GRATEFUL TO BE ALIVE - Man survives after being shot four times
"Mommy, me a go dead now." These were the words Ben* uttered after receiving gunshots that nearly took his life in an inner-city community in which he lived earlier this year.
He reflected on the night when he witnessed his girlfriend being killed in front of their child.
"After them kill my babymother, me run go outside fi go call fi help. By time me reach a the doorway fi go in the yard, the three a dem (gunmen) pounce pon me. One of dem say 'turn him over', and the first shot me get, a yah so (in his leg), and me couldn't feel my foot dem and me try run go back in the house. Me affi drop pon my face and me hear them fire three more pon me. Me pretend like me dead and me hear them run off," recounted Ben.
He received four gunshots, one to his chest, two in his left leg, and another in his upper back. The injuries have now affected his spinal cord, making it very difficult for him to walk.
Relating his near-death experience, Ben said that while lying on the ground his mind flashed on his deceased parents, and somehow he garnered the strength to fight for his life.
"Me send my son to call my neighbour six time, and after the sixth time, me only hear the door lock, me nuh see back my son. Me deh outside a bawl for help and me feel my breath a go short. Same time me remember my mother, 'cause she dead, me not even remember Father God, and me start bawl and say 'Mommy, yuh know me a guh dead now'. Me nuh know weh me get the strength from, me hold on to the board and turn and see a soldier a look pon me," said the man.
PRONOUNCED DEAD BY COMMUNITY MEMBERS
The journey to the hospital that night seemed lengthy, but Ben said he was determined not to give up the fight. "From them put me up in the jeep back, a one thing me tell myself, me nah dead again enuh. Me drive in a the Jeep back with my eye wide open, dying to see the orange and blue building," he said in reference to the Kingston Public Hospital.
By this time, persons in the community were convinced that he, too, had died in the gun attack with his girlfriend. "Boy, me feel really sad when me hear them say me dead. Me couldn't believe it 'cause me nuh mix up in badness," he said in disbelief.
Ben's road to recovery is already a challenging one. A relative , who was present during the interview with THE STAR, said that Ben suffers from short-term memory loss. "Sometime him will say something to you, and then afterwards him say something else, like him nah remember weh him just say," said the cousin. "We would really appreciate it if we could get help with the pampers too,'cause that really hard to get for him," she said.
For Ben, he is taking his time adjusting to his new reality. "Me really would need the help 'cause me can't work again, mi affi sit one place. A furniture work me used to do, me usually help people but now I am the one asking for help," stressed the 27-year-old. He is now dependent on his grandmother. "It really hard 'cause a night-time if him want me turn him, me affi do it. Sometime him in a pain and me affi help him," said his grandmother.
"Right now, my grandmother affi pay somebody to bathe me, and it really tough on her," said the young man. Not being able to move as he usually would, Ben is now seeking assistance to purchase an egg-crate mattress to help with his spinal injuries. The cost ranges between $10,000 and $15,000.
* Name changed to protect identity.