Smiling Through A Downward Spiral


6 months ago, life was great. The Bug of mass delivery was loud and beat up, but she ran well, the Pizza Man jobs and the bartending part time was FUN, I actually enjoyed showing up to work everyday.  Living in the same place for 2 years that I have countless awesome memories of… I was focused on becoming a better person, and living a more fulfilling life… in these times I got to go to Mexico, I went to Ft. Lauderdale for a great motivational seminar, I had tons girls calling me, I was in shape, I was really getting into Yoga class a few times a week, I even started reading a book, something I hadn’t done in years!

But I digress…

My Uncle Jim had been battling cancer for about 5 years, when it suddenly turned for the worst. He had been doing so well, living everyday with positivity and passion, although plagued with worry as a result of his illness and money issues stemming from his lack of resources after having to spend much of his assets on treatments.

Uncle Jim was the only family I had here… and I was all he had too.

I had lived with Jim a few times before, and he is NOT an easy person to co-habitate with… 

  • he’s sloppy
  • he’s arrogant
  • he’s opinionated
  • he’s particular
  • he’s unfair
  • he’s EXPENSIVE….

But he’s family. 

I loved him anyway….  maybe not always with a smile on my face, but I never forgot how much I cared about him and what he meant to me. I had offered to move in with him a few times… after I had noticed he was having troubles with the simple things… like standing up and going to the kitchen to get his coffee in the morning, or going outside to get his newspaper. He would politely acknowledge my offer, but would not accept it, he was a very independent sort, always doing it HIS WAY, whatever the “it” may have been.

We would share our lives with each other as we watched the local football team play the away games on Sundays. Occasionally, he would take me to the home games with him to sit in his posh “club level” seasion tickets.  When we would watch from home, it was on the Big Screen with Surround sound in his “TV Room”, where I had countless milestones of my like take place, we’d share in the cooking duties, grill up some steaks and he would help me perfect the recipe for the most INCREDIBLE mashed potatoes you’ll ever have in your life. It was a time that I’ll never forget, and that I’m truly blessed to have experienced.

When I had gotten back from Mexico… I called Jim to check on him, as I was growing more and more concerned at his health. Despite him blowing off the warnings of illness and his “tough guy” exterior, I knew there was more to the story… yet he was a proud man, and I respected that if he really wanted me to know, he would tell me.

I was wondering alone around downtown, getting my hick, shit-heel town born ass “cultured”, taking advantage of “free museum day”, hitting all the key museums that I had never been to before, yet always wanted to go.  I’ve lived in the area for 7 1/2 years…

I was slightly overdue.

While I was on the phone, Jim had FINALLY answered my call and told me some news…

This time…

he was in the hospital 

In light of his cheery-sounding attitude, I could tell that something was not right… and I actually had a sensation of fear pass over me.

While Jim has always an inspiration to ALWAYS be in the best mood possible,

You can’t bullshit a bullshitter.

I went to visit him that evening… and upon leaving, I actually got choked up for a minute. He told me they were giving him a blood transfusion of some kind and he had no idea why.


If you are receiving blood, there is a DAMN good reason for it… I understood that he didn’t want to worry his beloved, though his elusive commentary did little to set me at ease.

It wasn’t long after that, I had met his new in-home care staff. There was a social-worker and a Hospice nurse that were assigned to Jim, and they had talked to me about the possibility of moving in to be with him in the evenings to give care when needed.

It took a team of nurses, and a hospital bed and incurable Stage 4 cancer for him to finally agree to me moving in,

inversely, it took the same to get me to live with him again…

I knew it wouldn’t be easy,

but it was SO worth it.


It’s funny how angry I would get at him for being so difficult and selfish at times… how resentful I was of him not understanding my situation the last time I lived with him… I never stopped loving him, but working for him and living with him were two of the hardest things I’d ever done in my life, we clashed in all the wrong ways…

Yet… now…

due to circumstances…

None of that mattered.

I’m glad I got to spend those last few months of his life with him…

it took me to quit 2 of my 3 jobs, and drop to part-time at the one left to make him happy with the care I was able to offer, and I had to sacrifice a few parties and fun nights with friends… but I wouldn’t change a thing. 

With that being said…

Now that its almost all over…  the “Three Wishes” granted, the economic hit I took from not working those months, and the house that is soon to be “disposed of”…

I feel like I lost myself.  I lost a handle on who I am, and what I want from life.

Jim was a HUGE source of inspiration and motivation for me… and I literally watched my Hero fall apart at times, only to bring it all back together and make it through another day.

Times have been hard since he left… my car has broken down, costing THOUSANDS of dollars I JUST DON’T HAVE right now… My future living situation uncertain once Jim’s house is sold next month, debts continue to pile up around me and grow, I just lost my new “Boiler Service Technician” job today…

Yet at the end of this wild ride, I’m still full of excitement, with my hands in the air and a great big grin on my face.

I walked out of the job I was “let go” of, wishing everyone well, thinking about the application I put in to the Pizza place last night after I left school. I am completely convinced that it was for the best, the job was draining me of my Being, preventing me from getting back in shape, staying out late with friends, Yoga, and just plain happiness and job satisfaction.

As I got in my car, I smiled at the Grand Epiphany I had over 3 years ago… that has been something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately… it was in that moment it hit me…

“I’ll always be ok.”

Just look at me now.  Covered in lifes SHIT, slipping and sliding in a downward spiral…

With a great big grin.


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