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Jonathon Brown had it all... a beautiful wife, beautiful home, fancy cars, and an arrogance that knew no limits... In three months he lost it all.
What his arrogance hadn't already destroyed, his brain cancer threatened to.
Jonathon not only survived - he learned to live.
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.52(d)|
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Eyes Through You
By Patrick Hassey
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 Patrick Hassey
All right reserved.
Chapter OneA LIFE NO ONE KNEW ABOUT
Jonathon Brown was a well-educated man in his midthirties who was well-known in his community for coaching and mentoring young children. He was a successful man, holding a program manager's position at IT Solutions. He drove a Mercedes-Benz and lived in a beautiful home with his wife of fifteen years, Jessie, and their eight-year-old daughter, Hannah. They lived in Simi Valley on an acre of land with a beautiful swimming pool, hot tub, guesthouse, and various other luxuries. This man, who took pride in his landscape, had the most attractive piece of property in the whole area. Jonathon seemed to have all the toys a man could want.
Part of his confidence came from his physical stature, as he spent a good part of his time working out in the gym. He felt that fitness was part of his success in life, and it gave him confidence. Keeping his mind and body in the best shape that he could, and looking at himself every morning in the mirror, motivated him. Another strength was his outgoing personality. He loved to be the center of attention: always the life of the party, always joking that no one could keep up with him. With all that energy, he could never stay at home for an evening. He always felt if he wasn't out there, he was missing something.
He spent much of his time with a very close circle of friends—even more time than with his family at home. The friends he chose were successful and pursued recreation as he did. Activities they all enjoyed included golfing, playing pool, attending sporting events, visiting social clubs, and, most of all, working out together in the gym.
Hanging out with his friends who were single made it difficult for Jonathon to keep his focus on his marriage. He put himself in situations that drew attention from the opposite sex. He had rarely experienced that sort of attention while growing up because of his very short and slim body, and the temptation was always there. To feed his ego, he crossed that line and flirted with a world that was drawn to temptation and curiosity, almost taking it as a challenge instead of as a desire to feed. After all, he had a beautiful wife and daughter. Who in their right mind would jeopardize that? But like other men, he reacted before he thought, and there was no fear of the consequences. Part ignorance, part selfishness, or just plain insensitivity toward others—whatever it was, he had no cognizance of it.
Over the years, life looked better and better for him. His finances were getting stronger each year. The right investments brought more money. But the more money he made, the more he spent. As his finances rose, so did his debt. He accused his wife of spending money behind his back, not giving thought to the fact that he was spending more than she was.
He prepared for the biggest promotion in his life: he was closer than ever to becoming the executive officer. But such an achievement didn't come without sacrifice. The ones who had to sacrifice were not his friends, but his family. He always tried to convince his wife that everything he did was for her, and for their daughter. If he had to make a sacrifice, so did they—he really believed that. Always substituting materials for his time, he told himself he was doing his duties as a man of the house. Over time, he convinced himself that his family never appreciated that he worked so hard to give them everything they needed. And because he felt unappreciated, he concocted in his mind that they were never satisfied, that they were just plain spoiled.
His famous last words were always, "You never appreciate anything. If it weren't for me, you wouldn't have all this." He really felt he tried to do everything he could to make them happy, and they never were. Before long, he was abusing his wife verbally.
"You're stupid with money," he said. "You have no idea what it takes to keep this household together. You just sit here waiting for a handout all day. We'd all starve if we had to depend on you for a living." It usually took no more than that to reduce her to tears.
As the promotion drew nearer, he believed that things would get better—that he could be home more and spend more time with his daughter.
Everyone viewed him as a man who had it all, a man rising to the top of his profession. From the outside, life looked good, but from the inside, life was different. There was another side of him that almost no one knew about, including his wife. Trying to maintain two lives and his promotion was getting to be too much to handle. He had spread himself out so thin that he could no longer maintain all areas of his life. Everything on the inside was starting to unravel. His wife was growing tired of hearing his excuses about why he was never home. He could no longer satisfy his extramarital relationships, and management was putting pressure on him to increase his already extended schedule at his job. Eventually he found himself unable to maintain both lives, and he was starting to lose control. The only thing he could manage at that time was his arrogance; he certainly succeeded in that.
Although he had what most men would want, it was never enough for him; nothing could satisfy him. Again he got involved with another woman, and he hid money from his family while he made plans for his future; his family was not part of that future. He convinced himself if his family wasn't going to share the same vision as him, and make all the sacrifices that went with it, he was going to leave them behind. Because he had pretty much written them off, he grew even more arrogant and selfish, showing insensitivity toward everyone around him.
