Tomas Young, Wounded Iraq War Vet, says He Will Live on for Now
Tomas Young, Wounded Iraq War Vet, says He Will Live on for Now
By Robert A. Cronkleton / kansascity.com

Tomas Young, the paralyzed Iraq war veteran who announced earlier this spring that he was ready to die, said that he has decided to live for now.

“I decided I was going to hold on as long as I can until it becomes too unbearable for me,” Young said in an interview Monday afternoon at his Kansas City, North home.

He said he would no longer set a date for when he will end his life. Rather, he will decide at the time his pain medication stops keeping up with the pain.

He lives his life on a day-by-day basis.

“I want to spend as much time as possible with my wife, and no decent son wants his obituary to read that he was survived by his mother,” he said.

Young announced his decision during a special screening of the 2007 documentary “Body of War” Sunday at the Alamo Drafthouse Mainstreet. The screening was held to celebrate the life of the Kansas City veteran.

Young, who had planned to attend, said he was unable to go because of recurring nausea. Instead he appeared by Internet .

Young said the decision grew out of the love he has for his wife, Claudia Cuellar, and how he would miss her .

“I don’t want her to go through what I know she is going to have to go through when I’m gone,” he said.

He said the media interest in his decision to end his life made him realize that Cuellar and his mother would bear the brunt of questioning about his death.

“I figured I would spend as much time as I can dealing with that so they don’t have to or are more comfortable and ready to deal with it when they do,” Young said.

Young had been in Iraq less than a week when, on April 4, 2004, he and other soldiers were wounded while in the back of an open-air truck in a rescue convoy outside Baghdad. He was 24 years old.

When he returned home, he became an activist against the Iraq war.

He was interviewed on “60 Minutes” and became the subject of “Body of War,” which was produced by Phil Donahue. Musician Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam was inspired by Young to compose songs for the film.

The documentary dealt with the congressional debate over the war resolution and took an unflinching look at Young’s daily medical trials.

In March, Young told The Kansas City Star that that he was preparing to die and that he would refuse nourishment, water and life-extending medication.

His friends and family understood.

Young said he changed his mind after his first wedding anniversary on April 20.

“As much time as I can have with him I want to have,” Cuellar said. “But if it’s too painful for him, whenever he feels for him that he’s ready to go, I will be ready whenever he’s ready. As long as I can keep him and he’s comfortable, that would be really nice.”

Young said Monday that he remains at home under hospice care. He said he’s doing fairly well.

“Some days I have good days,” Young said. “Some days I have bad days, just like everybody else. My bad days are worse than most people’s.”

 

3.5 ·
1
What's Next
Trending Today
Who Are You? Watching This Breathtaking Video Could Be the Moment You Change Your Life
2 min · 30,136 views today · "Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need so you can...
How to Criticize with Kindness: Philosopher Daniel Dennett on the Four Steps to Arguing Intelligently
Maria Popova · 14,646 views today · “Just how charitable are you supposed to be when criticizing the views of an opponent?”
When You Kill Ten Million Africans You Aren't Called 'Hitler'
Liam O'Ceallaigh · 14,373 views today · Take a look at this picture. Do you know who it is? Most people haven’t heard of him. But you should have. When you see his face or hear his name you should get as sick in...
10 Shocking Facts About Society That We Absurdly Accept As Normal
Joe Martino · 13,182 views today · When you take a moment and look around at the world, things can appear pretty messed up. Take 5 or 10 minutes and watch the 6 o’clock news. Chances are, the entire time, all...
What It Really Means to Hold Space for Someone
Heather Plett · 8,937 views today · How to be there for the people who need you most
Welcome to Marinaleda: The Spanish Anti-Capitalist Town With Equal Wage Full Employment and $19 Housing
Jade Small · 8,864 views today · With virtually no police, crime or unemployment, meet the Spanish town described as a democratic, socialist utopia. Unemployment is non-existent in Marinaleda, an Andalusian...
Caitlin Moran's Posthumous Advice for Her Daughter
Caitlin Moran · 7,669 views today · My daughter is about to turn 13 and I’ve been smoking a lot recently, and so – in the wee small hours, when my lungs feel like there’s a small mouse inside them, scratching to...
Forest Man
16 min · 5,665 views today · Since the 1970's Majuli islander Jadav Payeng has been planting trees in order to save his island. To date he has single handedly planted a forest larger than Central Park NYC...
The International Criminal Court May Start Prosecuting People Who Commit Crimes Against the Environment
Tara Smith · 5,643 views today · The International Criminal Court is not known for prosecuting people responsible for huge oil slicks, chopping down protected rainforests or contaminating pristine land. But...
Rap News Special Edition: Hillary Clinton Vs Donald Trump
7 min · 4,977 views today · Hello world. RAP NEWS is back for a special episode on the 2016 USA Election mayhem, feat. Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump + a touch of Jill Stein & Gary Johnson. This one's...
Humanity's Greatest Challenges Aren't Technical, They're Human
8 min · 4,884 views today · Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is incomplete as we commonly know it. Later in his life, Maslow wrote about a stage beyond self-actualization. Nichol Brandford explains how to...
Ten Ways We Misunderstand Children
Jan Hunt · 4,031 views today · 1. We expect children to be able to do things before they are ready. We ask an infant to keep quiet. We ask a 2-year-old to sit still. We ask a 3-year-old to clean his room...
10 Photos That Show the Magnificent Light Shining on Standing Rock
Josue Rivas · 3,002 views today · Despite all the news of pipeline regulation, court appeals, and activist arrests, Native photographer Josue Rivas reminds us that it is actually a peaceful place.
The Journey From Syria (2016)
71 min · 2,782 views today · Reporter Matthew Cassel spent a year documenting the journey of Syrian jeweler Aboud Shalhoub as he travels from Turkey to Greece, and through Eastern Europe to the Netherlands...
American Cartel: How America's Two Major Parties Helped Destroy Democracy
Frank Castro · 2,713 views today · Cartel: An association of manufacturers or suppliers with the purpose of maintaining prices at a high level and restricting competition.
Alan Watts: What If Money Was No Object?
3 min · 2,475 views today · How do you like to spend your life? What do you desire? What if money didn't matter? What if money was no object? What would you like to do if money were no object? Spoken...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 1,812 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
A Woman Who Makes This Statement Today Needs Revolutionary Courage
Sabine Lichtenfels · 1,738 views today · I want to live in a community with men and women, with children, animals and plants so that I am not continually forced to hide my actual being from the others. Perception and...
The Culture of Maximum Harm
Daniel Quinn · 1,652 views today · People have lived many different ways on this planet, but about ten thousand years ago there appeared one people who believed everyone in the world should live a single...
“You Can Have Your Weak Nominee If You Wish” – the Sanders Endorsement Backfires on Hillary Clinton, Empowers Sanders in One Masterstroke
Saib Bilaval · 1,452 views today · Ultimately, what the Sanders endorsement has proved is what the candidate was arguing from the beginning – that it was not Sanders and his campaign that was holding Hillary...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Tomas Young, Wounded Iraq War Vet, says He Will Live on for Now