The Downward Spiral


Episode #633

Date May 12, 2015

Run Time 1:03:03

JC Cassis tells of a scary and heartbreaking experience in her family.

Song: RISK! Theme by Wormburner and John Sondericker

Song: Stiff Jazz by Dzihan & Kamien

Radio Story: The Downward Spiral by JC Cassis

Song: Recluse by Neil Finn



Download: MP3

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Janive Santini
9 years ago

I have had a really terrible day, and this was a firm reminder that we’re all fighting a battle, that my problems could be worse. The lizard thing killed me. Thank you for sharing this 🙂

Morgan S.
9 years ago

I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed Ms. Cassis’ story. It was one of those stories that grabs you instantly, and by the end of it, I felt like her uncle was MY uncle. She tells it in such an evocative, vivid way, and it works on so many levels. Being a lifelong depressive myself, I can understand how her uncle’s life imploded on him–being depressed is akin to being a car without an engine; it robs you of your life spark, and it becomes impossible to function in any way. Still, there was so much compassion in Ms. Cassis’ story, along with the pain. She also captured Florida’s unique life amid decrepitude (that could be its motto) perfectly. Wow!

9 years ago

Thank you so much for your supportive comments, everyone! I’m so glad you enjoyed the story.

jackie dunn
9 years ago

Thank you for your beautiful story telling about Uncle Fred. It was excruciatingly exquisite. I couldn’t stop crying when you drew the parallel of Fred’s life with that of Kevin Allison’s before Risk (Kevin’s raw storytelling on TRY was pivotal) and that we ALL fight the same battles. Programs like Risk (the Moth, StoryCorps, etc.) provide a crucial antidote to the filtered life presented on social media. Thank you.

9 years ago

WOW, WOW, WOW! Just returned from walking my dogs and you came along and shared your touching and real story about Fred. Tears streamed down my face every time you cried as you brought me back to times when I too felt helpless and mystified by how life is too enormous and confusing to comprehend. You sound like the most lovely person and I am so grateful that there are people such as you in our world. Your recording is a podcast masterpiece. Thank you so much for accompanying us on our walk and giving me something to reflect on for many days to come.

9 years ago

So many of us can relate to having a crazy uncle/relative.. Thanks for sharing your heart felt story and saving Kevin.

9 years ago

What a beautiful and heart wrenching story, JC, thank you for sharing it with us. I also had an uncle we all lost touch with, and though we didn’t have a chance to say goodbye your story helped me a little in coming to terms with it a bit better. Thank you.

9 years ago

thanks for sharing – it must be hard to put it all out there like that. If more people listened to what others want to share, we’d be so much better off for so many reasons.

8 years ago

Thanks for all you guys do. You really help me get by during work hours laughing and crying and experiencing your pain and joy! Thanks for the touching story!

8 years ago

I already expressed this via other channels, but this is an amazing, amazing story. A month later and I’m listening for a second time, not because I don’t remember everything, but because I do. This recording is like a tattoo on my brain, joining the larger rorschach of only those rarest, most searingly beautiful and powerful works of art.

Every detail. The lizard in the pail, the crumbling, overgrown house as if dropped from a bizarre or apocalyptic fantasy. The emotions waterfalling from your voice. That your uncle couldn’t even have a single piece of gum in his last days, that he would never see again or go back to the terrible dream of that house that for him was such a refuge.

I also want to commend the editing and presentation of the recording. The ambient music that swells at the perfect moments and makes the story even more affecting.

I imagine it must be strange to have people attach words like “masterpiece” to what for you is just the recall of a painful and momentous experience, but it is. It’s a triumph of message as well as medium. It transcends the necessary artifices that surround it and becomes purely, wrenchingly, exquisitely human.

8 years ago

You’re story really hit home with me. My husband recently had a favorite cousin who was murdered by two teenaged kids (in Florida, ironically), and the relationship between this cousin and much of the family had grown distant over the years. My husband feels terrible for not reaching out and maintaining a relationship with him. I guess every family has someone who retreats into his own shell. Also, I remarked, verbatim, to some friends just a month ago that I miss having family (most of my family has passed) “because they are people who love you because they have to”. So, yes, in a lot of ways we are all similar, even if our stories vary.

Thank you for your beautiful story, JC.

8 years ago

That was the most insane story I have ever heard.

Had me choked up so bad.

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