A big reason I started to post and continue to do so was to illustrate the life of a widow burdened by burdens in addition to grief after the death of a spouse - financial hardship, divorce after widowhood, lack of family support, illness and the death of other family members, having to move from one's long-time suburban home into a box (apartment), losing one's socioeconomic status and having to continue to raise children as an only parent, as well as weather the storms of daily life (big thunderstorms and milder sprinkles).
I've experienced a slew of losses in a small amount of time and it has been very difficult for me to pick up the pieces and get my feet back on the ground. I have struggled. It would have been hard enough to just have been a widow. Most of the losses that followed my husband's death were flukes of timing and circumstances - all the events involving my parents' illnesses, my Mom's eventual death and the selling of their home. To add insult to injury, just a week after my Mom's death a high level tornado stormed by my home and I was left with extensive yard damage to clean up. I mention that incident because the past six years it has been like that. One crazy thing happening directly after another. One hard situation would end to only be replaced by another. Let me tell you, it is not easy to focus on a ravaged yard when you're grieving your Mom on your own as a relatively new widow yourself.
I wanted to convey that for some of us, the losses coming after the first strike of death were far more difficult to survive.
I wanted to depict that life is fragile - one moment you can be a middle-class suburban soccer mom living a comfortable lifestyle to wake up the next day and have that familiar reality ripped from you.
I wanted to grapple with the reality of life not being fair - that you can be a good, kind, decent person and still have to face more hardship than what others seem to have to face.
I wanted to tell my story to prove that for some of us struck by poverty, it is not because we're uneducated, drug using criminals. Some of us are intelligent with even advanced degrees. But we're struck down by ill-timed circumstances and flukes of fate.
I hoped to illustrate discrepancies in our country's social services network that is supposed to help our citizens in need. I've related having to go to a food bank and apply for services such as food stamps and my state's health insurance program. Problem is, I am not eligible for any services. The economic criteria used to calculate assistance is out-of-date and no longer applicable. It is a pretty hard pill to swallow to live in the greatest nation in the world and to have fallen on hard times. Because there are some of us who will slip through the cracks and not receive assistance. The state considers my pension of $2,200.00 monthly too much to qualify for any kind of benefit. Yet, I think most of us can plainly recognize that this amount is not enough for one person, let alone three to live on. After not being able to find full-time work in my field because I've been out of the work force, as well as the Recession, I've had to go back to school just to be able to get my foot in the door and get a job with benefits.
I hoped that in maybe sharing my story, readers would ultimately be less judgmental toward others, in particular those in financial crisis.
I hoped to show that grief and loss is so far reaching. It can start out as a single domino and quickly crescendo out of control as the others in the row start toppling.
And more than anything, I wanted to share that going on living as a widow, on one's own can be the most difficult challenge to have to face. It is kind of like a never-ending circle. You're facing hardship because of the loss but then you have even more made harder because you're on your own. It just keeps going on and on and the dominoes continue to fall.