Assisted Dying – Dignity in Dying

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Dick Turner was my guinea pig when I entered the business back in 95. He was one of the first students I became really close with after I started working at St. Dymphna High School on the south side of Baltimore.

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He was your typical high school geek, about 5 foot 10 inches, had the posture of a 95 year old with scoliosis, outdated clothing that fit a little too big and wore an oversize set of bifocals that had a piece of tape holding them together and looked like theyd been through the ringer. Of course, Dick was the unlucky fella that had a shitty life at home, a topic him and I could relate on. His father was an abusive son of a bitch, mom left when he was in 3rd grade to chase her music career down in Nashville, and his older brother ran one of the largest drug cartels east of the Mississippi. Initially, I only saw Dick once or twice a month during his freshman year, usually when he needed to talk about his dads monthly tirade that resulted in another trip to the hospital for him. I always offered to call D.C.F.S., but Dick would talked about how much he feared his father would kill him if he ever got a call from them. Anyways, throughout most of his sophomore year and in to his junior year, I became the closest thing he had to real family in a short amount of time. On a daily basis, hed come talk to me about how much he hated coming to school, and to be honest I didnt blame him. For years I watched from a distance as he would get pummeled and brutally humiliated by his peers. He had yet to outgrow his speech impediment that caused him from pronounce his rr’s like a 2nd grader, even I struggled to listen to him talk sometimes, but the students had a field day with that. The self-proclaimed all-star future division three quarterback would heckle him as he walked the halls with his possy of subpar athletes. I give him credit though, no matter how much shit he took, Dick walked those halls with a sense of confidence that I never had. Too bad the scrawny 16 year old didnt have a god damn fighting bone in his body.

Unfortunately, midway through his Junior year, life came at him a little too fast. In addition to his seemly pointless life at home and school, he had faced adversity with depression and anxiety, convincing himself that he was nothing, but a waste. So much of a waste, that he approached me during his lunch hour one-day with a story about his dad walking in on him attempting to hang himself.

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