“The Healing Power of Love” by Eli Easton
Greetings fellow romance lovers and visitors to Dawn’s Reading Nook. I’m thrilled to be here to guest post today! This guest post is part of a small blog hop for my new release, a story called “Before I Wake” from Torquere Press. It’s part of a m/m romance fairy tale anthology called “Torqued Tales.” You can probably guess which fairy tale my story is based on as you read this blog post.
The story touches on a theme that is near and dear to my heart—the healing power of love. In the story, Jonsey, a nurse’s aide, befriends a coma patient on his ward. The patient, Michael, is a young man who was badly beaten in a hate crime. In the story, Michael not only has physical trauma to the brain to overcome before he can awaken, but psychological trauma as well. Rejected by his homophobic parents, and then subjected to a hate crime for being gay, it’s not hard to imagine why Michael might not choose to rejoin the land of the living. But with Jonesy’s constant love and care, perhaps Michael can be convinced that there’s a reason to open his eyes and chose life.
I’m a new author to m/m romance, but I’ve written paranormal mysteries in the past. One of the things I’ve always found fascinating to write about is the power of the mind. One of my favorite books, “The Conscious Universe” by Dean Radin, gives examples some studies that have had startling results:
· Hypnotherapy has been used to successfully treat intractable cases of pain, arthritis, hypertension, epilepsy, and many other physical conditions.
· If people think they are drinking alcohol they will in fact get drunk even if they drink a placebo.
· Simply diagnosing a patient as having a terminal illness, and letting them know, speeds death.
· Many studies have shown that having loving family members around speeds patient recovery dramatically.
And from other sources:
· In one study, cardiac patients receiving daily prayer fared 11% better than those who did not even though the patients were unaware that they were being prayed for. (http://edition.cnn.com/2000/HEALTH/alternative/01/18/prayer.power.wmd/)
· Individuals who never marry are twice as likely to die early than individuals who had been in a long-term, stable relationship. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/10/marriage-research_n_2450639.html)
All of these studies show that the human mind is a powerful thing, and that it can affect not only our moods but our physical bodies and those of the people we care for. And one of the most powerful forces of the mind is love—love for ourselves and love for others. As an avid romance reader and author, I believe in the power of love—to make people happy, to make life better, and yes, to heal us when we are down, both the body and the spirit. That’s the theme of “Before I Wake”, and I hope readers will find it interesting and thought-provoking.
Win a free copy of “Before I Wake”:
Post a comment and get a chance to win a free copy of “Before I Wake”. I’ll draw a winner on Jun 29th using random.org. This contest is open to adults 18 and up. Leaving a comment will confirm that you are 18 or over.
About Before I Wake by Eli Easton
Jonesy is a nurse’s aide at St. Mercy Hospital. One night the victim of a hate crime in brought onto his ward, deep in a coma. Rejected by his homophobic parents, and seemingly friendless, Michael has no one to stick up for him as his life support is turned off. Jonesy encourages Michael to keep breathing and, miraculously, Michael does. As the months pass, Jonesy stays by Michael’s side, talking to him, reading to him and encouraging Michael to wake up. Jonesy may be a big galoot, and he may not be the smartest guy in the world, but he knows someone who needs a friend when he sees one. And if he also thinks Michael is the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen, well, Jonesy knows better than to hope for things that can never happen.
Michael is lost in a deep dungeon, a dark and terrifying place. His only comfort is the disembodied sound of a man’s voice, a voice that refuses to let him give up. Can Michael come back? Does he want to? Life had never been very kind to Michael. But maybe there are some things worth living for.
Here’s an excerpt from “Before I Wake”:
I usually sleep from three in the afternoon till ten. But that day it was hard to get to sleep because I was thinking about Michael. I decided to go in early see him. I got to work at ten o'clock.
Michael was sleeping. The sound of the machine that helped him breathe was very relaxing. There was still dried blood around his nose. It made him look dead so I carefully washed it off.
"How are you today, Michael?" I asked him as I worked. "Your nose is pretty swollen. I'll try to be gentle."
