This has been quite a hard year for my family.
The sudden death of my niece’s and nephew’s dad in a car accident in February.
The unexpected death of my father from lung cancer on my husband’s birthday in April (I think it was only about six weeks from diagnosis).
My husband’s affair was discovered in May.
My middle daughter’s second seizure in June.
My husband packed up his clothes after a fight one night and left (for probably the third time in our marriage). I ended up changing the locks on the doors and he was gone for three days before I relented and let him back home. I guess he really didn’t mean to leave permanently, just get some space (in a very dramatic way).
I thought that was enough difficulty for one year.
Apparently, the universe didn’t agree.
After the last argument my husband and I had (on December 13th)…he ended up accidentally hurting himself, really badly.
He ended up lacerating his palm when he got angry enough to try and stab a rotisserie chicken he was carving with the carving knife he was using. His hands were greasy, and his hand didn’t stop moving until it went all the way down the blade. He severed tendons, nerves and nicked an artery.
And he didn’t have any insurance. The girls and I did, but since he had a DUI a few years back, my insurance carrier dropped him.
He won’t be able to work for 3-6 months, after extensive physical therapy.
The plastic surgeon’s bill to put his hand back together was $71,000. But we were able to get that dropped down to $7,000 and put it on a payment plan. We have applied for financial assistance for the hospital bill (the room charges, not even the ancillary charges like the anaesthesiologist), but it will take 6-8 weeks to get processed.
I am only a substitute teacher and I make $61 a day. I also self-pay my own insurance and there’s really no way we can make our bills on my income. I’m also off for these two weeks and so I am not making any income at the moment.
Needless to say, I was scared and more than a bit concerned about how we will make it.
I’m reminded a lot of my blogging friend Paul’s words, “It’s in the hard that we grow…”
I worked to keep my attitude positive. I remembered a slogan from my 12 step recovery group of Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families:
“One Day at a Time”
That’s how we were going to get through this. One day at a time. And as long as I could see there was some positive action to take, I was taking it.
But there wasn’t just bad news. There have been blessings as well.
I told my youngest daughter’s school counselor what had happened and that we won’t be having much income until I could get a better job.
Within the span of a couple of days, we were given some gift cards to our local grocery store and someone from the Girl Scout troop my daughter is a part of dropped off a frozen turkey and 5 bags of groceries and the counselor called me to pick them up. There was also a $100 gift card to Target inside. Which I used to buy my daughter’s Christmas presents (I’m a procrastinator when it comes to Christmas shopping).
I learned how to cook my first turkey last week and it didn’t turn out so bad.
I posted about the accident to my facebook page and because we are facebook friends with my daughter’s softball coaches from last year and the year before and we had grown so close with their families, they all got together and collected money and gift cards to Walmart and Target. On Christmas Eve, one of the coaches dropped by our home and gave us a manila envelope with what they collected and a lasagna dinner and Christmas cookies that one of the other coaches made for us. That was what we ended up eating for Christmas Eve dinner.
We had a very modest Christmas this year at home. One special thing each and some clothes my sister bought for me to give our daughters. Rather than sponsoring a family in need at church, she sponsored my daughters this year.
I have been so overwhelmed with the events of the past few weeks (both positive and negative) but I am so incredibly blessed to know that I am surrounded by very caring, loving people.
All these blessings helped me have hope.
This hope helped me a great deal, and even though my mother in law didn’t leave a placecard and treat for me at the table or give me a gift when we went to her house for her Christmas breakfast, I felt really okay with that.
The story behind that was that apparently, my husband told her before I probably wasn’t coming to her house for Christmas, so she didn’t bother to do anything for me and when he said I was coming after all, she said, “I don’t have time to go pick up anything for her” even though all she gave the girls and my husband was gift cards. That was something that I wasn’t hurt by, at all, but I did notice. And I noticed that my husband failed to tell me that he told her I wasn’t coming and there was not going to be any gift for me.
It was only a little better…sort of…on my family’s side.
My mother suggested it might be less awkward for everyone if my husband didn’t come along to the Christmas celebration at her house this year. And my husband was okay with that, since it was going to be all sorts of awkward for him, too. They still haven’t forgiven him for having the affair and this just added to the difficult feelings they have for him. But I was touched because she did still give him a little bit of money for a Christmas gift. She didn’t have to, but she did.
I don’t think it will come as surprise to either side of our families if my husband and I end up separating, which we’ve talked about all throughout the year, but now, seems like we should do, just to keep each other safe and get some perspective.
I’m in need of a really good job before that can happen, though. And we need to get a handle on how much we really owe in medical bills. And apply for various forms of financial assistance in case I don’t get a better job anytime soon.
I’m really hoping that by this time next year, I get this huge financial mess we are in at least somewhat under control.
I’m looking forward to making some changes, and seeing how those changes might lead to better outcomes.
We shall see…