Three Man Game chronicles the story of a young family (Jim, the author, Carol, his wife and their two sons) confronted with Carol's diagnosis of breast cancer and a "best case" prognosis of six months. Jarrell takes the reader through his family's ordeal, describing the strategies they used to give them what Jim says were "the best three years they had together." Jim goes on to describe how, after Carol's death, he and his sons (ages 9 and 5 when Carol died) managed to recover from their grief. Jim and his sons, each now with families of their own, live full, happy and productive lives.
Late on a Friday night in January 1982, Jim Jarrell and his wife, Carol,
received a call from the oncologist asking them to report to the
hospital early the next morning. Anomalies in Carol’s x-rays and blood
work led to additional tests, and the diagnosis was soon confirmed:
breast cancer. The doctor posited two possible scenarios, neither
projecting a life expectancy longer than six months. The news was
devastating for the high school sweethearts, who had two young boys,
ages five and two .
Carol’s six-month battle extended to three years. According to Jim,
they were the best three years they had together. Jim was by his
wife’s side every step of the way until her passing in 1985, less than
two months before her thirty-fifth birthday. Now, Jim shares his
family’s heartbreaking yet inspirational story. From his wife’s
critical diagnosis to her painful passing and beyond, he chronicles the
struggles he, Carol, and their sons endured, the strategies they used
and the lessons he learned, both as a spouse and as a single father.
Although they recognize that their way might not be right for everyone,
Jim and his sons are hopeful that others facing similar circumstances
might find some of the strategies described in this memoir helpful.
Jim emphasizes the importance of being at Carol’s side throughout each
phase of their ordeal and establishing open, honest communication as a
family (including their young sons) about their shared fears.
Additionally, he discusses the importance of living in the present
versus bringing to the present a doctor’s best guess of what the
future holds, all while preparing their children for the possibility of
losing their mother. Jim’s helpful strategies show that emotional
balance and happiness in times of tragedy are both possible and
Excerpted from "Three Man Game" by Jim Jarrell. Copyright © 2017 by Jim Jarrell. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Jim Jarrell is the last of four children and was raised in Charleston WV. Jim married Carol, his high school sweetheart after receiving his undergraduate degree and before attending law school. After law school and the birth of two sons, Jim went to work for a natural gas pipeline company where he spent the next 23 years. At age 31 shortly after Jim began his legal career, Carol was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. With a "best case" prognosis of six months, Jim and Carol developed a number of strategies for battling Carol's horrible disease while raising their two young sons. Although Carol eventually lost that battle, Jim credits these strategies for giving him and Carol the best three years they spent together. After Carol's death, Jim raised his sons (ages 9 and 5 when Carol passed) as a single parent, again using strategies developed more or less on the fly. Jim's sons are now grown, each with families of their own.
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