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.