I was doing well, health-wise, in the last few days. And I was starting to find my rhythm writing basketball. Life was starting to look up.
But after I watched the late game between the Wizards and the Lakers, Pops called me up and mentioned that one of my uncles passed away in NorCal. It froze me. I broke down.
You never want to think that anybody, especially a family member, would be going away. It’s been difficult dealing with losses in the last year. It really started when good friend, Colleen Burns, passed away tragically in the summer of ’16. My brother’s best friend, who I played basketball with in my teens and 20s, also died tragically playing ball from a heart attack (this is resonating with me more and more). I’ve also had a cousin and an aunt (my mom’s sister) die in consecutive days and in different circumstances.
I was dealing with so many emotions last night. I was sad because I lost yet another family member. I was scared because life is so fragile. I was frustrated because it’s so tough to be so limited physically. And I was angry because all of these things were happening.
While I couldn’t sleep, various friends contacted me throughout the night to make sure I was okay. My chest did hurt for a bit and my back felt super tense again. After getting those talks and doing a lot of breathing, I was finally able to go to sleep around 3 AM. It didn’t help that on some nights, I had been afraid to sleep because I thought I would never wake up.
It’s been rough.
Earlier in the morning, though, I got a surprise text. It was my best friend from high school, Madison Alexander, who I know as simply Gee. He happened to be in town for JUST today and wanted to catch up. Gee had been busy hosting trade shows all over the world. We met at a local park.
Gee had known a few things about the recent car accident but he didn’t know all of the other things that had been happening like my hypertension that sent me to the emergency room and the heart attack that I did not even feel. I also told him about the anxiety that I had been having.
Gee also told me his own problems, in terms of his health. He’s doing better than he was a few weeks ago. He had also been through a lot in the last few years, like dealing with the death of his newborn baby. We also talked about our synchronicity. Gee told me that he was wearing the shirt the last time we saw each other, which was three years ago! He just felt that, besides it being overdue, he NEEDED to see me today and waited until the morning to call me up. I’m glad he did.
I also got to see his dad, who was with him playing hoops. I hadn’t seen him in 20 years. I remember him being such a kind man and he remembered me being so positive (which has been far from that these last seven weeks). He’s in his mid-60s and he still runs around the court like he’s in his 30s (basically me and Gee).
The talk with Gee and his dad was very therapeutic to me. And the timing (the synchronicity!) was great. He was like the guardian angel that was sent to me when I needed it the most. Hopefully, it won’t be another three years before I see him. I hope you’re reading this, Gee. You know I love you, brother.
Last night was a setback. Today didn’t bring back my uncle. But I’m sure my uncle wouldn’t want me to just give up and he would want me to take care of myself, even though there is so much going on in my life. I feel bad that I won’t make it to his funeral; there is no way I can make that trip to NorCal without a moment of being terrified and anxious. But again, I have to take care of myself, first and foremost. This fatigue won’t last forever. Neither will my back pain. Heck, neither will I but there is no way I’m quitting life.
Life will continue to throw lemons. But I’m gonna keep going. And drink lemonade.
I love you all. Please help lift me up in these trying times.