“I hope you die”
This is a statement that came out from a hopeless mother to her son.
Martin Pistorius fell into a deep coma when he was a vibrant 12-year-old boy in the 1980’s. He found himself locked inside his own body – unable to speak, make eye contact or even move his own limbs.
Martin’s doctors told his parents, Rodney and Joan Pistorius, that the boy had cryptococci meningitis. His condition grew worse and eventually he lost all the ability to move and speak and make eye contact with his family. The physicians then said that Martin should be taken home to die in peace yet his family proceeded with the routine.
At first, Martin’s mother said, “Martin just kept going, just kept going.” On the other hand, Martin’s father would wake up every day at 5 a.m., dress the boy, put him in the car and drive him to a special care center.
As Martin’s father recalled,
Eight hours later, I’d pick him up, bathe him, feed him, put him in bed, set my alarm for two hours so that I’d wake up to turn him so that he didn’t get bedsores.
It was his parents life for 12 years. And during those 12 years, according to the Pistorius family, there was never any indication that Martin’s condition was improving.
Until one day, Martin’s mom, in her state of hopelessness, told her son, “I hope you die.”
Those dreadful words she never imagined that her son would have understood.
However, by the time he was 14 or 15 years old, Martin began to awaken.
Yes, I was there, not from the very beginning, but about two years into my vegetative state, I began to wake up. I was aware of everything, just like any normal person. Everyone was so used to me not being there that they didn’t notice when I began to be present again. The stark reality hit me that I was going to spend the rest of my life like that – totally alone,” Martin recalls.
Martin had even heard his mother’s cruel words.
You don’t really think about anything. You simply exist. It’s a very dark place to find yourself because, in a sense, you are allowing yourself to vanish. As time passed, I gradually learned to understand my mother’s desperation. Every time she looked at me, she could see only a cruel parody of the once-healthy child she had loved so much.”
Now Martin, 39, is in full control of his body. He uses a computer to speak and is mobile with a wheelchair. His awareness has fully returned. He’s married and lives a normal life in Harlow, England.