Sunday, October 30, 2011

Yet Another Hurdle

Sometimes the world just seems to explode. Yesterday, I got home from picking up some cat food during the afternoon and noticed that they towed our van from the complex parking lot. We had not been driving it since my oldest is at college and my youngest is now driving the newer sporty sedan I got them in the spring. I am still driving my ancient sedan because the gas mileage is so good. I should mention that a rear flat tire appeared mid-month but I didn't have the funds to have it fixed.

Anyway, I became somewhat hysterical - tearful, and very, very despondent. Didn't even make it through the end of the month before another conflict had to rear its ugly head. It's $172.50 to pay for the tow, plus $40.00 a day thereafter. I don't get our pension check until the 1st or my paycheck from the restaurant until then either so there will be a couple days tacked on. Then I'll have to figure out how to get someone to change the tire. As if the poor aren't suffering enough. Lets sock it to them some more.

I had really hoped that the coming month wouldn't involve scrambling to meet my bills. I called my sister as a last resort because I was feeling so low. She said she would talk to her husband and get back to me with their advice, which turned out to be to let the car go - forget it - let them take it to a junk yard at the end of the month. Turns out that was Sam's advice too. I always wonder at the ease in which people can give away other's possessions. I don't want to let the van go. We'll need it when my oldest is home from college. I have to look ahead to the future somewhat. I'm not in a position to just go out and buy new vehicles.

No one said, "Tough luck" or "Bad break." Sam told me he didn't know what to say to me so therefore he wouldn't say anything. Really? "I'm sorry for you" is too hard to eek out? I found myself getting angry at my entire family - that has been an emotion that has subsided over the past year but reared its ugly head again. My stay-at-home brother in law to his two high school kids couldn't offer to perhaps change the tire for me?

I've asked for very little of my family during widowhood. No one ever offered to help review my finances (out of CPAs and an attorney), assist with home maintenance, or provide childcare when the boys were little. Hell, no one in my family ever brought over a meal in the early days. If I spoke about the pain of my loss I was looked at as though something was wrong with me. It is hard enough just being a widow and only parent of grade school kids. To be poor on top of it and then have such little family support seems almost a crime. Not that anyone should ever be widowed but it sure makes one wonder about the great unfairness of life and all of that.

It will be necessary for me to take out a payday loan or not pay a bill this month in order to try and save the van. If I can't swing it, I will not have a choice but to let it go. But not without some kind of fight.

I am left with the realization of how alone I really am and how slight my support system really is. Widows need to feel connected with supportive voices and bodies. Even more for widowed parents. We are left to keep fragmented families together and to constantly keep our children uplifted on our own. It makes sense that it is necessary for us to be lifted up and supported at least some of the time. How can we keep it all together and raise children on our own without some sort of support system cheering us on and offering us strength and compassion?

To have this so lacking in my own life points to the cruel reality of life as it sometimes turns out. I am now hit with the hard realization that in order to have more support, love and compassion in my life I'll have to be willing to venture out of my cocoon and seek it. Fact is, being poor and struggling doesn't lend itself to the much needed positive self-esteem necessary for socializing and all of that.

I started blogging in part because I was aware that I'd have to broaden my horizons in order to obtain some understanding and support. But I think people in general are self-centered and don't like focusing on the problems of others. I believe it is very difficult for those who haven't been widowed to have any comprehension of widowhood, nor the reality of raising children as an only parent, left to pick up often shambled, broken pieces of life. My sister's comment yesterday illustrated this point. She said everyone has things that come up every month. But some people are in better situations to meet those challenges than others is my addition.

On this note, I feel as though maybe it is time for me to shift my focus. Towards creating and building a new life for myself rather than focusing on surviving this middle-aged widowhood. Something to ponder at least.


  1. Perhaps "letting" the van go would be best, economically at least. Not only would you not have to come up with the bail money, but you also would save on repairs, registration and insurance for the one extra vehicle. Hopefully your two sons could work out sharing the other newer sporty sedan when your oldest is home from college. Worth a thought.

    I'm sorry you're not feeling supported.

  2. Hi WiTM. I was shocked at how little support your family has been. Not even an "I'm so sorry" !?! Then I thought of something I've read recently, which says that stress robs us of our emotional availability to others. In one of my sibling's case that's true. But self centeredness also robs us of availability, too. Where has the kindness gone? Sometimes, instead, strangers are there for us in times of need. That was the case for me this weekend during the Nor'easter, when I had to abandon my car in the snow.

    If you don't want to give up your van, then do not give up your van! You've lost enough already, and you have a sound reason for hanging on to it. Keep on going, woman!

    May I share something I read last January that inspired me when I was scared? "It is time to become unsettled and strive for what brings wholeness and contentment to our lives, whatever that may be for each of us." Author: you.

  3. Thanks Anonymous for your comments but I don't want to give up the van. It would be difficult for the guys to share a vehicle during the summer - they both work at different locations, have different sets of friends and the oldest will probably be going to summer school - plus we'll be moving and I want the van for its size. But I appreciate the points you raise.

    Flo - You've hit the nail on the head. What I've found over the years that would make the most difference is simply an acknowledgment and/or some sympathy. As these words cost absolutely nothing I am always perplexed as to why they are so rarely given.

    Anyway, I kept calm, carried on and found a towing place down the street who will pick up the van tomorrow and fix the flat. Yes, the whole mess will set me back about $300 but that is far cheaper than buying a vehicle in the future.

    The weather on the east coast has been a reminder to me of what is to come this winter and I have to say I was happy we didn't get hit but of course, feel sorry for everyone experiencing the storm.

    Thanks for your kindness.

  4. Hello--

    It seems like the cost of maintaining 3 vehicles is a lot for you esp. since both kids work...can't they contribute something towards this?


  5. Thank you Susan for your suggestion. My oldest is in college and not working now. I hope he will be able to go back to his job during the holiday break and that money will need to go to his book fees for second semester - they were $600 this first semester. My youngest doesn't make much and as his job is seasonal, it will be ending this weekend. As it is, both boys have paid for their own clothing, school events, girl friend gifts, etc. They've been very good about picking up those costs. Having a car is about the one luxury my boys have had but I will see what we can do in the future to reduce transportation costs - I wanted to be able to do it on my terms instead of being forced to.