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Rob Komosa by Robert A. Clifford, Senior Partner, Clifford Law Offices

It is with great sadness that I heard about the death of Rob Komosa, a young man who died at the age of 30.  After 13 years, apparently even the breathing machines could no longer help his lungs handle the work.  He was one of my clients years ago, one of those people who makes an impact on you without even trying.I remember one of the first meetings with Rob was when he was in Northwestern Hospital’s Rehabilitation Institute, a terribly tragic case that left Rob paralyzed from the neck down.  An ill-timed double hit by his own football teammates at a practice tackled him into an unpadded concrete post that was just five feet from the sideline at Rolling Meadows High School.  The pole was immediately moved further from the field.Seeing Rob was always uplifting as he never wanted you to feel sorry for him.  He came to accept his permanent state of paralysis, learning to maneuver his wheelchair through the magic of technology and blowing through a straw.  He even learned to “type” on a computer and it is sad to see his website still under construction.  A link to one of his favorite sites, the Chicago Bears, headings such as his“Hobbies and Interests,” his “Charitable Causes,” his “Future,” all left unfinished.Over the years I followed Rob and how he touched others, trying to help fellow quadriplegics permanently hurt in athletic accidents.  I saw how he was able to dedicate time to this purpose in his life after my law firm secured for him a settlement from District 214.  The family was able to buy a handicapped-accessible home that Rob helped design and, for the first time since his paralysis, Rob’s mom was able to sleep in a “real” bed, not on the sofa or floor beside him, so she could be close by when he needed care in the middle of the night.  Requiring round-the-clock attention, his dedicated mother also as grateful because she could then afford some of the machines that would help her with some of life’s necessities – feeding, changing and dressing him.  Never wanting to assign those tasks to a stranger, his mother accepted the task of taking care of her son and found the joy in the moments they would have together, knowing that one day it may end.His mother never seemed to tire taking care of the young boy she and her husband brought to America, along with their daughter, for a better life. Rob’s dad died years ago of a broken heart, unable to help his son like he had hoped when they came here from their native Poland.  Never did she dream such a life for her strapping six-foot-four-inch son, as she saw him wither before her eyes over the years, dreading that horrible fate of perhaps a parent burying her child one day.That sad day came in March, as a community will gather to remember the life of Rob Komosa, the week before Easter.  Oftentimes it was Rob’s deep faith in God that got him through his darkest moments and helped him to find the joy in life itself.Ten years after the fateful incident, he spoke about how sometimes in his dreams he sees himself walking only to wake up and realize it was not meant to be.  “As soon as I wake up, I see that I’m in my room, that I’m still paralyzed, wishing that I could kind of go back to my dreams,” he told a reporter, without even a hint of anger, just wistfulness.  Now Rob is able to walk tall knowing that his life made an impact, although much different than the one he surely envisioned, but one that touched so many people in so many ways.  There is a special place in heaven for souls like his.  May God rest his.

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