On January 13, 2013, I did a blog posting about a young graduate student here at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who had had a diving accident in the summer of 2011 and sustained a high spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed. Craig Schuff was a graduate student in nuclear engineering. I alerted readers to Craig’s blog, “Broken Cord,” which is Craig’s own narrative of his everyday lived experience in rehabilitation and getting back to his life as a graduate student after the injury. In a newspaper article from that time, the reporter referred to his blog as “searing and eloquent.” Exactly right.
Craig’s postings are also gut-wrenching as they reveal his day-to-day life-experiences after the diving accident. As he wrote in his blog, “The reality of it strikes me every day. . . The frailty of my existence; the utter dependence on other people for basic survival; the hours and hours burned every day for the sake of the few that are left over . . . What I was and what I did means something, but . . . I can only be who I am in this moment, in this light.”
I met with Craig twice as I worked on my posting back in January of 2013. I wanted to make sure what I wrote was acceptable to him. He turned the tables on me and paid me a high compliment: “You’re a good writer.”
Craig Schuff died last month, October 24, still working toward his doctoral degree, still managing to pursue his everyday life, still striving to live “in this moment, in this light.” His mother described him as having had an “unusual combination of the mind of an engineer and the soul of a poet.”
Rest in peace, Craig. Rest in peace.