I want to ask this girl to marry me. I am 21, and she is 22, and we are completely in love. Her family is against our wedding and my family isn’t all about it either.
I have had some serious health issues since I was a child and I almost died several times so I know that life is short, more than other people. I asked a pastor what to do and he said it would be disrespectful to our parents to disobey them, but I am so confused, so what do I do? We just want to be together.
First off: You do not need advice. Anyone who has “almost died several times” has already learned things I will never know.
Don’t get me wrong, I have had a few moments when I THOUGHT I was dying. But nothing like you.
I am not kidding. I am predisposed to episodes of something called “vasovagal syncope.” This is just a medical way of saying that I pass out at the drop of a hat. It happens only when I get very freaked out.
People who experience vasovagal syncope experience lightheadedness, nausea, the feeling of being hot or cold (accompanied by sweating), ringing ears, confusion, inability to speak or form words, visual disturbances such as lights seeming too bright, tunnel vision, and (this is a real biggie) RELAXATION OF THE BOWEL MUSCLES. Then these people pass out.
I have passed out a lot. Once when I was a child, a faith healer from Tennessee came through our church. He asked if I “believed.” I told him I did. He did put his hand on my forehead and hissed like a snake.
I hate snakes.
I passed out. When I came to, something was very wrong. My mother took me into the bathroom and—I don’t mean to get too graphic—but my intestinal muscles had majorly relaxed if you catch my drift.
My mother was worried about this. She took me to the doctor. The doc said that I was prone to vasovagal syncope.
He explained that people with this condition often lost consciousness, had minor seizures, and occasionally messed their britches during social settings such as school, the office, or Wednesday night choir practice.
But otherwise, it was nothing to worry about.
Once, I was in a car wreck. The vehicle ahead of me hit the brakes, but the brakelights didn’t work. I rear-ended them. I don’t remember anything else because I blacked out.
When I awoke, I was lying in the median and the paramedics were slapping my cheeks.
One paramedic said, “I’ve got good news and bad news.”
“What is it?” I asked.
“The good news is you’re okay.”
“What’s the bad news?”
He snickered. “It’s called vasovagal syncope.”
“Please take me to the morgue,” I said.
You might think I am kidding. I am not.
One time I was in a thrift store. I was looking at used books. The book I was reading was entitled: “Exotic Animals of the Amazon.” I saw a vivid photograph of a freakish spider.
I began seeing stars. I set the book down. My vision became dim. I felt faint.
I woke up in an ambulance. The paramedic beside my stretcher couldn’t quit laughing long enough to check my blood pressure cuff.
So I am not trying to be crude. What I am trying to tell you is that when you pass out for no apparent reason, your first thought is: “Oh my God, I’m actually dying.”
Every time I’ve passed out, I have seriously believed that I was a goner. And it’s terrifying.
Once, I had a dream after I passed out and I thought I had gone to the hereafter. It was bizarre. There were no people in this dreamlike state. No family, no friends.
It was a weird realm without voices, laughter, or conversation. I was sitting in what looked like my house, at my own dining table, eating breakfast, but my wife was nowhere.
Do you know what I did in the dream? I called my wife’s name. Because in the moments when you think you’re dying, all you care about are your people.
This woman is important to me. I married her when I was young like you. A lot of people said we were making a huge mistake. They were wrong. She has contributed more to my life than any single person alive. My idea of a literal hell would be a world without her.
So there I was, in Vasovagal Purgatory, and I was calling her name. When the blackness faded, I found myself surrounded by medical personnel.
There she was. Her face was looking down at me. A bright medical light behind her head. She was crying. Her tears were falling on my face. And I’ve never been so happy to be alive.
“You scared me,” she said. “Don’t do that again.”
“What happened?” I asked.
She started laughing.
Then the paramedics laughed.
And the policemen laughed.
And the priest.
“Don’t be embarrassed,” she said. “But I brought you a change of pants.”
So I asked the paramedics to kill me by lethal injection.
My friend, I am not an advice giver, so I won’t insult you by pretending to be one. I will simply tell you what I have found to be true. Which is this:
If you can’t live without her, then don’t.