Saturday, January 12, 2013

< RM > story - Mr. Gillespie

Mr. Gillespie

When I was in seventh grade, I was a
candy striper at a local hospital in my town.
I volunteered about thirty to forty hours a
week during the summer. Most of the time I
spent there was with Mr. Gillespie. He never
had any visitors, and nobody seemed to care
about his condition.
I spent many days there holding his hand
and talking to him, helping with anything
that needed to be done. He became a close
friend of mine, even though he responded
with only an occasional squeeze of my hand.
Mr. Gillespie was in a coma.
I left for a week to vacation with my par-
ents, and when I came back, Mr. Gillespie
was gone. I didn't have the nerve to ask any
of the nurses where he was, for fear they
might tell me he had died. So with many
questions unanswered, I continued to volun-
teer there through my eighth-
grade year.
Several years later, when I was a junior in
high school, I was at the gas station when I
noticed a familiar face. When I realized who
it was, my eyes filled with tears. He was
alive! I got up the nerve to ask him if his
name was Mr. Gillespie, and if he had been in
a coma about five years ago. With an uncer-
tain look on his face, he replied yes. I
explained how I knew him, and that I had
spent many hours talking with him in the
hospital. His eyes welled up with tears, and
he gave me the warmest hug I had ever
He began to tell me how, as he lay there
comatose, he could hear me talking to him
and could feel me holding his hand the whole
time. He thought it was an angel, not a per-
son, who was there with him. Mr. Gillespie
firmly believed that it was my voice and
touch that had kept him alive.
Then he told me about his life and what
happened to him to put him in the coma. We
both cried for a while and exchanged a hug,
said our good-byes and went our separate
Although I haven't seen him since, he fills
my heart with joy every day. I know that I
made a difference between his life and his
death. More important, he has made a
tremendous difference in my life. I will never
forget him and what he did for me: he made
me a hero.

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