In Spite of It All

I’m not sure about the future. It is safe to say that the government has become so contentious that “We, The People” have become mere pawns inMe 20120807 political games. All this going on leaves me with no foundation on which to stand on other issues. What are those issues?

1. My finances were put in jeopardy over a personal issue I won’t divulge more of at the moment. Safe to say I know I can and will overcome it IF the government can get their act together.

2. Buying into the “Affordable Healthcare” system. Now there’s a can of worms. Libby has not had any coverage for two years. She can’t afford it. The only good side to that is she’s a very healthy woman and requires only her yearly health checkup. She pays everything “out of pocket”.

3. This is the most heartbreaking issue of all. My brother, Mike, was once a strapping three hundred pound man who could handle most every situation with ease. He was a heavy duty man for heavy duty work. He drove long-haul trucks, heavy equipment and had settled down in one place as a site supervisor over the burying of coal ash from power plants in the Virginia, North Carolina area. He nows weighs 180 pounds and constantly in pain. He takes medication powerful enough to kill some men.

I suppose this last issue is more imposing on me than any other, making them miniscule compared to it. Impending death trumps most any issue in life. I like to listen to music while I type sometimes and thought for some reason to listen to Blind Melon. Then I realized it was Shannon Hoon. He died by way of suicide. How tragic from someone who made some pretty good music.

But, I ran off on a rabbit trail. This period of time has made me become emotional again. Let me ramble for a bit. Please? My mind goes several different directions, depending on my self-diagnosed ADHD. I have no real enduring attention span. That’s pretty evident here.

I shall try to get back to my purpose for this post.

I am the oldest of five brothers. I’ll be 63 the 25th of this month 2013. I’ve lived many years through one trial to another with some pretty good moments smattered in between them. I consider the trials character building times in life that can be effectively used in later life to make overcoming issues much easier.

I expected my parents to pass on before me, but not at such young ages in today’s standards. My mom died at 63 or so in 1999 and my dad died at 60 in 1990. They were in poor health. Dad died of congestive heart failure and mom by way of an abdominal aortic aneurysm. She had a stroke previously and that’s when they found the aneurysm. I firmly believe the medical community sentenced her to a death by telling her it was inoperable. An aneurysm to me isn’t inoperable. She was declared indigent. That’s why she was told such a thing.

The reality of life came more in 2002 when I got word that my brother Timmy had committed suicide. He put a shotgun in his mouth and blew his head off. I’ll not say anything more graphic than that. Depression is an evil demon. I know. Firsthand. I did not know a lot of the details, but he was doing the best he could. I hope those who read this can understand the human nature of the want to be free of pain and depression. He’d been injured several years earlier and had chronic neck pain that left him embroiled in agony. After mom died he became reclusive and lived in the old home place where he was in over his head debt from he and mom trying to remodel the house. He was disabled and could not work and he sought no financial relief. He lived in the house without power or water for months on end with no communications outside of his local contacts. His medication at some point was cut off because he couldn’t pay for it. He turned to growing marijuana. He was smart, though. He’d grow it over a large area in very small plots so as to not be detected by overhead surveillance. He was not a seller. He only wanted it to ease his own pain. It was his self prescribed medication. Finally all came to a head and he decide to take his life. I’d lost a younger brother.

In 2006 I was leaving work and was just clearing the staff entrance at work when my phone rang. It was Karen. Danny’s wife. She was in tears. Danny had died of a heart attack. He was 54. He had a stroke at 34 and had been disabled from that time from Civil Service. During this time he’d managed to live as best he could, but as with dad he succumbed to congestive heart failure. During his last years he rode his four-wheeler over 25,000 acres of cotton fields collecting boll weevil traps or delivering papers. He did whatever he could to make ends meet. He was still playing his music with a country western band when he could. Brother number two was gone.