"He can't hear you," Mr. Howser said loudly. "He's in a coma."
Cats and birds and other animals couldn't understand me either, but that didn't mean they didn't like hearing your voice. I didn't tell that to Mr. Howser. Michael looked less scary once I'd gotten all the blood off.
Sharon pulled me aside when she came in. Her round, brown face was very serious.
"Jonesy, you know that patient in C14, Michael Havers?"
Her lips pinched together. "They're taking him off the ventilator at six a.m. The chaplain's coming. I thought you might not want to be here. You can go home early if you want."
"What? Why would they do that? He's going to get better!"
Sharon shook her head in that disgusted way of hers. "His parents signed some papers saying we couldn't use life support. And he's not on their insurance. He doesn't appear to have any insurance at all."
I pulled away from her and ran to the bathroom. I barely made it to the toilet before I threw up.
No insurance. No life support.
They were going to kill him. They were going to kill Michael.
I knew he could live if they just gave him time. But they weren't going to do that, those parents of his that should be sent to Mars. And if the family said no, the hospital had to do it, I guess, had to take him off the ventilator.
I was so upset; I could hardly work that night. I made my usual rounds, but every chance I had I'd go sit with Michael. He didn't have anyone else. I didn't either, really, but at least I had my work and my body wasn't broken. I could take care of myself. He couldn't. I wished I knew a lot of fancy laws or had the right thing to say to stop this from happening. But if the hospital was behind it, what could I do?
"I want to be there," I told Sharon, "when they turn off the machine."
"Oh, Jonesy!" She hugged me. "I don't think you should do that, honey. You're already so upset. Maybe it's his time. Maybe Jesus is waiting for him with open arms and he needs to go."
"It's not his time," I said, in what Aunt Dee called my stubborn voice. "And there's nobody else to hold his hand."
Sharon's face scrunched up then and she waved a hand in front of it as if trying to air it out. She just shook her head as if she couldn't speak and walked away. But I figured it would be okay for me to be there, because Sharon was almost as sad as I was.
The chaplain was there at ten ‘til six that morning. He was out in the hall talking to the doctor so I went in and stood beside Michael's bed and held his hand. I leaned down to whisper in his ear.
"You can do this, Michael. They're going to turn off the machine. All you have to do is breathe. I'll be right here with you, okay? When I squeeze your hand, you breathe in. And when I let it go, you breathe out. That's all you need to do. I'm right here to help you."
The doctor came in with a couple of people in suits. My face was scrunched up tight trying to keep everything inside. I wanted to stop them, yell at them, ask what the hell gave them the right. But I was only a nurse's aide and they were doctors and lawyers and a chaplain and all that. I thought I might throw up again.
I started squeezing Michael's hand -- squeeze, release, squeeze, release -- in time to the sound of the ventilator, letting Michael feel the rhythm. The chaplain said a prayer, which I didn't like either, because it was all about Michael going on to God. He shouldn't make Michael think that's what he was supposed to do. So I just kept squeezing, hoping Michael could tell that he didn't have to go.
The doctor looked at his watch and then turned off the machine. I kept squeezing.
Sharon took the tube out of Michael's throat. The doctor stared at his watch.
It seemed like a long time that Michael didn't breathe. I was squeezing his hand so hard, squeezing and squeezing. And just when I thought he was gone, he took a soft breath.
Everyone stood frozen and waited. Squeeze, release, squeeze, release, breath.
Michael was breathing on his own.
About Eli Easton
Eli Easton is a new nom de plume for an author who has primarily published mystery thrillers in the past. As an addict of m/m romance, she decided to tip her size-9 toe in the water and write in the genre herself. “Before I Wake” is her first published m/m story. She has three m/m romance novellas coming out from Dreamspinner in 2013 and a historical m/m novella “The Lion and the Crow” available for free as part of the goodreads m/m romance event “Love Has No Boundaries”. You can get news about her books on goodreads here: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7020231.Eli_Easton