Sunday, March 21, 2010

Life, Money, and the Largest Wound...Part 1.

Money is said to be the root of all evil. It is also a necessity of life.
The world today is obsessed with money. It makes people greedy. People steal, cheat, lie, and kill for it. Some people would die for it...
It is said that people who win the lottery usually are NOT happier because of it and that most of them end up miserable. Why then, does everyone I know WISH they could win the lottery? Why can't people realize that true happiness comes from within?

Psychologists say that people need 3 things to be happy...1.something to do, 2.something to look forward to and 3.someone to love. None of which have to do with money...

My life has been filled with ups and downs. I have been very wealthy at times and been very down and lonely. I have also been very broke at times and been very down and lonely. I can honestly say that having money helps with paying bills and making you feel better about tomorrow, but I know that it doesn't help at all with being lonely or depressed. Though it does bring around more friends and helps with finding a date, do we really want friends and a mate that are around because of it?...

My family is very wealthy. The money came from an accident my father had 13 years ago. It is blood money. He worked for the railroad and one day a co-worker sent a rail car without radioing ahead. It rolled over him from behind and cut him in half. He also lost his hand. He had 2 hours to live when he arrived in Charleston, SC via helicopter and they weren't even sure how he made it there alive. He received 40 units of un-matched blood on the 5 minute ride there and the wound was so large they didn't have any idea how they would stop the bleeding. I remember the doctors telling my family to go see him one last time to say goodbye. We entered the room to find blood everywhere and his whole body swollen to 3 times it's size, which is a body's defense mechanism to a limb or part being severed. We told him goodbye and as we departed from the room, the doctors took us aside to let us know that because of what we had just seen, we all would suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is normally gotten by military personal who witness friends being killed and maimed in war. It was all a terrible nightmare from which none of us could awaken from.

Somehow my father denied the odds and survived. He also set a few records along the way. He is in the medical journals as the largest wound survivor and also the largest wound covered with skin grafts. His settlement with the railroad was also the largest out-of-court settlement in the history of the railroad. I remember wishing that my father was rich before the accident and how guilty and bad I felt that now he was a millionare many times over...and how I wished we could give it all back if he could be the way he was before the accident. Money would never pay back for all he lost and all the suffering he had gone through. It became our family's curse...

I helped nurse him back to health in Charleston. We had around 100 people come to pray and support the family at first, but as the weeks went by, people had to go back to work and back to their lives. One by one, everyone departed until one day it was my dear mother and myself looking at one another. I saw the sadness and despair in her eyes...and she looked so very tired and lost. I knew she would never leave his side. She had loved him since they married right out of high school and she would stay by his side till she dropped dead from fatigue...this I knew. She also had many health problems and was in total shock as well. As the oldest son, I felt it was my duty to be there for them both. I owned an equipment brokerage and knew I was the only child in a position to help. I remember how stubborn my mother was about leaving his side...and knew I was probably one of the few people in the world she would trust to be there in her absense. I told her she needed to rest and take care of herself in order to stay healthy and fight this thing we were faced with. I told her I would stay with him through the nights while she went to the hotel across the street to rest and she could stay with him during the day. She was reluctant to leave his side at all, but agreed that she was tired and could not continue to stay at the hospital 24/7. I spent the next several months in hell fighting by his side in Charleston at night. Not only were we fighting infections from the large wound, the anti-biotics were expected to shut down his body organs eventually and on top of that, they were stripping large pieces of skin from all over his body to cover the wound as fast as possible...and my family was fighting to keep our sanity. My father was a cross between Daniel Boone and John Wayne growing up. He was always working or hunting or fishing or farming and was always the strongest man anyone had known in our community. To see him cut in half and fighting to live was one of the hardest things for me to see in my life. I knew life would never be the same...and it wasn't.
Against all odds, my father survived. The doctors still don't know how he survived. They say he is a miracle man...and he truly is. He is the strongest man that ever lived without a doubt. I am proud to be his son.

My family thought maybe the money would help heal things in some way. It didn't. My sister and brother and I received large sums of money as well in the beginning. We ALL have divorced since. The marriages all were victims of the money. My sister bought her 8 year old son the nicest 4 wheeler money could buy and it would kill him less than a year later. I opened a large service corporation with 20 employees and ended up divorced and lost. The money made life confusing and the fact that it had come from my father's blood made life a paradox. I became lost in the world and didn't like the world the money had made for my family. Everyone had nicer toys, but everything seemed to be about money. The family had more relatives and friends than ever and it seemed that business proposals and the need for loans from my father seemed to come from everywhere. People my family had known all our lives took advantage of my father and received loans that would never be paid back. My faith in people dropped to an all time low.

I began to hate what I was seeing and hate my life of money and being an heir to the fortune. I closed the corporation and merged with a company in Savannah, Ga to get away. It worked for awhile...for a few years I lived in a town full of people who didn't know about the money and accepted me for who I was. Unfortunately it didn't last. A few years later my mother called to let me know she was not doing well and she needed my help again. She was having fainting spells and was the primary care-giver for my father. They refused to have home-health as my mother babied him and took care of all his needs. She was wearing down...and she was beginning to hate life as well.
She told me my siblings were talking about putting my father in a nursing home and that was all I needed to hear. I had 3 children in town as well that I missed desperately and I decided to come home and help take care of my parents and get to see my kids more often. I took a much lower paying job and bit the bullet and came. Life was not about money. It was about family and taking care of one's own. I could help take care of my parents and also get to coach sports to my kids and make it to all the beauty pageants and events in their lives that were important to them. It was not a hard decision to make for me...I had been there before for my parents and had always told them they could count on me...and meant it.

Though I knew it was not an easy road I had chosen, I had no idea how hard the road would become...

Due to length of content, this post will be in several parts...check back for parts 2 and 3.


  1. Wow, what a story. It's so true that money does not buy happiness. Sorry you and your family have had to learn that so painfully.

  2. Thanks, Mindy!...and thanks so much for the comment! Just starting out, but love blogwriting...good therapy for the soul. Keep on reading, this story has more than 1 part and gets even better!

    P.S. Any writing suggestions? I'd appreciate a pro's critique!

  3. Wow, what a moving story. I agree life is about love - loving yourself, loving what you do, loving others. It's not about money. Money is just an enabler to let you do things.

    My heart goes out to you and your family.

  4. Thanks so much for the comment. Money has screwed my life and loves of my life. I hope to find a woman one day seeking love...

    Check out part II and give me any feedback whenever you can...

    Thanks again...DJQ