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Need to vent, some prayers please

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Beef03, Sep 16, 2006.

  1. Beef03

    Beef03 Active Member

    My uncle is a fire fighter in Florida. He has always looked out for everyone before himself, always helped even without being asked. In my eyes he's one of the greatest people I have ever known. I mean his job is saving lives. For the longest time he never had any steady relationships, not because he was hideous or a dick or anything, mostly because I think he was kind of shy and not the most socially outgoing person in the world. He finally got married when he was about 40 to a 28 year old. I never liked her much, never had the opportunity to get to know her very well, but there was always something that rubbed me the wrong way about her, for one reason or another she always came across as a complete bitch. However, he always treated her well, spent through the nose to keep her happy, building a new house, vacations, new cars, treating her unbelievably well spending money he probably didn't have.
    Anyways, they had been married I think about seven or eight years when last year on their anniversary he found out that she had been cheating on him for a while – she didn't tell him, he discovered it while cleaning out their e-mail in box. Obviously he was crushed. They went from married to separated to getting back together again, to being separated, to trying to make it work one last time, and then he finally came to his senses and realised it was never going to work. Part of the reason he tried so hard to make it work, I think, is because they have a 6 year old son. Apparently they had a big fight in the last week, arguing, not physical – he would never lay a hand on her. He realised he had lost his wife, could lose his son (at least facing custody agreements and all the rest, and a long drawn out battle), was going to lose the house they had built three years ago and was facing a ton of debt on loans and likely future lawyer fees. Then last night he phoned and left her this message "I gave you the best years of my life, but now you will never see me again." She didn't even bother checking him till about noon today. When she found him he was in bed, unconscious, alive, but obviously not far from taking his final breath. He is now in ICU and things don't look good at all, not responding to pain, still unconscious, fluid building on the brain and there were a couple of other not so good signs. He had swallowed a bunch of sleeping pills and taken something else, they're not sure what yet. Even if he does turn around and recovers, there's no telling the damage and he will have a long road to any kind of recovery.
    Despite knowing the facts we were all surprised by what transpired, and obviously very saddened. What hurts even more is being 5,000 miles from him and in a different country with no way of getting down to be with him (no passport and no money). I do ask for your prayers for him, and my family.

    The second part of this is a little self centred. What has transpired got me thinking about what I was doing in my life. Comparisons were often made between myself and my uncle, we have very similar demeanors, we had a very similar lack of a dating life to this point in my life, similar sense of humour, look similar, and on down the line. But then it comes to a point where it's not so similar. I mean, his job was saving lives. He was a fireman. I'm a sports editor at a small three-times weekly paper. Don't get me wrong, I love my job and I'm finally making a little headway, but I always envisioned something different, a higher calling. I always pictured myself as a fireman or police officer or even joining the military. However, I could never handle the mortality that those three jobs deal with on a daily basis. I couldn't arrive at the scene of a head on car accident and get out and be OK with it. I couldn't handle being the one who has to knock on a parents house and tell them that their son or daughter wasn't coming home. And push come to shove, I don't know if I could pull the trigger and take out the enemy standing 15 feet away from me. I have an unbelievable amount of respect for the people in all three of those lines of work. But I can't help but look at it as 'am I being selfish by doing what I'm doing?' I don't mean any offence by this to anyone out there. It is me dwelling on my life. but I mean I'm a freaking sports editor, what difference in the world am I making? I couldn't even handle being a general news reporter and showing up at the scene of a car accident where there are obvious fatalities involved – that one is from experience. As a lady at the phone company asked about my job today (and I know we've all heard it before and brushed it off a million times) "so you get paid to watch hockey games?" For some reason that stuck with me tonight. not angrily, but kind of borrowed in on me. What purpose do I serve. I write about athletes and sports, and occasionally give my opinion. Who fucking cares? The world can survive without a sports section, depressingly enough, but it can't without Firemen or policemen. Like I said, I like my job, I just don't really understand how I'm making the world a better place.
    I don't know why I'm ranting on this right now. It's just something that the whole situation with my uncle has me going on it. He was somebody who made a difference. Other people's lives are better or even still existing directly because of him, what have I done?
  2. pallister

    pallister Guest

    My father and oldest brother are retired firemen, and I have two other brothers currently on the fire department, all in one of the biggest cities in America. So, myself being an editor, I've had those thoughts about how my job isn't meaningful. But even though you probably won't get a chance to save lives in the newsroom, what you do is important to some people, and there are people who count on you, and, above all, you can take pride in knowing there are people in your life who are proud of you.

