Life Has a Way of Smacking You Right in the Face

Folks…  Let me tell you something.  I am one of the most optimistic people you will ever meet.  I try not to allow the evils of the world get to me, I strive to be positive and above all, try and keep the people around me positive as well.  A little over 16 years ago, I went into a deep depression that I never thought I would emerge from, yet I overcame it after several years of more difficulty.  I went through hell, including a bought with poverty, making bad decisions, losing the respect and love of my own child, divorcing the ONE woman that gets me, and of course being laid off from three jobs in less than two years.  I had finally come out of the darkness about 4 years ago and was in a good place.  I was happy, I was stable, and for the first time in a long time I did not worry about money.  Recent events have occurred that have tested my psyche, my mental stability, my emotional well being, and above all, threatened to break the positivity that I have worked hard at for four years . 

First, the week of Thanksgiving I experienced what I thought was symptoms of a stroke, which may turn into a pinched nerve (Jury is still out).  I spent two days in the hospital, one of which was half of Thanksgiving Day, not knowing what was wrong with me.  I had a relatively good Christmas, despite my family lecturing me on my health, my eating habits, and the lack of exercise in my life.  I was experiencing some back pain and could not sit in the “designated” chair that was provided for me so I would not break any of the other furniture in the home sue to my girth.  So as you can probably imagine, I came home with GREAT self esteem, and hopes for a long, healthy life. 

January was pretty uneventful, I immersed myself in work, the NFL, NCAA, and planned my day for Super Bowl Sunday.  I had bought a large pack of wings and was going to prepare and cook them for the game, but I received a text from my ex, stating that she needed to go to the ER.  She was experiencing pain in her gut, and thought that she was battling a case of diverticulitis.  I dropped everything and took her to the ER.  There, I stayed with her all day, not because I had to, but because I wanted to.   You see, despite not being together anymore, she is still the only woman in the world that still understands me, that loves me for who I am, and despite the fact we could never be together again, was there for me when I was in the hospital not two months earlier.  The game didn’t matter, the wings didn’t matter, all that mattered was her, and there wasn’t a place in the world I would rather be than by her side offering support and care as best I could.  We ended up being there until after 10pm, we had a late dinner, finished watching the game, and I took her home.  It was a good day, despite the health issues, and I was glad to have been there for her.

This past week was when the straw that has the potential to break me finally came.  My family is who I lean on when times get rough.  I know that if I need advice on life, on direction, or on basically anything, I can pick up the phone and call the family for support and strength, tough love and simple advice.  One of those people was my cousin Bryan.  He is a retired Marine, a pillar of strength, and can provide a dose of reality that would smack you right across the face, if necessary.  He is the most level headed, stubborn, and in your face realist that I have ever known.  He is an avid dart player, a pool shark and caregiver to his 80+ year-old father, who had to bury his wife, my mothers sister, just 14 months ago.  Super Bowl Sunday, while I was standing by the side of the love of my life, he was taken to the hospital with severe back pain, and while he was there, had a stroke, debilitating him, and causing the doctors and nurses to scramble to figure out what had gone wrong.  it was then they discovered he had several blood clots in his brain, and quite possibly his kidneys.

The last update I received was from my mother on Monday, and up until Friday night had not heard anything.  I assumed he was ok, and that he would come out of it and would see him again. 
I went to bed before 9pm on Friday night (Don’t @ me, I’m old) and unbeknownst to me, my phone was in Airplane Mode.  Saturday morning I awoke to Facebook IM’s from the ex, stating that my mother had called her because she was unable to get hold of me.  I grabbed my phone, realizing that it was in airplane mode and discovered several messages form my mom, my father and Bryan’s brother stating that Bryan has passed away Friday night at 8:10 pm.  Without going into too much detail, let me just say this was a punch in the gut.  I have been through the death of family members before, but most, if not all, have been due to old age.  My mother’s family has a legacy of long life, with most living well into their 80’s or 90’s.  Bryan was 59, still young and with so much more to do in life, so this one hurts and could very well be a wake up call for me and my lifestyle.  Bryan wasn’t overweight, in fact he weighed more than 100 pounds less than I am right now, he was active, he was strong, and he was in control of his life and focused on the important things. 

I miss him dearly.  I can’t imagine the pain his father, his brother and his sister are experiencing right now, but all I have to compare it to is how I am feeling right now.  I am empty, I am heartbroken, and I don’t know how long it will take for me to get over this.  He was a mentor, he was a brother, and he was a friend, and I loved him very deeply.  His passing has hit me harder than the loss of my grandmother, uncle, aunt (his mother) and even my father.  I will get through this, but for now, I am sad and hurting….. feelings I don’t imagine will leave me anytime in the near future.  Thanks for reading…  and please keep me and my family in your prayers at this difficult time.

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