With the end of the year fast approaching, we start to contemplate our successes and failures for the past 365 & 1/4 days. I will get to that in another blog. But as I reflect back on 2007, this year has almost been the biggest roller coaster ride of my life. So many changes. So many, that I started asking people whether they would prefer to have dramatic changes peppered throughout their life, or if they would prefer to have many happen in the same period of time and get it over with; Likening the situation to slowly pulling a band-aid off slowly, or ripping it off quickly (OUCH!). Do you want one long band-aid, or many short and quick ones. This year for me resembles having a band-aid ripped right off, hairs and even the top layer of epidermis! But the answers I got from many, like the people themselves, are a mixed bag. There really is no preference over the other. As I finish this year in contemplation of the last 12 months, I am anxious for this year to be done. But despite closing the door on another year gone by, for me, it still will not be a Happy New Year.
The last time I remember so many changes in such a short time frame was in 1989. That was the year my dad passed away. What makes it somewhat chaotic is that my maternal Grandmother also passed away. They passed away just 4 days apart of each other. It hit me like a ton of bricks because I hadn’t seen my dad for the better part of that last year; he had been traveling, visiting other family around the Country. I had graduated high school in June of 1988, about a year before his passing. He finally returned home in May 1989 to get my mom and bring her with him on his adventures. They were excited because I was about to begin my own life apart from them, and they would get to spend some quality time away from home without the spoiled brat! But a few weeks prior to leaving, his heart gave out on him. Meanwhile Nanny, my Grandmother, was already in the hospital getting a quadruple by-pass surgery on her heart. Sadly, she did not survive. It was the day she was being buried that my dad passed away. He passed, as I recall, in the early hours of the morning. It truly was a difficult period. I was due to begin my life away from home, leaving my mom behind, widowed and without her mother. I felt like the wind was kicked out of me. But time heals all wounds.
So as I conclude this year, I feel very exasperated again. Not quite like June 1989. But looking back at this past year, the thrills definitely weren’t as fun as being on a roller coaster. I think I could use a vacation from the year gone by. So, February was a great month. I celebrated my 10 year anniversary being married to my beautiful and wonderful wife, Amie. As we reflected on the last 10 years, we couldn’t believe how quickly time seemed to be passing for us; a sign that we are both extremely pleased with how things are turning out in our lives. However, we were brought back to reality in March when my mom was seriously hospitalized. She had 6 blood transfusions due to complications with her acute diverticulitis. It was a scary time. And we are blessed that she made it through and is still strong willed despite her challenges! Then, I believe it was in April, one of my dogs, Jezebel took a bad fall down our stairs. It was a blessing in disguise because during an examination, a tumor was found on her spleen. It was removed during a short surgery and she bounced back quite well. We were pleased with how she recovered and breathed a sigh of relief, because if she hadn’t recovered, there was only one option and I was not ready for that!
Shortly following, in May, my contract with WXCT was canceled, and as such my radio career put on hold. Upon leaving WXCT, my wife and I decided to take the family for a short, well-deserved vacation to North Carolina. My niece was graduating high school, and the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 was taking place in Charlotte. It was an exciting event I was able to take my oldest son to; a great father/son experience. That short vacation was only supposed to be a Thursday through Sunday trip. It turned into a two week expedition visiting a few family members in several states and traveling over 3000 miles altogether! Oh, don’t misunderstand. I am not complaining in the least! It was a long overdue vacation, and yet still too short. But we had a lot of fun, even with 4 kids and 2 old dogs, who are like children. I think everyone truly enjoyed seeing family they had never seen before (even I met nieces and nephews I hadn’t seen before), and getting to see other parts of the Country too. I know as a child, I enjoyed those types of trips.
