I just talked to him a few days ago… he wasn’t returning any of my phone calls since I’d been back from Mexico, but that’s nothing new. He has been so hard to get a hold of these past few months, he admitted to only checking his voicemail once a week. I would often call him and go to leave a message only to find his mailbox was full.
I know he likes his privacy and all… and he’s FULL of pride, he’s too proud to ask for help when he really needs it sometimes. I hate to feel like I’m pestering him, but damn it, I genuinely love the man and I want to be sure he’s healthy and comfortable. Just so long as I know he’s at home, I feel like he’s alright.
Perhaps it’s the Pisces in us both… but I see so many similarities in both of us. Some bad, but mostly good, I’m truly blessed to have such a true soulmate. We are most certainly related, but our relationship extended beyond that of what we both know “family” to be. While we may not have the most profound idea of what “family life” is, we make up our own rules, we love each other in a way that we both can understand without having to define it…
We “get” each other.
We both certainly appreciate what we have… because we have both lived out many days alone and unsupported by our kin during some of the best decisions either of us have made in our lives. He’s a visionary, a dreamer, a “big-thinker”, much like I fancy myself… but his experience and wisdom are of the admirable, beyond any comparison of anyone I’ve ever known.
That’s not to say that he takes his own advice as well as he can give it…
Again, showing me how much more alike we are than any other in our family.
He screens his calls, much like myself… but yesterday afternoon, in between jobs, I checked my voicemail when I noticed my cousin,his daughter, had called… she doesn’t typically call me unless she’s coming down to see me in a few days, or if she has come to see us recently…
I wasn’t scared, but…
I finally got a hold of him when he was in his hospital bed for the 4th day. He must have been admitted when I was just getting back from my vacation. I tried and tried to call him, daily even. I hadn’t seen him in weeks, and after we have built our relationship to the point its at now, I felt like something was missing from my life not hanging out and “doing our thing”. He’d left me a very somber message… a message that made me think something big was in the horizon… and that “something” was not good news…
On the four day of trying to contact him, he finally answers to tell me he’s bed-ridden, but he should be going home soon. He doesn’t really say what the ultimate factor of his reason for the extended hospital stay, whether he’d pulled his back again, or if he’d collapsed, or any other tragedy… when I asked him what time would be good to come visit him, he implied that he didn’t care much for visitors since he felt obligated to entertain… and there’s not much entertaining to be done from a hospital bed.
I convinced him to agree to let me visit, even if it was for just a short while.
I made my way to the hospital a few hours later to find that his former girlfriend and long time friend was just on her way out. She had tears in her eyes, and a quiver in her voice.
“It’s not good. I was rubbing on his back, and he’s just skin and bones…”
She went on to tell me I should be contacting my cousin and uncle, his daughter and brother, and staying in touch with them…
She seemed as though she had an intuition that bad things were afoot.
I had to find out for myself.
I’d gone upstairs and found his room, a nurse was drawing more blood just as I was arriving. Just before she applied the newer I.V., he has greeted me his a standard smile and a hug.
I watched him wince in pain as the nurse dug around for a vein…
We spoke about life, and how things had been since we last saw each other. He was obviously in poor health, despite his alertness and coherence…
I knew there was something very bad wrong… but I saw no point in giving him a barrage of questions about his status… I was much more interested in everything else going on in his life at the time.
I’d get to that awful stuff soon enough…
We chatted briefly, he was showing an interest what I’d been doing over the course of the last few weeks that we’d been out of contact, and we had some other generic conversation. I finally began asking questions about the hospital, and the staff and his treatment.
He was pleased with the nurse…
but nothing else.
I attempted to learn why he was here exactly, and when he expected to be home.
He was incredibly elusive and vague… I took it as a sign to not press the issue and be pushy. He’s a big boy, he can take care of himself…
Or can he?
After a few more questions and light conversation, I tried to maintain a jovial air about our communications but it wasn’t easy… I was extremely concerned with his health and took the fact that he wasn’t in a place where he was ready to talk about it as a very… very… bad sign.
After he made it clear that he was ready to be alone again, and he wasn’t comfortable with me sitting there in my silent thoughts. I told him that I loved him, and that if he needed me for anything… anything at all, I’m only a phone call away.
As I walked down the hall of the hospital, I had realized… that I’m going to have to be strong. I choked back a few tears at the thought of never seeing him, or hearing his voice that had become my rock of wisdom again…
These next few months were going to take Courage.
Lots of it.
I called him the next day, just to check up and see if he’d learned anything more about the extent of his stay and his diagnosis. He proceeded to tell me he received a blood transfusion, which… I thought to be strange.
“That’s a pretty big deal… why are they doing that?”
“I don’t know,” he replied “the nurse said the same thing.”