In the fall of 1998, Jonathon started experiencing some weakness on his left side. His left leg and arm coordination was deteriorating. Preoccupied with preparing for the promotion, he ignored his condition. As the signs of some physical problem persisted, so did the problems in his marriage. His marriage was falling apart, he had problems trying to maintain his other relationship, and he was fighting increasing weakness on his left side.
One morning after showering and getting ready for work, he went to the kitchen, as he always did, to pour a cup of coffee. His wife, standing by the sink, told him she had been up all night, troubled by a voice telling her that he was in danger.
"You are in danger of losing everything," she said.
"What do you mean by that?"
"I don't exactly know, but I believe you should know you are in this danger."
Jonathon left work but didn't stop thinking about the dream his wife had said. Stunned at first, he later figured it was part of the woman's six-pence line. Arriving at work with her comments still on his mind, he thought he'd call her for clarification. After talking to her for just a minute, he dismissed the whole notion that he was in danger of losing everything, and he continued down his path.
A week later, everything had gotten much worse. One morning, going through Jonathon's clothes, his wife found a note from another woman. She called the number on the note and made a discovery of something she had prayed would never happen to her. After all the years of abuse, she packed her up her things and, along with their daughter, moved out.
He came home from work late that night and found a note from Jessie hanging on the refrigerator door, along with the note from Lisa. He grabbed Jessie's note and read it.
I called Lisa, and she told me everything. You were planning to leave us for her. How could you do this to us? We never gave you a reason to treat us like that, and all we wanted was to give you a good life. Now that you're planning a new life with Lisa, Hannah and I have left to find a new life of our own. Jessie.
He grabbed his cell phone and called Jessie. She was unavailable, so he left her a message: "Jessie, it's me, Jonathon. Please give me a call. I really want to talk to you. Please call me back."
So many events were unfolding in his life at the same time. With his mind so twisted, he made no further attempts to contact his wife or his daughter to try to get them to come home; nothing seemed to faze him any longer. Now, with no wife and daughter, he not only had to prepare for his promotion in that same month, but debt had also mounted so high that he put his home up for sale and moved into an apartment. All his expensive furniture was sold, leaving only his prized Mercedes.
As each day went by, the weakness on his left side grew worse. It reached the point where it no longer could be ignored. One morning, reaching for a cup of coffee with his left hand, Jonathon lost his grip, and the cup shattered as it hit the floor. His symptoms had reached the point that he couldn't be sure anymore that anything he gripped with his left hand would not slip out without warning. Soon it wasn't just the left hand. His left leg was noticeably dragging, and it was becoming more difficult to lift his leg. With his friends and coworkers constantly questioning him, he decided to surrender to his body's demands that he see a doctor.
The visit to the doctor seemed routine. His doctor asked a lot of questions and did some poking around with a needle on Jonathon's left side. At the conclusion of the visit, the doctor said he wanted to do some further testing. "Precautionary measures" was the term he used.
Two days later, Jonathon was due to give a major presentation at work, but he had a morning appointment for an MRI. In the waiting area, he kept looking at his watch, thinking there was no way he could be late for his presentation meeting.That seemed to be the story of his life: he felt impatient about everything, including people driving too slowly on the road, long lines in stores, heavy traffic, and pressure to make an appointment or meeting on time. This day was no different.
He heard his name called, and the first thing he did was look at his watch to gauge how much time he had left before the meeting.The nurse directed him to the room where they were going to perform the MRI. She instructed him to lie on the bench while they got ready. Restlessly, he waited for her to come back and get this thing over with. When she finally returned, she told him to remain still while inside the tunnel.
"Breathe normally, and try to relax during the process," she told him. He was told they would pull him back out about halfway through the process to inject some dye into his veins, and that the imaging process would take twenty-five minutes. Then he was moved into the narrow tunnel. Seemingly only minutes later, the bench slowly retreated back out of the tunnel. Lying there he wondered what was going on; he knew it hadn't been twenty-five minutes. A few more minutes passed before a woman came back to tell him they were finished with his MRI.
"It's over already?" he asked.
"We are suspending the rest of the testing," she responded. "You can get dressed now; the doctor will call you sometime today."
He asked her what was wrong. Again she told him, "Go home and wait for your doctor to call you." After collecting his things, he walked out of the office to the parking lot with a bad feeling that something was wrong. He tried to rationalize what he had just been told. Getting into his car, he gave no more thought to going home and waiting for his doctor to call him; he had a meeting to go to.
Walking through the front entrance of the company, Jonathon stopped for a moment to try to collect his thoughts; he didn't want to let on to anyone that there might be something wrong. Before going to his meeting, he needed to stop by his office to gather his presentation materials.
As he walked in, his secretary stopped him and asked, "Are you okay? You look like you just saw a ghost."
