(Warning: graphic photos)
When I was young I used to love Montgomery Clift. I watched all his movies, collected his photos and read everything I could about him—all this before Internet and Google were invented.
I watched him on VHS tapes and bought biographies when I could physically find them in a bookstore.
The photos my dad bought in Japan when he traveled, like this one.
Four times nominated for Best Actor in the Academy Awards for The Search (1948), A Place in the Sun (1951), From Here to Eternity (1953), and Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), Montgomery Clift was at the height of his career in 1956 when his car smashed into a telephone pole and destroyed his face.
He suffered a broken jaw and nose, a fractured sinus, and several facial lacerations which required plastic surgery (wiki).
Sadly his looks were gone.
There is nothing scarier than losing one’s face—literally and figuratively.
Last March 19, 2014, my nephew, indie actor Lance Raymundo met a serious accident at the gym when his trainer dropped an 80-lb. barbell on his face.
Lance felt the most intense pain. Blood covered his eyes but he could hear his trainer crying in Tagalog, “I’m so sorry, I have killed you!”
At that moment Lance had the following thoughts:
1) He forgave his trainer. “It’s not your fault,” he immediately told him. “Just take me to the hospital.”
2) He must not fall asleep and kept his mind occupied to keep it alert.
3) He must not die because his brother will kill the trainer.
4) He thought of his parents. He cannot die.
This was Lance before the accident:
And a few hours later, when he was “cleaned up” at the hospital.
Right after the accident, he managed to call his mom, Nina Raymundo, who rushed to the hospital.
“Mom, I’m gonna need a nosejob,” he told her.
The first day was critical. After emergency surgery when they thought he was sleeping, he heard his doctor tell his mom that he could die.
On March 20, the day after the accident, he began to regain full consciousness.
“I realized the gravity of my situation. I was half blind, the small crack on my skull made me vulnerable to meningitis and seizures. Through my one functional eye, I took a good look at the mirror and didn’t recognize my own face because it was disfigured. I thought I looked like Voldemort—only Voldemort looked better,” Lance said.
“But for some reason, instead of feeling angry, depressed or negative, I just took another look at the new me.
I smiled back at my reflection and thanked God I was still alive. I had personal a moment with God and asked Him to guide me in planning how to live an effective and meaningful life with my current situation. I also found it within me to completely and sincerely forgive the fitness trainer who accidentally dropped the barbell on my face and prayed for his peace of mind.
I must have fallen asleep, but at approximately 5:45 PM, I heard a voice within my head saying, ‘Your suffering will only last for 6 days because on the 7th day, everything will be restored.’
A day after, my swelling subsided. The doctor scheduled my surgery on March 25th and on March 26—SEVEN days after the accident, I woke up, opened my eyes, and realized that both eyes were working and my vision was restored.
The neurosurgeons informed my family that my brain was cleared from danger. I asked Mom for a mirror, and when I looked, it was me again! His Promise, fulfilled!”
A second surgery followed after a month, led by Dr. Michael Porquez of Cardinal Santos hospital
It looks promising
Less than three months after the accident, Lance and his family decided to celebrate his birthday with a thanksgiving dinner at Gloria Maris, Greenhills, with about 100 friends, family and media.
Last night, we finally got to see him again.
He likes his face. He looks slightly younger. No more eyebags, with a slightly turned up nose. Because hey, why not??
The result is amazing. The accident is slightly obvious, but it will still improve as it continues to heal within six months to a year.
But what’s more amazing to me—more than Lance’s speedy recovery and faith—is his ability to forgive the one who has wronged him.
“His first instinct was to forgive,” our cousin Ana Coscolluela told me last night. “That really means he’s a good person.
Ana Coscolluela (R) with our beloved auntie, Nina Raymundo—Lance’s mom.
Read about Lance Raymundo’s accident HERE.