Eternally Yours

Life as Gloria Lamar knew it ended almost five years ago. But her heart beats on.

"Tom Hoh spent several years trying to manipulate her life and getting himself into her life. He's kind of into mind control--sending things to her, trying to control her. Sending cards for her mother to read to her. She doesn't need that."

She doesn't need fundamentalism, either, Hoh responds; Lamar had no interest in fundamentalist religion. "It was the challenge, the stimulation--that was the only thing that was bringing her back," he says. "They do just the opposite. They drug her. And feel sorry for her. The doctors, and whatever support staff. All these places have chaplains, and they have the little events person and the social activities person...They're kind of in a coma themselves in a way."

Hoh himself is getting on with life. With several partners, he's financed a couple of ocean-going liners; he hopes to take divers on board to search for sunken vessels. He has shipwreck leases in hand and a lot of interest from divers, he says, and is searching for further funding. He has also begun seeing another woman, whose own father has been in a coma for four years.

Their common experiences have made life more poignant for both of them. "You don't just get destroyed," he says. "You see the ridiculousness of everyday, petty crap. Things become more valuable, more meaningful."

He looks at Gloria's painting of the Afghan girl. "I think about her a lot," he says quietly. "But not perpetually, like before."

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