He sharply answered back, "I'm in a hurry!"
He walked into his office, looking dazed and confused, as if he couldn't remember what he was to take into the meeting. After about ten minutes of scrambling around the office for his materials, he gathered them and headed toward the door. Just before closing it, he heard his secretary's voice over his intercom.
"A call for you—it's your doctor."
He looked up with a sigh and then looked at his watch. Less than a minute remained before the meeting; he had no time to take that call right then. But he thought if he didn't pick up the phone and hear what the doctor had to say, his unanswered questions would be on his mind during the presentation.
"Dr. Atkinson, how are you doing?"
"Jonathon, can you come by my office this afternoon?" was the response he received.
"I can't—I'm barely going to make my appointment as it is. What is it? Can't you just tell me now?"
"The MRI revealed that you have a brain tumor. It's the size of an extra-large egg, and it's lodged into your right motor-skills area. I'm sorry—there's nothing we can do. You will need to see a neurologist right away, Jonathon."
Sitting there stunned, Jonathon said, "This is not what I wanted to hear, Doctor."
"I'm sorry," he said in a soft voice.
Jonathon hung up the phone and stood up. For a moment, he saw his whole life flash before his eyes; he knew it was over.
This is it, he thought. I'm all alone, and I've just been given a death sentence. Rushing out of his office, he told his secretary to let his boss know that he had come down with an illness and had to go home. He went home without saying anything else, not wanting to let on about what had just happened. Pride and arrogance prompted him to keep the secret. He feared the possibility of losing his job—all he had left in life.
He walked into his house and plopped down is his recliner; deep down inside, he knew why this had happened. He remembered just recently his wife warning him that he was in danger of losing everything. Looking back at it, the voice his wife had heard was right. He had lost almost everything, possibly even including his life. He wondered whether the outcome would have been different if he would have just listened to his wife. In reality, he had missed the signs.
Three hours later, still sitting in his recliner, Jonathon got a call from Dr. Atkinson to tell him his doctors had found a brain specialist who would perform surgery on Jonathon in three days. Dr. Atkinson said that if the surgery were successful, at the least, Jonathon could lose approximately thirty percent of his vision and hearing. Jonathon wondered if such a result even counted as "success." Should he just end his life now?
Jonathon hesitated for a moment and then responded without emotion: "That's fine."
Dr. Atkinson told him he had made Jonathon an appointment for him to see the neurosurgeon at six o'clock in the evening the next day. He prescribed medication and warned Jonathon not to drive, as seizures were common with brain tumors. Lastly, he advised Jonathon to call him if he experienced headaches.
All night, he remained in denial, not returning phone messages. He felt it would be better to just let the tumor take his life. He struggled with the thought of calling his mother; they had had a falling-out years before because he could not get along with his mother's boyfriend, so he had run away from home. Now he realized that his past issues with his mother didn't matter anymore. He knew the last thing he wanted was to carry his grudge to his grave. In fact, the differences he had had with anyone in his life just didn't matter anymore.
It's funny, he thought. All your life, you go through anger, resentment, and hurt from others, and in one day, you finally realize it just doesn't matter. He called his mother the next morning and broke the news to her. The way she took it proved it was the right thing to do. She knew, too, that the problems of the past just didn't matter anymore.
The next day, his mother came by to pick him up and take him to his appointment with the neurosurgeon at six o'clock that the evening.
During the forty-minute drive, Jonathon's mom finally broke the silence by asking, "Does Jessie know what happened to you?"
"No, I didn't call her," he answered.
"Why didn't you call her?"
"She left me, Mom. I didn't think it mattered anymore."
"Jonathon, you don't know for sure unless you call her. This is a life-threatening illness; you need to at least let your daughter know about this."
"I don't think they would care after what I did."
"When you called me about your brain tumor, all the problems of the past didn't matter anymore. Your health and well-being is what matters the most, not the past."
As they pulled into the Stanford Hospital parking lot, Jonathon thought that maybe it would be better if Jessie and his daughter, Hannah, found out from a friend or a family member instead. But right now, he felt that the wounds he had inflicted on his family were too fresh to heal. Only time would tell.
Excerpted from Eyes Through You by Patrick Hassey Copyright © 2011 by Patrick Hassey. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
ContentsChapter One—A Life No One Knew about....................1
Chapter Two—Rehab Unit....................21
Chapter Three—A Step in the Right Direction....................35
Chapter Four—Life on the Outside....................56
Chapter Five—Important Lessons....................79
Chapter Six—Looking for Jobs....................112
Chapter Seven—Making a Difference....................135
Chapter Eight—New Surroundings....................165
Chapter Nine—Lessons for Healing....................190
Chapter Ten—Whole Lives ahead of Us....................206