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Photo of Teddy PENDERGRASS

Source: Leon Morris / Getty

Teddy Pendergrass was on top of the world throughout the 70’s and 80’s. He was widely known as the R&B singer who women threw their panties at whenever he performed.

A true sex symbol in the eyes of the public…then it all came crashing down March 18, 1982, when the brakes on his Rolls-Royce failed, causing the car to hit a metal guardrail, cross into oncoming traffic, and ram into a tree. Once the smoke settled, Pendergrass suffered a broken neck, a crushed spinal cord, and damage to vital nerves. He was unconscious for eight days and, when he regained consciousness, he learned that he was paralyzed and would be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

So it got to a point where Pendergrass couldn’t handle his new condition and was ready to check out of here by committing suicide, an act that some would consider to be a ‘sin.’ He revealed in his 1998 autobiography, Truly Blessed, that he tried very hard to convince his then-wife, Karen to do him one last favor. He asked Karen to kill him by giving him an overdose of sleeping pills, probably because he couldn’t get the pills inside of his mouth himself. Of course his wife denied his request and Teddy P. continued to suffer severe depression and insomnia for years after the accident.

Pendergrass said “We cried and decided that wouldn’t be the best thing to do.” He credited Karen with helping him “through a lot of hard times.”

Oftentimes when life throws us curve balls, as long as we’re still breathing after being hit by them, we always know things could be worse. It’s all about standing on the outside of our situation and asking ourselves a simple question: ‘What is it that I have?’ Once we’re clear on that, we then understand our starting point and can ultimately figure out how to take a step from point A to point B and beyond. Teddy P. did just that. He eventually dug his way out of a depression that almost took his life and he went on to continue his life’s work. Job well done Teddy P…rest well.

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