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This Life of Reilly Is a Nightmare —Cagle

May 2010

BACK IN March, I blogged on the subject of a printing industry brother who has been repeatedly visited by personal devastation. His tale is heart-wrenching, so in case you haven't seen it...

Does anyone out there know Jim Reilly? He's no one in particular, just another face in the printing industry crowd. His life story stands out, however, as the ultimate nightmare.

By all rights, this Upper Chichester, PA, man should be plotting out his retirement and considering taking up residence in a warmer climate. Instead, he's wondering how to put the pieces back together of a life that is too far along to start over, yet too young to throw away.

The wheels started to come off for Reilly, 59, about four years ago. In 2006, his youngest son, Andrew, died in an automobile accident while returning to Millersville (PA) University. Two years later, Reilly's wife, April, passed away. Unbelievably, it keeps getting worse for this man.

Back in mid-January of this year, Reilly was laid off from the printing company where he made his living. The coup de grâce came on March 8...Reilly was cooking dinner, roughly 7 p.m., when a fire broke out in his home. The blaze gutted his two-story abode, destroying virtually all of his family's possessions, according to the Delaware County Times. No one was hurt, which is about the only break Reilly has caught in quite a while.

Losing the family home has magnified Reilly's burdens. He needs to keep his developmentally delayed son, Shaun, on a routine. That includes having Shaun, who cannot talk, driven to a day program where he can work. Reilly must dress his son and help him down stairs.

Reilly's daughter is having a difficult time dealing with the adversity, but relies on her boyfriend as a "calming influence," the paper reported. As for Reilly, he has very little. He needed to replace the contents of his wallet. And he was still in the process of sifting through the debris of his home to find important papers. Maybe, if he is lucky, Reilly might find a picture or memento to remind him of April and Andrew.

It's pretty clear by this point that Jim Reilly is anything but lucky.

If you've ever wondered how people can become so despondent as to take their own life, well, now you can stop wondering. But Reilly is not going to be one of those people who throw in the towel. He's picking up the pieces, moving forward. It begins with small things, then you work your way forward.

 

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