One I Lost, One I Saved

One_I_lostOne I lost, one I saved. Last week I was reminded of an event most only associate with a TV show or movie they’ve watched. On screen brutality, no matter it be a bar room fight, a mugging or even a murder, is lost to us because it’s only 2D. Seeing those acts of aggression in the real world, in 3D without colored glasses, is a surreal experience. At least that’s how it was for me on January 19th, 1985. That was a day that altered my sense of personal security and my willingness to intercede on the behalf of another. I was witness to a murder.

I won’t go into the details, it is sufficient to say on that day I did not react quickly enough to save a life. At the point in time I finally did take action the life of another was dreadfully about to expire. It was only after the trauma of the situation that I realized the killer saw me and that I was the only witness to the crime. Personal security….out the window! This was not an inner city location; it would be easy to reason I could avoid those uncomfortable locales. No, this sad memory happened in an otherwise safe, new neighborhood in North Phoenix.

I learned another piece of information about myself. Although I didn’t react quickly enough on that occasion, I did commit myself fully and without regard for myself at some point. One never knows until such events happen how they will respond, I know this information now. I can’t tell you how many times since 1985 that I’ve beaten myself up over my 2D reaction to a 3D event.

When do you know you’ve improved your swing? I found out last week. Last week I saved a life. It wasn’t as dramatic as 22 years ago, but the result was a friend whom I’d met on the internet was rescued from certain death.

Although my first contact with Pam was from the internet, I met her in a local area hospital while she was a patient. Seeing her for the first time in the hospital I noticed most her thin arms. I recall on a number of phone conversations she complained the phone was just too heavy and that using the cell phone was easier. She used to brag about how strong her arms were, what I saw was some something akin to a third world starving refugee photo.

Pam continued to keep in touch after her hospital stay. I never knew her to be pessimistic about her prospects in life; she believed she’d be walking again with just a few months in rehab. Her optimism was the stuff of faith and hope, not easily supported by her current circumstance.

Last week I heard from Pam for the first time in perhaps three weeks. She’d moved to a new house with her 18 year old daughter and was excited to get her belongings out of storage for the first time in a couple of years. On this call, Pam was panic’d, her voice weak, she explained how she’d been trying to get a hold of me but the phone was unreliable. I asked how she was doing. For the first time I heard her say she wasn’t well. She was being left alone, unattended for up to 15 hours a day. No one to bring her food, no one to bring her water, no one to help turn her to prevent sores, and for the first time I heard despair in her normally sweet voice.

I asked for her address intending on going out to see her, she couldn’t remember the precise address of her home. I told her she needed to call 911 immediately and get someone out to help her. She continued to insist her daughter would come through for her. After a few more directives to call for help after our call ended, I hung up. The next day, late afternoon, I determined she would not have called, consistent with her pattern of optimism about her only real family helping her. It was then I called 911.

After the authorities confirmed the information I’d given them, a sheriff’s deputy was dispatched. They had to break in the home and removed her immediately, sending her straight to the hospital. The conditions were as bad as I’d believed them to be. She had deep bruises and open sores, and she sprained one of her thin arms trying to help herself.

Two days later Pam called me from the hospital, still weak, but with a sense of relief coming from her.

Friendships we develop on the internet are as immediate as any we would have outside of being online. We don’t need to touch someone, or see into their eyes in order to feel their love, or their need. My swing has improved, I react sooner, and in this case a gentle, soft spoken woman named Pam is smiling again, with optimism in her voice. After 22 years I feel a sense of redemption.

I have family that loves me, friends that care, and my health in tact; I have no problems in life. Thanks for reading this far.


11 comments for “One I Lost, One I Saved

  1. Donna
    April 10, 2007 at 10:39 pm

    I started reading through your past posts so I could get to know you. I'm glad I did!

  2. Tim H
    March 28, 2007 at 3:04 pm

    The point of my blog is proven with the responses it's generated, that is, when each of you have express some sort of sentiment toward me I knew it was heart felt. Whether you fully buy into the notion that some amazing connections are possible using the internet as your stage, you have all 'crossed over' and made such a connection with me. Even extending to Pam, many have asked about her well being which further shows the love one can feel from our 'text' friendships. BTW, she'd been moved to another hospital and I haven't tracked that down yet. When I do I'll make some mention of it in my 360 Blast. XOXO

  3. kathywabucks
    March 27, 2007 at 9:02 pm

    Thanks for sharing that story. It was awesome and you are right the friendships we make over the internet can be just as remarkable as those made otherwise.

  4. Kim
    March 27, 2007 at 11:28 pm

    Wow…I'm like everyone else here…just in awe. What you experienced in both situations had to be gut wretching. But how wonderful a thing for you to not give up on your friend, Pam. I bet she is more thankful than words could ever express. Remarkable happening by a remarkable man.

  5. Oregoncelt
    March 27, 2007 at 6:45 pm

    You are amazing, I know what it feels like to be ill and helpless yet hold out hope for the ones who love you to come and rescue you. Pro-active is the only hope for the world we live in. Hugs and pats on the back to you.

  6. Rose J.
    March 27, 2007 at 4:18 pm

    With both situations, you reacted by your instinct. You saved a life the first time, YOUR own. It was highly unlikely you could have prevented what happened, it would have happened anyway and you too may have been a murder victim had you tried to intervene. God led you to safety. With this recent situation, you reacted by gut instinct too, and again God helped you to make the decision that had to be made. You did the right thing both times. You are a good friend to Pam, and she is lucky to have you as such. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Monica
    March 27, 2007 at 11:26 am

    You are so right about the friendships that we develop online Tim, we don't need to see them, touch them, or even hear their voices to feel their love or perhaps their need.

    I am so thankful that you are the kind of person that you are Tim, being there for your friend Pam and I assume others 🙂

    I am proud to be your friend Tim! xo

    Wonderful post!!

  8. Debra ^j^
    March 26, 2007 at 10:56 pm


    I hope you are now able to let go of the situation that happened 22 years ago and forgive yourself. I recall you telling me about what happened and like Ann said, it was NOT your fault and certainly your hesitation saved your own life. I am glad you were able to save your friend, Pam, from a possible worse fate.

    We are God's hands and feet, but He is the director. The murder you witnessed in '85 was the catalist for what you did last week for Pam. Stop beating yourself up over your past "mistakes" (something I understand as I have done the same) and learn from them, grow, and be a better person now and in the future for having gone through them. That is all God ask of us…not perfection, only our desire and continued strive towards being our very best at any given moment. Always knowing it is through Him all things are possible.

    I am proud of you, Tim, and will pray for your friend, Pam.

    Love Debra

  9. unknown
    March 26, 2007 at 8:08 pm

    Thanks for sharing this story from your life. So glad that you now feel a bit better, although the first situation was certainly not your fault. I continue to be amazed by you, Tim, and I imagine that Pam has a few words of gratitude as well. Excellent blog.

  10. sdastroguy
    March 26, 2007 at 6:15 pm


    After reading this the first time, I had to read it again. I've never faced the first situation that you faced. My trial was to help catch a drunk that crashed into our neighbors house a long time ago, and it is an action that I am still proud of. I'm not sure how I might have reacted in your first situation however. But I hope that after reading this post that if such a situation ever faces me that I make the correct decision.

    As for your second chance that you had. The world needs more people like you that really show compassion to others and truly care about their friends.

    This was a fantastic post. Thank you very much for sharing it with us.

    I am very proud to have someone like you on my friends list here on 360.

  11. இ۩۞۩ ♥ ۩۞۩இ
    March 26, 2007 at 4:26 pm

    wow, this was an incredible post…

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