Mike has now been battling cancer for over a year now. The first of this year the doctors didn’t think he’d live past spring this year, but here it is October. He’s fought hard and has kept his sanity in the process, but outside entities don’t make it easy. The hospice who delivers his pain meds to him at his home found out he had a settlement from a lawsuit with his previous employer and they decided they wouldn’t deliver anymore till he signed over the entire amount to them. He refused. I don’t blame him. Maybe he should take Tim’s cue, eh? I’m not one to break laws, but desperation has it’s on course in life. He had thought at one time this hospital called “The Cancer Treatment Center” would take him. Trouble is, they don’t want you without insurance. No charity in this hospital. I’ve listened to them and the only thing they seem to deliver outside of ordinary courses of treatment are hype. He could get the same treatment in his own area hospital, if they had a heart to realize sick people need care. He is disabled and is eligible for care. I feel extremely bad for him. Lib and I will likely take a trip up to see him on my birthday next week. I also feel for Debbie. She’s a nurse and in some ways that doesn’t help, because she’s more aware of the ramifications of his diagnosis, treatment and prognosis. She knows the physical signs and such. I pray for her as well. They had planned on marrying, but cancer cancelled those plans. I’m afraid that all too soon I’ll have lost brother number three.

That leaves only the youngest brother Jamie (Tad). I’ll have to risk saying this, but I’m always concerned for his health. He claims for his lifestyle he’s considered an old man at 44. He’s the only brother who could possibly outlive me.

In all I’ve brothers that I love and loved. I sometimes wonder why I’m still as healthy as I am. I’m not immune to the ailments of people my age. I guess I’ve taken after my mom’s side of the family. Her mom and dad almost made it to 80. All her sisters with exception of one lived to ripe old ages and Aunt Doris is still kicking it at 87. She’s fought off cancer twice while seeing two of her children succumb to cancer. She lost the youngest son to an accident and her first husband to a heart ailment. Her second husband has also passed on, but she’s very enduring. She’s my only connection to at large family on mom’s side. Oh, of course there’s Martha and Wanda her daughters.

Dad’s side of the family is still around this area of the world. His sister and her husband live in Morehead City. There are cousins still around. I don’t feel I’m giving my thoughts full explanation here, but to say I’ve missed family over the years.

Between my former wife and church I was kept busy. So busy I had no time for my family, although I was led off to my former wife’s family functions most anytime during 37 years of marriage. I lost track of my own family and friends. Facebook may seem to be the bane of some or a lot of people. I don’t know for sure, but it has led me back to my roots. I’ve quite a list of friends from back in my youth. I don’t intend to lose them. They are my connection to sanity just as Libby is. Ah, Libby. I can’t write anything without including her. She makes me smile.

One things a surety. Faith in God. He’s always seen me through. In my mid-fifties I was dying slowly. Dying slowly of perhaps mid-life crisis. Maybe unresolved issues with church and family. I don’t know. I just know I would likely be in worse health now if not for the change of paths in my latter 50’s. God blessed me with a much better position at work, Libby making my life more sane and old and new-found friends. He also saw fit for Lib and me to find a new church family. I thank God for this new life. I know He’s taking care of us, in spite of what gets thrown at us.

About Jim

I'm a 72 yr old guy, who had worked in Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune for 28 yrs and now retired as of 31 Dec 16. I've worked in medical records, Health Benefits Department, Billing, the IT department and retired as the Personnel Security Manager for the hospital. I'm a musician and Corvette enthusiast. Yes, I have had two. I traded my second Corvette for a Harley Davidson Fat Boy mid-summer 2019. I've already ridden about seven thousand miles. I'm also searching for a fresh new outlook on life with new spiritual insight among other things. I was ordained a minister on 20190202. I've become certified with the American Chaplaincy Association through Aidan University in June '21. I've found that with the unconditional love of my companion, Libby Rowe life is complete through God. She's a beautiful, vibrant, giving woman who gives her all in everything she puts her mind to do. She and I married on 24 July 2015. She was ordained in February 2022. She has a blog too called Under a Carolina Moon. Give it a visit.
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2 Responses to In Spite of It All

  1. territerri says:

    I was just thinking yesterday how life is so cruel. We can look around at other people, couples, families and we think we see people who have it all figured out. But life is not perfect for anyone. There is always the fear of some tragedy around the corner. Life is full of battles. I often have to remind myself that no one has it perfect. All we can do is try to notice the good things that are sprinkled in among all the muck. You’ve endured a lot of heartache and I’m so sorry for that. But you inspire me to look for and appreciate the good things in life. Thank you!

  2. Jim says:

    In spite of the reality of the post, it is meant in the end to say I can overcome and succeed no matter what is thrown at me. The same goes for anyone. I’m glad I could inspire you to look for the good things in life.

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