.

(No offense)
 
I'm sorry for your loss. I haven't lost anyone to drugs that I know of, but I can understand how hard this could be for you. Earlier this year (January 10th), I lost my grandmother. Her heart was abnormally sized (it was too big) and they were unable to replace it or find another solution. About two months prior, I lost my second grade teacher. I don't recall what she passed away from, but she had been sick for a long time and had been hiding it from those around her.
My heart goes out to you and his family.
 
S
I've lost some pretty great people in my life too. Wish him all of the luck and wishes.
 
S
My heart goes out to you.
 
Super sad to hear this, Bortzy. It's always a shame when a life is cut short like that. Condolences to you and his family.
 
That's so sad. In order to pay my respects I forced myself to read the whole blog post, I hope you guy's get through it. :)
 
I visited Jake in the hospital last night. This might be a little tough for some to read.

My mom called me yesterday afternoon. We talked about my friend's situation and how she felt like she felt she and my dad should be there for his parents. I can't even imagine what they are going through. I voiced my concern about seeing him like this but after a bit of deliberation I decided I would be more upset with myself if I didn't take the time to see him.

I'm glad I did, even though it was one of the hardest things I have ever done.

I lost it as soon as I saw him lying in his bed. Micah, his nephew had left his stuffed lion next to Jake in bed. I couldn't even walk into his room. I had to face away and talk to the nurses for a few minutes before I could even look at him. After a few minutes I had enough courage to sit with him. I slumped into a chair next to him and balled my eyes out.

The nurse called his parents and they gave permission for the nurse to brief us on his situation. He's not really necessarily in a coma, but I don't know if I could call him conscious. His body seizes and he squirms around every so often, maxed out on drugs, and traked and hooked to a respirator. He suffered massive brain damage at the time of his event. The nurses say he isn't in any pain, so I guess that's good. He has low neurological functionality but that's about it. He yawns, chews, and can open his eyes at times. I don't know if he can focus on anything, but he seems to respond every once and a while to loud noises and human contact.

My parents left me alone with Jake for me to say a few word. It took me awhile, but eventually I was able to talk to him through the tears. A minute into talking to him i layed my hand on his shoulder. I told him I loved him and how strong he was. I don't think there is any scientific possibility that he heard be or knew it was me, but he stirred I could see him making an effort to open his eyes, so I kept talking to him. I apologized about not getting back to him about the movie. Part way through our talk I saw his mouth open and his lips curled into a smile. I finished up with my rambling said my goodbyes. I told the nurse thank you for taking care of my friend.

I feel better after seeing him. I know he suffered a ton of damage and there probably isnt any way he actually heard what I said, but I choose to believe that he did... just to make myself feel better. It was heartbreaking to see him like that, but I know I would want him to do the same for me.
 
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I don't know what to say. Thank you for updating us, I was wondering how things were. I can only offer my condolences and I hope that whatever happens there is as little suffering as possible (for everyone).
 

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