I’m no doctor… but I know that blood is a scarce and precious commodity. Particularly with all the blood drives and donor programs that are here in “The Dirty South”. For him to be receiving some of this precious blood… well…
Something horrible must be going on.
He proceeded to tell me he was going to be going home soon and that he’d be in touch.
I’d considered calling his daughter, but until I had more to tell her, I didn’t think it would have much conversational value..
I had went on about my life, and two days later, I got the call from HER.
I guess she was having the same feelings I was about it all. She’s a very intelligent woman, and I like her personality very much, we hit it off great and I always enjoy the time we spend together. She was saying many of the thoughts I’d been having, and I found it comforting to learn that my feelings were shared by her even before I had conveyed them.
She went on to tell me that she and my Uncle were coming down from “Midwest” next week, and we were going to have to sit down as a family, and find out the answers to all our questions.
We might not be the ideal nuclear family,
But all you need is Love…
To me, that’s what TRUE family is all about.
While I was doing my bar-tending gig atop The Watch overlooking my favorite shoreline, on a BEAUTIFUL Tuesday sunset, I had my cell phone blowing UP in my pocket. I had missed 6 called in a matter of about 90 minutes. I couldn’t answer because I was very busy, sunsets are our peak time upstairs on the 3rd floor outside bar.
One of the calls was from a local number that I’d never seen before.
Typically, I don’t answer my phone from numbers I don’t recognize. I figure, if they don’t leave a message… then it must not be important.
Upon waking up this morning, and having a look at my phone calls that I’ve been missing… I couldn’t help but to wonder who that could have been. Someone calling me back because they didn’t recognize MY number? Perhaps one of my Pizza customers that I’d called to get better directions to? Could it be the bank calling about my auto loan?
Something was hankering me to call it back… I rarely do that, particularly without having a message to respond to. I’m not sure why… but I just had to.
It turns out, that it was a gentleman calling from the hospital. He was some kind of counselor calling me to touch base. I guess my name was listed as part of a “support network”…
Things started to make a lot more sense all the sudden.
He went on to tell me exactly what my Uncle was not able to tell me himself.
All I could do was talk in circles to try and cope with the news I’d just heard… I left like a tire that had just gone flat, my gut empty with air, but tight as a drum…
He went on to give me some contact information about some kind of hospice style program that he’d enrolled in, and upon calling the number and speaking with the representative of “The Blue Team”, I was told that I would soon be receiving a phone call from the nurse assigned to Uncle Jim’s case.
I was fidgety as hell, I couldn’t sit still… it’s a trait that all of us on this side of our family share, particularly the males… when we have bad news or tragedy strike and there is nothing we can do in the present tense, we jump up and do SOMETHING.
I recall Grandpa jumping up to vacuum the floor of the apartment he was living in when his brother finally died of Polio about 10 years ago… and my uncle, himself, pacing the floor, making erratic plans and phone calls, unable to contain himself with all the energy generated from the circumstance.
I began cleaning my room… doing laundry… thinking… waiting for the call… thinking… waiting…
Just as I was taking care of some of my paperwork that I’d been putting off… I heard a SHATTERING noise not 2 feet away from where I sat.
Trigger had gotten up and rubbed up again the famous glass SOBE bottle that I keep my coinage in. I change the bottle from time to time, it was once ENERGY flavor, for a long time it was KARMA, then it was DRIVE…
I had kept this new bottle in my car after I’d cashed in all my change trying to scrape up enough money to buy my plane ticket to Mexico, and had finally brought it inside just last night around 3am when I’d gotten home. I’d forgotten it in my car for over 2 weeks, and finally brought it in… I’d also moved my Curl Bar, with it’s weights still mounted, a little more out of the way so that I could vacuum a few days earlier…
Such a strange and uncommon string of circumstances all tied together like that…
It wasn’t very long after I’d made the last phone call that the SHATTER occurred.
Trigger looked down at the floor with an apologetic look on her face…
She’d pushed off the nearly empty change bottle off the desk and right onto my Curl Bar, causing it is bust into a million pieces.
I was concerned about her jumping down and landing in the busted glass, so I grabbed her and moved her off my secondary desk and onto the floor to safety. It was at that point that I realized the oddity of all that had happened this morning.
The new SOBE change bottle happened to be “COURAGE”.
And the COURAGE had been SHATTERED.
But mine hasn’t.
I am stronger than I’ve ever been in my life at this very moment, and it’s been in large part of the wide variety of revelations I’ve had about how this world functions and operates and what energy promotes growth and what energies promote decay.
I have much to learn… but I do know now that I can stay the course, and my unshakable self-confidence in my own ability becomes more and more reinforced everyday with the love that I receive from those I care about, and the joy I spread in the world.
I am a man now,
and there’s no going back.