Anyway, upon returning from our spontaneous adventures, I pushed forward to start an Internet Talk station, but my timing was off. I just couldn’t get it done. Then in July came the first of several difficult decisions I had to make this year. You’ve probably read about it in an earlier blog, but the gist is: one of my dogs, Spike, had a problem with his left hind leg. He no longer had control of it. This had been going on for quite sometime, probably 6-9 months. He was dragging his paw, causing blisters and open cuts. After an examination, and several attempts at medications, the vet said nothing further could be done (at least not that my wallet could support). Spike’s problem was getting progressively worse. The decision had to be made. He was 12 years old. We could not reasonably accommodate the circumstances. His quality of life was deteriorating rapidly. I had to have him put to sleep. Sadness entered our home again.
Just as quickly though, it seemed things were picking up again. I had been in lengthy negotiations for a couple months with a radio station. Finally an offer was made, and I accepted. But several events happened that made the decision seem wrong. There were difficulties getting the funds to move, then difficulties getting the truck. So my wife and I decided it would be best if we didn’t move the whole family right away. So, the plan changed, and only I made the 2600 mile journey. My experience there was not as expected. It too seemed to be quite a struggle. And then four weeks later, I was informed there were no funds to pay me with. So, I returned home. To this point, I had traveled about 10,000 miles over the year, altogether!
No sooner had I returned home, I then got a message that my mom had been hospitalized again! So we made our way back to be with my mom. Fortunately this time, she was not given any transfusions and she returned home without much incident. While there, I attempted to get an interview with a prospective employer for a position that seemed to fit my qualifications outside of the radio business. However we not able to connect until a few days after the family and I returned home! But we did have a couple good conversations and five days later, I was back on a bus headed to Montreal to accept the position.
This pretty much brings us to the present. I am in Montreal, under a new contract with that company, non-radio related. My family, once again stayed behind, this time simply because it’s winter and it’s too cold to move everything quickly. We will be together for Christmas and New Year’s. However one family member, I fear will not be. Jezebel, who is the first dog I got out while on my own, is now 14 & 1/2. As mentioned, she went through a serious surgery this year that we thought would add 2-3 years to her life. But she has a sever case of arthritis, and even the medication she is on seems to only aid in relieving the pain part of the time. This winter, the weather really seems to be taking its toll on her. When we came to Montreal in October, the second time my mom was hospitalized, she took a spill on the hardwood flooring. She just couldn’t get a good footing. That event seemed to discourage her; and just being away from home seemed to bother her immensely.
Shortly after Christmas, the family and I will be coming up to Montreal to celebrate the New Year with my mom. I have been thinking about her condition. I’m saddened to think that her quality of life is deteriorating because of the arthritis, and how the winter weather delivers its own discomforts. I always envisioned that she would simply pass away in her sleep, after living a long complete life. But, I believe the time has come to give her peace. As selfish as I want to be…and keep her alive with me for several more years to come, I realize it would not be fair to her. She has brought much joy into my life, and that of my family. I do not want her to become despondent, and saddened by her inability to function. So when I return home, I will have to say good-bye to her for the final time. For, I cannot bear to think that my selfishness will only cause her more pain and discomfort.
And that will be the end of this roller-coaster ridden year. So many changes. So many changes. 2008 will begin on a somber note for me. It will be the first year since 1993 that I will not have a four legged furry friend by my side, looking at me with quizzical eyes and giving a bark, wanting me to talk to her; to drop a fist-sized rock at my feet wanting to play fetch; to happily come bounding to me, tongue wagging in the wind, running as fast as she can with stretched leaps as I call her to come inside from roaming the woods by our house; to have her whine, and whine, at me because Spike needed to go out (he wouldn’t let us know, it was always Jezebel who spoke for him). I will reminisce on every year and every moment I can remember. I will reflect on all the fun times, and all the difficult times that I lived through with Jezebel, and with Spike. And I will mourn our loss.
It’s time to get off the roller coaster ride of 2007. And get on a new one for 2008. A new job. Returning to a place I once called home. A new Internet Talk Radio Station and my own new Talk Radio show! A fresh start, a new beginning? No. Just another chapter that will too, find a conclusion at some point in time.