My Story

Richard’s personal story

In 2013 Richard Gavette was living his dream. He had an entrepreneurial career. Free time was spent with his girlfriend Evelina, dancing salsa and bachata, going out with friends, meditating, becoming an expert geek at teas and chocolates, and when inspired, writing music. Then, on November 24,2013, Richard’s life changed drastically. A week before he and Evelina planned to move in together, he had an accident and hit his head, which resulted in a severe concussion. The concussion didn’t heal. Instead, he suffered an arduous, unrelenting brain fatigue, which meant he could, at the most, endure 45 minutes of mental stimuli per day, including conversations. Any attempt to increase this time, led to a total physical crash, where Richard could be totally out for several days.

If that wasn’t bad enough, during the traumatic period after the accident, he was stricken by a grave version of the neural disease ME/CFS, making him physically frail as a single hair and nearly totally bed-ridden. He became totally dependent on help and support from family and friends. His days were spent lying in rest, while experiencing dizziness and headaches.

Richard was a mere 27 years young when he was forced to accept the fact that his life as a normal human was over. He had become a prisoner in his own body. In order to handle his illness, he now needed to spend 22 hours of each day in complete silence and rest. In the beginning, he felt he was going insane. A human being is not made to live that way. With so little stimuli. With so much silence. It was an existence with no human life.

Then, after some time, something happened. The silence during rest, which had felt like death with dreaded quietness turned out to be anything but silent and was bubbling with life. With great fascination, Richard began to explore the silence and let himself really listen to it. He heard words.  He heard music. This symphony of silence became his companion during the long hours of forced rest. He was never alone. He began dreaming about one day creating something from what he was hearing in the silence.

Time continued and months became years. Richard did his best to keep his courage, but truth be told, he was slowly getting worse. His little “bubble of life” shrank with each passing month. His body became all the more physically frail.

By the fall of 2017, Richard’s neurological disease had escalated to the degree that he could not get out of bed. Nor could he deal with any mental stimuli. Since his illness was seen as untreatable, and little was known about it in Sweden, Richard and his next of kin knew that little could be done for him in the hospital. But they capitulated once he could no longer urinate, pass stool or even move in his own bed. His parents called an ambulance and he was admitted to the hospital in the city of Varberg. By then, Richard could not move his body and felt no sensation from the neck down. He feared that it would spread to his head and that he would lose any ability to speak.

Lying on a gurney in the hospital’s emergency ward, it seemed to Richard that any life he had left was about to abandon him and he made a solemn oath to himself:

“If, in some way, I succeed in making it home again and get some kind of life back, I promise to try to realize my book and music dreams”.

And somewhere, in the chaos of being hospitalized, things changed for the better. After a few days Richard got both feeling and movement back – from his neck down. Some days later, he could once again urinate, pass stool and move a bit in his hospital room. There was no medical explanation as to what happened at the hospital, but Richard and his next of kin chose to see it as the gift of life. After three weeks, he was released and sent home with Christmas gifts of a wheelchair and a shower bench.

Richard discovered a new life in his same old body. The very day after he had returned home, he began wandering his path of dreams. He was still seriously sick and could hardly move around in his home. He was continuously dependent on his family and friends but his body was relatively stable and, once again, his brain permitted nearly 45 minutes of daily stimulation.

In order to act on his dreams, Richard needed to give up several things that had been part of his life. He read no news for several years and did not use YouTube, Facebook or other social media. A mere10 minutes per day was utilized to communicate with friends and family, with the remaining 35 minutes used for writing and creation.

Richard’s musings became a poem, in time growing to a hundred. One book became many. A music demo became a completed demo album. He continued his dream path wandering. One little step at a time. With the heavy weight of his illnesses ever present, it was like dancing on the sharp blade of a knife yet, as long as he could write and create, Richard experienced happiness and felt alive.

During his final 6 years before he died in 2024, Richard gave in to his strong desire, inspiration and time management.  The results were astounding. He wrote and completed over 1000 poems and texts, and more than 350 songs. Richard’s 18 books are available as Ebooks at Adlibris and Bokus, as well as on pdf on his own website. Richard’s music can be found on Spotify and YouTube. Since the spring of 2022, Richard’s songs are produced and sung by producer and musician Benjamin Önnhed.

Richard’s personal story reminds us all that it is possible to realize our innermost dreams. If Richard could attain this achievement, it is quite possible that most of us can make it happen for ourselves.

Richard Gavette once upon a time.