How you know when you are a failure


There are times in life when you realize you are a complete failure. For me, the time is now.

And coming from me, a guy who has been blessed with good fortune and wonderful happenstances, that is saying a lot.

But when you fail the one person you love most in life, when you fail the most important person in your life, when you can’t help her when she needs it the most, you are a failure.

Nadine had a knee replacement a year ago and it was time for me to pay it forward. I could be by her side constantly, do what she needed to be done, help her in every way. And I was thrilled to do it. I owed it to her.

Since I lost most of my eyesight 16 years ago, she has been the angel on my shoulders. She has done everything for me. She has done it without a whimper of complaint. Not once. And I am one big load to carry.

Little more than three weeks ago, Nadine had her other knee replaced. And it was my time to shine again, my turn to take care of her. I was eager and ready.

Then little more than a week ago, I fell down a flight of stairs in our home. When I hit bottom the pain was excruciating. As always, I began screaming, “Nadine, Nadine, Nadine.” In a flash she was at my side. Somehow, even though she could barely walk, she covered two flights of stairs in no time to be by my side. She says now, “I don’t even remember how I got there.”

I broke my right hip. I had surgery the next day. I am still in Miami Valley Hospital, where I’ll be for another week or so, getting fantastic therapeutic treatment.

And I sit in my wheel chair in the darkness of my room and I cry. I don’t cry for me. I don’t feel sorry for myself.

I cry casual stupidity forced me to failed the one person I never want to see me as a failure. Now she is by herself, hardly able to walk, gimping around my room when she is here, once again trying to take care of me when it should be the opposite.

We have a great support group. My good friend Ray Snedegar has been beyond belief, taking Nadine to therapy and bringing her to the hospital and fetching food for me.

But I knew that. I knew what kid of guy he is from the minute I met him about seven years ago when I interviewed him to be my driver. It didn’t take me long to realize, “This is the guy.” And he has never failed us.

He has stepped up again, as he always does, covering the failure that I am.

Jacki Loffer, a principal at Our Lady of the Rosary where Nadine taught and is our great friend, has been terrific, as always. She, too, is always there for us.

And my sons, Brian and Brent, have kept me company. Our friends Murray & Tammy Greenberg and Jeff & Nancy Gordon have been there for us. They always are.

But dammit, why do I have to depend so much on other people, constantly infringe of their time? It should be my time, not theirs. And that’s where failure hits me hard.

Nadine and I were to celebrate or wedding anniversary next week with dinner at the Oakwood Club. Of course, that isn’t going to happen. I let her down again.

It was sheer stupidity. I was wearing wool socks on a slick hardwood floor — like walking on ice. I should have known not to walk down slick wooden steps wearing wool socks.

That’s how you turn yourself into a failure.

11 thoughts on “How you know when you are a failure”

  1. Hal, so sorry to hear of the struggles. Please don’t upset your dear wife by beating yourself up any further. Best to you both for speedy recoveries and a wonderful anniversary dinner when you are back on your feet. Much love to you both.

  2. Sorry to hear this. You, Nadine, your family and friends are a team. The team always prevails. Thoughts and prayers for you all.

  3. I have depended on my Wife for many years starting with her giving me a Kidney.It lasted for a few years then slowly it started failing.She endured many complications from the surgery and had more surgeries because of it.Before during and after my transplant she carried the load and now after I started dialysis she once again carries the load.I feel I have let her down but she refuses to stop fighting for both of us.
    Sorry to hear of you and yours struggles hope you both gain strength and defeat your problems.

  4. Hal please dont beat yourself up over this. God has a plan and just trust in him and he will lead you in the right direction. I love your writing and have met you a few times at Redsfest and I know you and Nadine are a team and she does not need you beating up on yourself. My prayers are with you both and ask God to give you both a full recovery.

  5. You and Nadine are a team which has been mentioned. You are there for each other through all the bumps in the road. Both of you and those who are helping you – will be in my thoughts.

  6. No place for trite cliches. I agree with other responders. Know this: Hal you are respected but more so, loved by all of us. Praying for speedy total recovery and may the Peace of God that passes all understanding see you and Nadine through this situation. Selfishly awaiting your 2020 Opening Day coverage. Paul from Centerville

  7. Hal, i just heard about your fall. Dont beat yourself up my friend. You have many praying for you to have a speedy recovery and also praying for your wife. So no stressing and I know your wife is thinking the samething too. She needs you thinking positive and you have good friends that are helping you. Your driver is one huge blessing. So smile and know you have to focus on your therapy to get better. Then you can get back to being your wife’s huge helper. God bless you both.

  8. Hal, God be with you friend. You will get through this difficult time, and so will Nadine. Try to keep a positive attitude even though what you are both going through is very hard. You are in my prayers…

  9. This really is a tragedy. Why did it happen, I wish I knew. But GOD does have a plan. You are not a
    failure. The Lord sees fit to test us in many ways. You will prevail in time. I had my infected Gall Bladder taken out last week at Miami Valley North Hospital. Our wives are always there for us, even when and if we fail ourselves.
    I am thinking of you my friend.

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