Finding Bob and The Process of Healing by John Seeley
Bob and I were best friends through my high school and college years. After college I got a job and began my professional life. After eight months, the company was sold and I was laid off. I took the advantage of the time off to travel and look for jobs else where including Knoxville at the World’s Fair, and in NYC. Bob and I traveled a lot that year. Bob had been laid off from his job too. He was planning on returning to college, but that was not to be. I took another job working for my fiancée’s father. This was doomed from the beginning. Although he was an astute businessman, he didn’t like anyone standing up to him.
In a few months I turned the restaurant around, but the personality conflict between us resulted in my leaving. Once again I was unemployed. This and my fiancée’s parents put pressure on my relationship with their daughter. I began looking for another job, this time in Chicago. During this time my friend Bob had been going through his own turmoil. His marriage had broken down and he was going through the process of divorce. I used to say, “Life sucks, but it beats the alternative”. About 2 weeks had passed since I had said that, and Bob’s response was, “I’m not so sure.”
I invited Bob to come to Chicago for my last interview before getting a job offer. He passed and said he’s see me when I got back in a few days. That was Monday. On Wednesday I got a call from Bob’s mom asking if I knew where he was? I told her no, but I would be back the next day. I went back to Milwaukee and started looking where I thought Bob might be. When I got to his sister’s house, I had a bad feeling. I could smell gas. As I entered the house I was feeling the worst possibility was true. As I walked into the kitchen I found Bob, dead.
From then on, my world spun out of control. I became depressed. No one in my family new what to do. I didn’t know what to do. I was in shock. Right after that my dog died. Slowly I moved on, but being defensive, put too much stress on an already pressured relationship, and my fiancée left. After a few months at the new job, again due to my defensiveness, I lost that too.
This began my long journey to healing. Bought my own restaurant, and began working harder than ever before. The major factory, which had been there for 100 years, went bankrupt. Most of my customers worked there, and so lost their jobs. I continued to struggle to make the company work, and did, but barely. I would have been better off financially working for McDonald’s as a fry cook. I realized I didn’t want to stay in the operations area of restaurants, and so I enrolled in the Graduate School of Business., and took a position as a research assistant for a professor. I put the restaurant up for sale, but the landlord was underhandedly selling me out. He sold the building and I was given 1 month to move my business. I wasn’t inclined to do that and I finally found someone to buy the equipment on the last day I had to move. I received the down payment and nothing more from the buyers. So I quit school and took another job to pay off the debt from the closing of my restaurant. Although I was beginning to create some goodness, the self-sabotage process of my subconscious mind was still playing out.
I met and after a few years married a loving woman. I hadn’t finished grieving my friend. The effects were still showing as defensiveness and insecurity.
The marriage lasted 3 years. During the year of divorce, my mom had a car accident and died. This was the final straw for me. She had been the center of my universe. I now spun aimlessly out of control emotionally. I had siblings, and relatives, but I was two thousand miles away I was alone. It wasn’t the first time. I felt alone much of my life. Being the youngest of five kids, with the nearest being 3 ½ years older, I was kind of separate from the rest of the kids. My mom went back to work when I was six, and I felt abandoned. She worked right next to my grade school, but I was on my own pretty much from then on. This feeling resurfaced throughout my life, and again I was faced with “abandonment.
Years went by while I struggled to put my life back together. The inner struggle I was going through was reflecting as my outer life’s struggles. I was attracting situations which I consciously felt undeserved. But on a subconscious level I felt were exactly what I deserved. .I finally reached out for help. I went to a therapist, then another and another. I went to self-help seminars. This helped me tremendously. I felt it was easier to deal with my painful emotions with and through others in the groups. I began voraciously reading self-help and psychology books. Slowly I began feeling and releasing the pain, anger and guilt of my emotional past. Things started getting better. I began feeling grateful for what I had. I started finding others who had made it through some of life’s challenges, and were supportive of me and my process. I continued to do this for years, getting my masters degree in psychology in the process. The learning process isn’t over, but I have come a long way. I now help others to move ahead in their lives, and heal their past. I hope my story and experience help to shorten the process, and lesson the suffering for others.
“This guy’s walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can’t get out. A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, ‘Hey you. Can you help me out?’” The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole, and moves on. “Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, ‘Father, I'm down in this hole can you help me out?’” The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole, and moves on. “Then a friend walks by, ‘Hey, Joe, it’s me, can you help me out?’” And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, ‘Are you stupid? Now we're both down here.’” The friend says, “Yeah, but I've been down here before and I know the way out.”