Friday, February 27, 2009

Sounds like Life to Me

So the other day I was driving home from work after a fairly stressful day. My head was spinning with what I had to do that day, what I didn't get done, what I still needed to do, what went wrong...and this song came on the radio. The chorus really stuck out to me as a reminder that all of this is what life is. I think sometimes I get so focused on the ups and downs of life that I forget that it's the ups and downs of a roller coaster that make it a ride. If a roller coaster just went straight with no risks, no thrills, would anyone stand in line for that? With that in mind, I'm going to start enjoying the ride more!
Here's the lyrics to the song Sounds Like Life to Me:
( Darryl Worley, Wynn Varble, Phil O’Donnell )
Got a call last night from an old friend’s wife
Said I hate to bother you
Johnny Ray fell off the wagon
He’s been gone all afternoon-
I know my buddy so I drove to Skully’s
And found him at the bar
I said "hey man, what’s going on?"
He said "I don’t know where to start-
Sarah’s old car’s about to fall apart
And the washer quit last week
We had to put momma in the nursing home
And the baby’s cutting teeth
I didn’t get much work this week
And I got bills to pay."
I said, "I know this ain’t what you wanna hear
But it’s what I’m gonna say...
Sounds like life to me,
it ain’t no fantasy
It’s just a common case of everyday reality
Man, I know it’s tough but you gotta suck it up
To hear you talk you’re caught up in some tragedy
It sounds like life to me."

Well his face turned red and he shook his head
He said, "you don’t understand
Three kids and a wife depend on me
And I’m just one man
To top it off I just found out
That Sarah’s 2 months late."
I said, "hey bartender set us up a round
We need to celebrate!"

Sounds like life to me,
plain old destiny
Yeah the only thing for certain is uncertainty
You gotta hold on tight just enjoy the ride
Get used to all this unpredictability
Sounds like life...
Man, I know its tough but you gotta suck it up
To hear you talk you’re caught up in some tragedy
Sounds like life to me
Sounds like life

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Early this morning, a little before 7:00 a.m., I was in the hospital room as my uncle took his last breath. My brother called me a little before midnight the previous night that my uncle had been taken to the hospital, and that it didn't look good. My uncle has stage 4 melanoma cancer that started in his right arm and quickly spread through out his body. He tried several treatments, including some very harsh chemotherapy, but eventually the doctors began talking of quality of life rather than length. I realized today that my uncle, my dad's only brother and the baby of a family of 6 children, was only 9 years older than me. Most of the family spent the entire night by his bed, none of us really sleeping for fear that he would slip away when we weren't looking. He fought a great battle last night, struggling with every breath to breathe one more time. He was in a coma, the entire time, since he was being kept on morphine and because of the many blood clots rupturing in his brain. I was intrigued and frightened to watch the death process happen in what seemed slow motion as his body began to systematically shut down. I've never actually been in the room when someone has died. I've seen the last struggle to continue breathing as I watched my grandparents die, but have never been in the room when a person takes one last, struggled breath, and then silence. What surprised me was in that few seconds of silence as we waited to see if he would draw another breath, I felt such an overpowering force of love that I knew that my uncle had just been welcomed into the arms of a loving brother and Savior. It was just a few seconds, but what a powerful feeling of love! A love that confirmed to me that the old cliche 'he's in a better place now' really is true. The heartbreaking thing is that he leaves behind an 18 year old and 15 year old son. My uncle was divorced and the younger son ended up closer to his mom (they just returned here from living in Germany for a few years), but my uncle is extremely close to his older son. They have got through the tough times in life together and have been best friends. As someone noted today, my cousin not only lost his father but his security, his best friend, his everything today. My cousin has some difficulties-I think some anxieties disorders or something. Although he will graduate from high school this spring, he is still so young mentally and emotionally. Fortunately, my parents are going to take him in, and I know that they will take good care of him.

Anyway, my aunts asked me to put together a slideshow for his funeral. At some time last night I heard someone mention that my uncle had an account on MySpace. So, just a little bit ago, I looked him up to try to get an idea of the style of the slideshow and what music he liked. I have been estranged (is that the right word?) from my uncle for a long time, and right now I'm feeling such guilt. Reading his profile and looking at his favorite things and reading his blog, I realize how much we have in common and how many things we could have talked about and enjoyed together. Opportunities missed. What really broke my heart was on the blog entry in October when he announced his diagnosis with cancer, there were no comments. No encouragement to be strong, no sympathy...nothing. Now I realize that I can't be aware of every blog out there or anything like that, but I wish someone would have. And I wish I could have found that opportunity to reach out to him.

So, I guess, to close this entry, I'll just end with a few words for my Uncle:
First, I know you made some mistakes.
I forgive you. I forgave you a long time ago.
Know that I really do love you.
And I'm sorry I waited so long to say that.