Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ripple Effect

My son's Valentine gift arrived in the mail yesterday. I am surprised the decorative rock was not damaged as he used one of those padded envelopes. I found the card and gift very touching and they certainly arrived on a day when I needed some cheering up and hope.

On Monday, the restaurant I work at was closed. It was unexpected. I worked that day cleaning the interior and packing. Also, on Tuesday. That helped - being with some of the others I have known the past year. We were able to commiserate and talk to each other. The mood was sad and co-workers were upset. I am surprised at how quickly it takes to dismantle a business. By Tuesday the signs outside the building were gone. I thought of the people I have met and gotten to know - the weekly regulars. How there was no warning and no chance to say goodbye. Even for this piddly little low-level job I felt a sense of loss. This job provided us with groceries for the past year and gave me a sense of direction and purpose for getting up each morning. I was supposed to start serving, which would have given me extra coming in via tips, which were pretty good - some servers were making $500.00 weekly. I would have been happy with anything!

I think about the ripple effect. How so many people will end up being influenced by the close of this restaurant. The ones hardest hit will be the hourly employees and this in turn will impact families having to struggle even more. Despite what news reports state, I don't think we're out of the woods yet economically as a country. Businesses are still failing, people are still out of work, others continue to lose their homes.

Although I fared pretty well Monday and Tuesday, yesterday was a bit of a crash. I had been told that I could "transfer" to another location but met with one of the other managers who told me there aren't any slots open. Another woman my age (server) was also told that there is no guarantee she will receive any hours at a new location. Some co-workers reported that the local businesses and restaurants said business is slow and they aren't doing any hiring now. Then I started to catastrophesize (sp?), as I do when under extreme pressure and fear.

It is a horrible downward spiral - I become immobilized and anticipate the worse - we will become homeless, I'll have no food for my son/sons, we won't be able to drive (no gas or $ for car insurance). "Tsk, tsk'" people wag their fingers. Put on your brave face and smile and start pounding the pavement again. I don't feel inspired, I feel defeated, broken and unable to stand. I was just trying to last a couple more months before I could move. To have to rise up yet again and pull it together...

I am still waiting to hear if they can use me at another location. I think I qualify for unemployment, although it is a very small amount. I am realizing that I am not a strong person in the face of adversity/stress. I do so much better with a partner. In all the years of marriage, I never acted, felt, responded, thought etc. like I do now - empty, exhausted, hopeless and weak. Sometimes I hate this person I have become in widowhood.

The hardest part of the past few days was driving home on Monday and Tuesday knowing there was no one at home to talk to about all this. That is what I miss the most - having a person who has got your back and your best interests at heart when you face a setback.

I am more resolved than ever to upgrade my social services qualifications so I can work with the under-privileged, those hurting and under-served. Having been there, I will never be one of those "tsk, tsking" with disapproval. I also know that when I am out of the woods and on my feet again, I will kiss the ground every day I wake up and say a prayer of thanks. I just have to get there and it looks like the road is still a bit longer - I haven't been given a shortcut for these final, couple months. It sucks, it is hard and I am just plain tired of this life. Widowhood in and of itself under the best of circumstances is a challenge.


  1. Oh, WitM, I am so sorry. This is a terrible development. This shouldn't happen!! I know you don't have a beloved partner who 'has your back'. Please let me know how I can help, because words like 'hang in there' just aren't going to cut it.

  2. Yes, I am sorry too, I can't believe what I was reading...I agree "hang in there" just won't cut it - I wish I could be a person you could talk to to sort things out. Let me know how I can help too...

  3. I'm so sorry you have yet another huge hurdle.  My heart feels for you and I'm sincerely praying for you.  You have been such an inspiration to me and I know that exhausted, weak, tired, hopeless yuck you speak of.  It's days like those I turn to your blog because I see all you've gone through and you give me hope.  Widowhood complicated by rearing children alone and financial duress, in my mind, is living purgatory.  When it's our turn to be home with God, I think we should get a Fastpass to the front of the line.  :)

    A fellow widow reminded me of Psalm 23 and it brought me something to meditate on, saying "I give up, God.  My life is beyond me.  Way beyond me.  I'm at my breaking point and I'm giving it to you.  Widowhood wasn't my doing.  It is kinda your fault, creating my husband human and all..." She pointed out the phrase "walk through the shadow of the valley of death." Death has cast quite the shadow on this walk through life.  

    As always, no winning lottery ticket magically appears after I pray this  (I think that's a different Psalm). I guess it gives me a reassurance that we were designed to need Him while spending our days in this life and therefore He must be designed to help somehow.  

    I don't want to sound like I'm giving platitudes.  I hurt for you because I get it.  I wanted you to know I admire you.  I'm praying that you find some comfort in your faith - God holding you through this tough time.  I pray you land a fulfilling job that pays well with enjoyable coworkers.

    GM, Widow from WA
    Mom of 3 young girls

    P.S.  Prior to being a stay at home mom, I was a counselor, too.  I'm praying I can be licensed so I can get to work again and that my pain can be compartmentalized enough to be a well-functioning, good therapist again.  Are you looking to get back into the field?

  4. I too hit rock-bottom recently. My son was accepted into a prestigious performing arts school for post-grad studies. On his first day there 1000s of kms from home, he had a seizure and had to be hospitalised. I was inconsolable, but as I sat in the waiting room an opera duet was played on the television (how often does that happen?), one that he has sung with his best friend. That sign that everything will be all right. What is your sign? It is there and may not be what you expect, but it will be there. I wish you all the best, and hope for the future.

  5. First, I would like to say how sweet it was that your son sent you a Valentine gift. You have raised very special young men!

    Like those who have written above, I am so very sorry for the loss of your job. You have been through such difficulty and have persevered with the hope of better things to come and then this happens. There are no words! Please know that there are those who care about you, would love to help in some way, and pray for you. We continue to support you even if it is just by reading your blog and trying to encourage. I so feel that pain of not having someone/my George to talk to when things are rough -- and they are rough right now. There's that empty spot that will never go away.

    Love you dear one!

  6. Flo & Nancy - Bless you for getting that "just hang in there" advice won't cut it. That in and of itself is very helpful and comforting to me right now and what I need to hear. Thank you both!

    GM - I know there are some readers out there who have been critical that I have been unable to find full-time work in my field. But I have to admit that at times on this path, there was no way that I could be a successful counselor attending to the needs of others. I had to deal and address the immense grief and loss in my life first. It has taken me years to get to the point where I feel safe, qualified and ready to be of support to others and that is what I am going to be concentrating on once my boys are away at school - updating my counseling training so I can be certified/licensed. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Pinkgigi - I appreciate your sharing the events that happened with your son. Oh my gosh! I would have been beside myself if my son had a seizure and been hospitalized. I haven't received a sign yet but I'll be looking. Or maybe one has been sent and I haven't seen it yet for the sign it is. Thank you for your good wishes.

    Dearest Beth - Love you as well and always think of you. Just reading all of the kind words sent to me and the blessings and faith give me hope that we'll make it through this - we will make it through this!