I had an insightful day yesterday. Things have gotten so bad for me that I’ve become pretty hopeless. Day after day, month after month, despair, grief and hopelessness consume me. I don’t do much of anything anymore. I play mindless games on the computer, watch TV every evening and night, and do little else. Some days I don’t even get dressed. I don’t have much money. I lost not only my husband but his income as well. I took out Chapter 13 last summer and most of my money will go to those payments for the next five years. I thought I’d have my tax returns every spring to give me a boost but then I found out they’ll take those too. I get money. Thank God I planned for a decent retirement for myself and it should be sufficient but I’m supporting seven kids and grandkids. Every time I buy a bottle of laundry detergent, it serves seven, toothpaste times seven, food times seven. My expenses are crazy.
I don’t know what to do about it. David gives me as much money as he can but it isn’t enough to pay for all the expenses for him and his two children. All he does is work so he’s not that involved with caring for them. I fix dinner for them every night, I help them with homework, I drive them to all their dental appointments and doctor appointments. Darryl is now completely blind and I’m his sole source of support. He gets $400 a month from disability and he gives me $300. I know it’s all he can do but it doesn’t come near to covering his expenses. Again, I’m the one that does all his shopping and takes him back and forth to appointments. A friend picked him up to spend the next month in North Carolina but I have to pick up a bunch of prescriptions for him today, go to the post office and mail them to him. Andrew and Steven are another matter. Steven went back to school yesterday and he’s self-sufficient but I just had him home for the past month. Andrew works two jobs now but I only charge him $200 a month because I want him to save his money for a car and to get a place to live. He’s doing great at it. He’s saved up close to $5,000 and can’t wait to move into his own place but he still needs to save a little more. He doesn’t know anything about taking care of a car or maintaining it so I feel like he needs to buy a good one and that’s not cheap.
Everyone is eating me alive and I don’t know what to do about it. My own car is really starting to act up. Seems like it some big problem every month. Donnie was great about fixing anything mechanical but he’s not here anymore. David isn’t nearly as competent but he tries. Still, he’s never here either. Darryl is pretty good but now he’s blind and can’t do anything.
So, yesterday, I’m taking my crappy old car on a seven hour drive to take Steven back to school and I’m a nervous wreck. Steven loaded all his stuff up the night before, we get out there and the damn thing won’t start. I was so frustrated! I called David and he talked me through hooking up the battery charger to it and I got it started but, despite his assurances that everything would be fine, I was afraid to shut it off. I drove all the way to eastern Kentucky and, every time I had to pee, Steven stayed in the car. And I had to pee a LOT. New blood pressure medication and it was really working. I dropped Steven off at school and then headed home. It wasn’t 45 minutes until I had to pee again and I was afraid to shut off the car. So I just drove. David tried to fix my heater (which quit working a couple of weeks ago) and he was only able to get it to go on. If I shut if off, it doesn’t come back on. So I’m driving and driving, the heat is blistering and I keep rolling down the window when it gets to be too much but it’s 30 degrees outside so even cracking a window gets cold pretty quick. I kept thinking, “Okay, try to hold on until you get to a busy area so there are people around if the car won’t start back up.” And I held it and held it until I got to the point where it was only another hour and a half, then an hour, and then I figured I could wait until I got home.
And all the while, I’m driving through the mountains and there’s snow on the ground and the sky is brilliant blue with heavy dark clouds here and there. It starts snowing but just enough to catch the sun on the flakes and it’s beautiful. Daylight began to fade and the sunset was amazing. Almost neon pink and orange and I could see areas where it was snowing on the horizon. And it just came to me. “Sell the property in Florida.”
I never wanted to sell the property. I’ve resisted it since Donnie died. But every time I get the urge to go there, something comes up and I can’t go. And I’ve begun to realize that my entire attachment to it is through my memories of my husband. All the time we spent clearing and building and finding peace and solitude there. All our dreams of spending winters down there are gone. We will never go down there for months at a time and just grow old together. It’s not going to happen. I thought about how I could buy a car and have some money in the bank. Maybe take a cruise or a vacation. I began to think about my intentions of saving it for my family. I’ve devoted my entire life to caring for my family. It’s time to take care of myself.
Those thoughts grew as I drove and I thought about quitting smoking and dieting and exercise and how miserable I am. Yes, I’m grieving and I think I always will. I keep waiting for it to get better but I think it’s time for me to take some responsibility to make it better.
New year’s resolutions. It sounds so cliche’. And I’m not calling it resolutions. I’m just kind of soaking up that feeling of….possibilities.