Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Snapshots: My Glory Was I Had Such Friends and Blue Whale

New from Harper-Collins
(1) My Glory Was I Had Such Friends is a memoir, the story of a lawyer who needs a heart transplant at the tender, life-affirming age of 25. We tune in at 50 when she needs another. The first donor heart is failing quickly, symptoms painfully communicating that she is in trouble.
Amy Silverstein's My Glory I Had Such Friends-- glorious

The disease turns unbearable, and she has endured a great deal. This is an emotionally strong woman, but we all have our limits. Pain medication can kill her, slow her heart to a stop. She is going it alone, white knuckling pain.

Not easy reading. But it is chick lit, and we love any book with the word "friends" in the title.

And Amy has friends, many of them, amazing women who will leave their daily lives to travel across the country, tend to her when she needs them the most.

How in the world does this happen? How are some people so blessed, or so lucky?

Once I asked a man why he married his wife. He told me that he had to marry her. She was the only one, outside of himself, who still had all of her friends from childhood. Not many of us can say that.

To have friends who will stay with you when your life is at its most challenging, this is nirvana, heaven on earth. As it is written, not sure where, but someplace holy, probably the Ethics of the Fathers, A close friend is better than a distant relative.

On Saturday, Shabbas, the last day of the week, almost finished with this biography, I'm looking around the sanctuary, checking out who is here, listening to the reading of the Torah, all the while wondering:
If, G-d forbid, I were in this position, sick and stuck in a hospital prison, waiting for a donor organ to come through, not knowing if it would or it wouldn't be on time, could I count on any of these women to fly to California and stay with me for a few days, then maybe come back and do it all over again? 
After all, being alone in a hospital room for months, isolated from the usual and customary everything, well, that's pretty depressing.

Amy has a rotation of super stars, and they are furious, no distressed, that she has lost her will to live. Her irritability, her anger, her pain, all of it is on the surface, she can't hide a thing. She is in agony, breathless. Her pacemaker, working to keep her heart beating, mercilessly, repeatedly sparks all night. It is electrifying, begins just as she dozes off. But her friends are there.

There will be a decision, and it is hard for some of us to even read about this, wanting, like Amy's friends, for her to choose life. Is there really any other choice? But she has a choice. She can legally let go, refuse treatment, choose death as an alternative. I want to close the book, stop reading.

But she writes too well. The book is beautiful, so stopping is impossible. As a coping strategy, Amy quotes poetry, by heart. (Who does that?) She never whines. You don't want her to die. You are her friend, too.

Not fair to spoil it any further, check out My Glory Was I Had Such Friends. Enough to say that it is a lesson in friendship, how to be a friend. It isn't easy.

(2) There's something else going on, the Blue Whale Game. This is painful, too. This is about who not to choose as your friend.

A 16 year old girl (her name is protected) kills herself, identifies with the blue whale, a species that voluntarily beaches itself to die.*

The girl has followed the rules of a Russian internet game, one that has claimed many teenage lives. The creator is a 21 year-old psychology major, Philip Budeiking, since found in Russia and arrested. But the game continues in other countries, has other administrators, or "curators."

News sources have reported two teenage suicides in the United States associated with Blue Whale Game. There are likely more.

The "game" takes place over 50 days. The curator gives players daily tasks to accomplish and requires them to submit photographic evidence that they have completed each, keeping their communication private.

The tasks leading up to it include watching horror films, cutting their lips, incising an image of a whale on their arms, sitting on the highest rooftop they can find, legs dangling. The are to visit the ocean, find railroad tracks.
. . .the curator sends teens to scope out the location of their deaths in advance as one of the challenges. . . Each task becomes riskier.

The final task is to kill yourself. Jump.

130 teen suicides could be linked to the game, because almost all the victims were in the same internet group. However, it later said that only 80 of those could be proved . . . definitively linked to the game.

Oy vey. Eighty validated suicides related to a . . . game.

Teens are told that once they begin the game, there is no turning back, that the curator knows who they are and he will come after them.

To see a list of all 50 challenges, go to  Suffer through the info-video by Anonymous titled Blue Whale Group Exposed- 2017 #OpBlueWhale.


I just couldn't bring myself to link to it, or embed it. This is too scary, too upsetting. They have enough attention already, these sociopaths.

But tell everyone you know about the Blue Whale game, because people have to know these things. Warn friends, talk to parents, and especially talk to children.

Maybe it has never been harder to be a parent, or perhaps, even a child.


*There are many reasons that the blue whale might beach itself, none proven conclusively.

1 comment:

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Wow, talk about two very different topics! I can only hope that if I'm in a situation like Amy's, I will have the same level of love and commitment from my own friends.

Thanks for being a part of the tour.