Things rapidly changed from the five year old Dante you met. He met another sister, ended up fighting for his life against Thrombocytopenia, and met Jesus. He became suicidal (which will be explained). His outlook on life wasn’t the best, but, he was still a kid.

I wish I could tell you this was a positive moment in my life at this time, but it wasn’t. I wasn’t really happy. Looking back, I wonder how he made it through. He was a tough cookie but, this was the start of an eventual crash and burn in my life. Poor bastard. I wonder if there’s anything I can say to him to make things better.

23 Dante: Dante, I’m you from the future.

9 Dante: Really? How old are you?

23 Dante: 23. I made it, Dante.

9 Dante: Huh, I didn’t think I’d make it to age 20.

23 Dante: Surprise. How’s it going?

9 Dante: If you’re me, then you already know. It sucks.

23 Dante: Let’s talk about it. How’s the blood treatments?

9 Dante: Ugh (holding out his arm) Nobody believes me when I say they’re vampires out for my blood.

23 Dante: (laughs) Well, they never will.

9 Dante: Do you want to be alive?

23 Dante: I know where you’re going. Look, life is special. You have to live it out.

9 Dante: Thanks for dodging the question.

23 Dante: Let me ask you a question…I’m hoping you can refresh my memory. What made you want to kill yourself?

9 Dante: Heaven. Why do we need to stay here when we can live in heaven?

23 Dante: Right. Listen carefully. We’re on assignment from God. Life has a purpose and we have a job to do.

9 Dante: (stares at 23 Dante) But is it better than heaven?

23 Dante: No. It never will be, I imagine. But, like I said, you have to kee-

9 Dante: So, you don’t want to kill yourself?

23 Dante: I-I think we should stick with you for now. Was there anything good in your life?

9 Dante: Are you freakin’ kidding me? Desiree wins everything. My arm hurts from the leeches taking my blood. I don’t want to be here anymore.

23 Dante: (touches 9 Dante’s shoulder) I’ve been there, Dante. It will get better. Look at me.

9 Dante looks right into 23 Dante’s eyes.

23 Dante: It will get better. You are important in too many lives to check out now.

9 Dante: No, nobody’s gonna miss me if I kill myself.

23 Dante: You’re so wrong. You can’t believe that. I’ve learned that people love you and consider you a treasure. Mommy and daddy. Denae and Desi. They would be crushed if they lost you.

9 Dante: (looks away; crying) But I don’t want to be here.

23 Dante: Me neither.

9 Dante: Really? So, how did you…me…make it?

23 Dante: One of the things I realized was that I wasn’t doing anything with my life. You’re not doing anything. You’ve lost your dream of living. I’ve found it, Dante. I found it and it’s a very fun thing.

9 Dante: What is it?

23 Dante: (shakes his head) Not yet. You’ll stumble upon it someday. It will be the greatest time of your life. But, I’m going to tell you something you may not want to hear.

9 Dante: What?

23 Dante: You have to embrace the pain in your life. That’s the only way you find your calling. Your gift. Yourself. Carry this with you a little longer. It’ll be worth it. Can you do that for me?

9 Dante: I’ll try, Dante. I’ve never met another Dante before.

23 Dante: I have a hunch you will soon. (looks at watch) I gotta go, Dante. Stay strong.

One of the things while writing this post that I realized was that the thought of heaven and living with God in complete splendor was more appealing than living here on this evil planet. That’s why he wanted to get out. It’s ironic because the first time he talked about death with his mom, he was scared to die. Then, after hearing about what happens after it, it’s all he thinks about.

Nothing has changed. Well, the only difference is I don’t wish for death. But, at the first sign, I’ll gladly tap out. I’ve had several near death experiences since then, and each time, in the middle of it, I had this wave of peace overcome me. Like “finally, it’s over” type of feeling, only to survive.

I did fight with Thrombocytopenia and it started when I was five or six, so shortly after my little talk with my five year old self. I didn’t really grow out of it until I was a teenager. Living with the fact that a paper cut could easily kill me (because I could bleed to death) was interesting. I bruised easily. I was a frail kid who wasn’t allowed to do much physical contact so sports wasn’t something possible. By the time I could, I guess I told myself to not be interested so I never had a real desire to play sports like most boys. I did play some soccer and basketball. Soccer ended when a ball was kicked into my balls. Yeah right. No thanks. I was a beast defensively in basketball. But, I was horrible on offense. I think in all of the games I played (somewhere over 20), I only touched the ball twice on offense.

Anyway, I welcome death, but I don’t look for it like I did before. These years and when I was 16, helped shape who I am today and why this blog exists. That’s why I told Dante to embrace the pain. Hold it, because it would make him a better person. I think some painful moments in life directly translate to your victory in life later on.

I was talking about writing as my calling and gift. I didn’t know I had any writing talent until I was 18. Until then, he coasted without any real knowledge of gifts or talents. He was good at stuff, but didn’t enjoy it. He was considered a funny guy, but not like the legend I am now. Imagine living life without a purpose or even an idea of how to live it. That’s what Dante started going through at that age.

So, do things get better? We’ll have to ask my 16 year old self.