The one where I fail

I got jokes. Okay I got lots of them.

(No no it’s true.)

For those of you that have read this place before it may be hard for you to believe I take things seriously. I do. I can be serious when needed. I’ve learned though that there are times when a laugh (or even just a chuckle) can be what is needed. I’m a passionate person. Perhaps that doesn’t always come through on this wonderfully lighthearted blog. Who knows? I’m not sure. I may even come off a bit mean here. That’s just my humor. The sharpness of the jokes is generally done with love. The jokes are turned inward at me just as much. This is not a justification of me. That is not what this post is about. If it actually sees the light of day or should it be light of blog?

No if I look at what I’m trying to do with this post it’ll be easy to see. I’m avoiding the real topic of it. I’m rambling on with a description of my personality to avoid it. I can be serious (and repetitive apparently) and I can be very caring. I care about people. I love my friends and family. I like to help people. Sometimes I let humor get in the way of that but in reality that is just how I handle things. I like to see people smile.

When my wife is down she makes me do this bit from Eek the cat. Being silly is how I help most of the time.

Recently my oldest sister (ha ha I’m sure she loves that description) texted me with some bad news. It involved my other sister’s oldest son Michael. His dad had died. I won’t get into the how and why of it. That part really doesn’t matter. My sister (Dawn—try to keep up) has two sons. Michael’s dad and she had been long separated. To be honest he wasn’t the best of individuals. I won’t speak ill of the dead.
He was not really a part of Michael’s life and hadn’t been for quite a while. It seemed like he did enough to be vaguely there but in all honesty not nearly enough. He was troubled though and I won’t put all the blame on him. After all everyone has their demons, some demons are just worse than others. This post is not about him. I’d like to say it’s about my nephew but in all seriousness it’s probably about me. I tend to do that. I knew it would be tough on him. At thirteen you are just at that point that things start to fall into place. You can grasp certain things and start to see patterns in the world.

I felt sure that my sister (Dawn) would be able to handle the situation. I knew that she’d be able to be there for him and help him get through this. If anything he is lucky to have the mother he does and the great aunt. He had a support system. I should probably add for some of you that they live in Florida and I of course Cleveland. So my support would be lent from far away.

I wanted to call and lend my support of course, but felt it best not to do it the day he found out. So I waited a day but when I called I got voicemail. Then when told it was a good time to call I was out. I didn’t want to make the call from a restaurant or from a friend’s place. Life kept getting in the way but I was always in contact with the family to see how he was doing. It appeared he was doing okay. Some times better than others—you know the usual when it comes to mourning. Handling it as expected.

The cool thing about him is we have a lot in common. He likes sports. He is into Rock music and more so into a lot of the stuff I cut my teeth (I just like using that phrase) when I was younger. So we have plenty to talk about. Another cool thing about him is how he handles phone calls. With him it isn’t the typical feels like pulling teeth moments. He asks questions and answers questions with more than just yes or no. He tells stories and wants to hear some from you. It can be fun talking to him. When I finally got in touch with him it had been close to a week since the news. We were on our way somewhere but I felt like I wanted to contact him. I had a ton of things I wanted to talk about and bring up. In my head it would be a progression of conversation. A normal conversation and then we’ll see how the rest goes. Comfort and help as needed. I didn’t want to skirt around the tragedy but not slam it right to the forefront. If that makes sense, I guess it doesn’t. Anyway I talked to my sister for a few minutes and then he got on the phone. My mind blanked.

Nephew: Hi Jimi. How are you?
Me: Hey Michael. I’m good. How about you?
Nephew: Okay. Good.

(Silence.)

Nephew: What are you doing today?
Me: Oh nothing. Right now we’re driving. We’re going to Katie’s dad’s house.
Me (in my head): ah fuck fuck fuck. God damn you are dumb. So dumb. What a fucking way to get it started. You fail. You are a dumb uncle and an idiotic human being

(You could hear it sort of hit him but he moved on and asked why. It almost felt like he did it more for me than himself. I hurt for him.)

Me: Actually what we’re doing tonite is pretty fun. We are going to this art show where they created a bunch of fake movies and made movie posters and ads for them.
Nephew: That’s cool.

We talked for a few minutes and I could tell the sadness of what had happened. He’s still coping with it. I mean who wouldn’t be? It was a call/conversation that isn’t typical of him. He didn’t ask many questions or tell stories. He did answer questions with real answers though. I came away from it sure he’d be okay. He was sad (duh) but there is good support and he uses music. Music my friends can soothe the soul. It can inspire and it certainly helps you understand.

The main thing I took away from it was how badly I failed. I mean I was like Goose in Top Gun. I couldn’t even get out without smashing my head. This of course is horrible. I’m making it about me (and perhaps that’s why I failed?) and not about him. It is about him and I know this. I have ideas to help—especially in terms of musically. If you (all 3 of the readers who aren’t connected to the situation)have any ideas I’m open to hearing them.

If I post this that is.

(I probably will.)

(Maybe.)

(At least I didn’t stop the parenthesis jokes right?)

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3 Responses to The one where I fail

  1. spleeness says:

    You didn’t fail yet. You called him. That was thing number one. These conversations are awkward. He may not have known how to respond even if you had poured out your thoughts anyway. So write him. You are so good at writing anyway. Tell him what you’re thinking, that he’s on your mind. You can even tell him when you called him you wanted to talk about more but weren’t sure how. You can say you wish you had the right things to say. And how important he is to you.

    That will be all that matters, that you acknowledged his pain. That you’re even thinking of it is so sweet and so forgive yourself for an awkward conversation. A part of your brain was hoping to distract him from his circumstances — I’ve been there, it’s kinda how humans are built.

    I’m sorry to hear about the sad news too, that’s tough.

    • Thank you for the kind words. My wife agrees that I was too hard on myself. He apparently wants to write a song for his dad (he recently took up playing the guitar) and I told him/my sister I’d help him with the lyrics. Also working on a mix of songs that meant a lot to me when I was younger.

  2. spleeness says:

    See? The fail tries to get out but the awesomeness wins in the end. 🙂

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