    I've also gone through a divorce, and as hard as it has been the last few years, I can only imagine how much harder it is when a child is involved. I'll be praying for your uncle. Hope things work out for both of you.
  3. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    Hope your uncle pulls through, Beef. I'll be thinking of him.

    But, as bad as you feel right now, you really shouldn't beat yourself up over this. We all take different paths in life. Not everyone can do what people in the military or emergency services do. That, in part, is what makes those people so special.

    There's nothing unworthy about the path you've chosen. If you enjoy your job and you're good at it, that's all you really need. What you're feeling right now, I believe, is just anger and frustration. It's okay to be self-centred about it, though. If you're not thinking about yourself, it's not likely that someone else will do it for you.

    Think about it some more when you're in a better frame of mind but try now to focus as much of your energy as you can on praying for your uncle and doing what you can for him and his family. Even if you're thousands of miles away, perhaps there are things you can still do.
  4. Dyno

    Dyno Well-Known Member

    Beef -- So sorry to hear about your uncle. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Please keep us posted.
  5. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    Ditto, Beef. You and your uncle are in our thoughts.
  6. three_bags_full

    three_bags_full Well-Known Member

    Beef, there is no shame in your line of work. And there is no shame in being angry at your uncle's wife -- or him, for that matter.

    What matters most is that you find fulfillment in whatever it is you do.

    Best of luck to you and yours.
  7. farmerjerome

    farmerjerome Active Member

    Beef03, I understand how you feel.

    Think of it this way. We may not save lives, but we make people smile -- expecially in a small town.

    Best wishes to your uncle, I hope he pulls through.
  8. Trey Beamon

    Trey Beamon Active Member

    While we don't save any, I'd like to think most of us brighten our readers' lives, if only for a few minutes a day. That's something to feel proud of.

    Your uncle is my thoughts and prayers, Beef.
  9. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    Beef -

    Ask yourself this: Which section of the paper do most firefighters turn to first? Which section delivers them the most enjoyment and diversion and respite from their work? Which section of the paper can they spend the day talking/thinking/arguing/ragging each other about?

    They give to us; we give to them. At life's best, all of us everywhere are intertwined and reciprocal, and all work of all kinds is important to someone.

    I can't fight a fire, but I can give the fellas at the stationhouse something good to read while they wait for the bell. And there's nothing inconsequential in that. To inform and entertain; to ease or educate or enlighten; to be the storyteller for the rest of the tribe? That's important work, my friend.

    I send the warmest thoughts of our little household to your uncle. And to you.
  10. Beef03

    Beef03 Active Member

    I thank you all for your kind words. I was in a bit of a bad way last night when I was writting. I was very angry with everything that had taken place, mostly with my aunt. Still have a lot of hatred for her.
    I have spent a lot of time thinking about our place in the world as sports reporters/editors and I know the entertainment factor of life is a big factor. Like I said I love my job and what I do, but everyonce in a while I do wonder what kind of a difference I do make in the world and last night was one of those nights. I appreciate all of your support.

    Unfortunately I do not have any new information, as far as I know my uncle has remained in roughly the same condition for the past 12 hours or so. Thank you for your prayers. I will keep you posted.
  11. Jones

    Jones Active Member

    Beef, sorry about your uncle.

    I hope this doesn't sound sanctimonious, but here's a little advice:

    Very few people can say their job is "meaningful" in the way that fire fighters or cops can. Start naming jobs off the top of your head -- plumber, IT guy, sales assistant, highway repairman, bag boy, baseball player, economist, mechanic -- and stop whenever you've found one where you're saving lives, say, which seems to be your definition of meaningful. For most of us, jobs are jobs. If you like your job and you're keeping your head above water, you're better off than most folks. And your job isn't your life -- it sure as shit shouldn't be how you define it.

    Now, the advice part: Volunteer. Habitat for Humanity. The Food Bank. Big Brothers. God, spend an hour picking up garbage in your neighborhood, and see how good you feel. That's where you can find the meaning that you seem to be longing for. And -- you're allowed to be selfish here -- in addition to feeling good about yourself, you might meet someone, you might be healthier for getting out, you might even find a new job opportunity.

    I'm sorry about your uncle. But perhaps you can use this awful experience for something good. Outside of your day job, resolve to help as many people as you think he might have, a kind of Earl's list, in tribute. If he makes it, tell him he's your inspiration. If he doesn't -- and I really hope he does -- tell him he's your inspiration anyway.

    Sounds like the blueprint for a meaningful life to me.
  12. PopeDirkBenedict

    PopeDirkBenedict Active Member

    Incredible advice Jones. I agree with every syllable.
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