I’m going to a be a bit of a downer today I’m afraid.. bear with me.
Sometimes I wonder why bad things happen to good people. I mean you go through your life making the right choices, (for the most part, ok, so there were some pretty stupid things you may have done, but in the scope, they really weren’t all that bad) doing the right things, being kind to others, raising your children the best that you can and try to earn a hard days pay.
Then why? I mean why does the bad still happen?
Having been one of the casualties of the economic downturn, I feel that I have earned the right to bitch and moan. I have to tell you there is nothing scarier than having lost your job, but what is even scarier is having to be the husband (yes, my husband) that has to break the news to his wife and family. You see, I’m a stay-at-home wife and mother (ahem..Director of Household Services), I work only very part-time as Teachers Aide and I’m trying to also pursue Nursing School. So as you can see, my husband is the sole provider for a family of five. Let me first say that I cannot pretend to know how much of a burden that alone is, I can’t imagine having to feel and carry that kind of stress. I mean I have stresses, but nothing like that kind of stress. My stresses are more like paying the bills (add accountant and bookkeeper to my job title while you’re at it), taking care of the kids and animals (kids/animals..kind of one in the same..no?) and keeping up with the housework.
I’m sure you can imagine what it might have been like the day my husband had to tell us that he had gotten laid off. I remember the night so clearly. “They just let me go”…silence….”What?” (make no mistake, I heard him the first time, but my mouth spoke on its own) the next few hours were spent crying, getting angry, crying, and trying to figure out what exactly had just happened that made our whole world come to a screeching halt. I mean there were no warnings, no writing on the wall, no whispering from other employees warning one another that something is going down..nada..zilch. So yea, we were shocked to say the least. I couldn’t even tell you how those next days played out, but they were not pretty. You sort of dust yourself off after you allow yourself to be angry and upset and you think, “Ok, he’ll find work, he’s good at what he does and he has an impressive resume'”.
What I can tell you is, all that does not matter. You have now become one of a million other people who have resumes’ that are just as impressive as his. You still try to remain positive as the interviews start to happen and the calls start to come in. One of these jobs has GOT TO PAN OUT..right? RIGHT? WRONG. The days all start to roll into one another and the phone calls eventually start to slow down to a random trickle. People who say they will help you, eventually stop calling and stop offering help, because, well..because they have their own lives to attend to. Those well wishers who offer their thoughts and prayers, have run out of things to say, so they stop saying them..they stop asking how you are, and all your left with is, silence. Silence is the last thing you need when your going through something like this, because then your left to your own thoughts and your world of “What if’s”…”What if we can’t pay the mortgage next month?”, “What if we lose our health insurance, because the Cobra is almost impossible to afford?”, “What if your kids have to go without their medication?”, “What if…” It’s paralyzing after a while.
Every once in a while you get that call for an Interview, and if all goes well, you actually are asked to come back for a second interview. You get that sparkle of hope, and you start to think of all the things that need to get paid and what that first paycheck will go to (no, there has not been an offer yet, but , if you have been where we have been, you will know what I speak of). A day goes by, and then another, and then you begin to wonder what is taking so long? Which is usually followed by my husband’s response, “Honey, these things can take time”. Okay, how much time? (because in my mind, I’m thinking of a ton of bills that don’t have that much time). Then the phone call comes..”You were an excellent candidate, and it was such a hard decision to make, but we went with someone else”.
Your mind kind of goes numb, and then comes the range of emotions that one would expect. Anger, frustration, sadness and eventually..bitterness..yes, bitterness. Bitterness comes in when you have gone through many months of these types of experiences, hopes that go way up, only to be let way down. Honestly, how do you keep your sanity about you?
That job offer finally comes in after what seems like an eternity, and you slowly (SLOWLY) start to try to rebuild your life; but what I can assure you is that something changes in you when you go through something like this. You lose your trust and your hope for the world you live in. You question who your real friends really are and figure out the ones who are not. The real friends are the ones who are not afraid to call you and ask how you are. The ones who offer you to come and be with them even if no words are spoken. The ones who offer you a cold beer and a warm fire to sit in front of on a cool late summer night, where you can forget about how awful your life is for a couple of hours. Where your kids can go and run around and just be kids, where you can laugh for a while. Laugh..
When people go through a tragedy of any sort, the normal and immediate things people start to say are, “It will be okay”, “I’ll pray for you and your family”, “Let me know if I can do anything” (please, don’t say this unless your really ready to do something, it is not something you put out there and then sit and hope that they never ask..because, sometimes we do ask), “Hugs”, “You’ll get through this.” (really? we will? and if we don’t? If we don’t can I come back to you and say, now what? You said we’d get through this). Do me a favor? Follow through. Follow through on all your well wishes..pick up the phone and call, get in your car and come over.
The one thing that I have learned is, as much as people think they mean well, they have their own lives to live, and that’s ok; but at the end of the day, when they have all gone home and the well meaning words stop, your faced with silence and the hope that eventually your life will get back to normal (your normal).
It does eventually go back to somewhat normal, but your then left with the aftermath, and your left to sort through what was once some sort of stability. Your now left with a certain uneasiness that never really goes away. You realize that you have lost a little bit of trust along the way, and your step just doesn’t have that swing it used to have, and your left with an extra wrinkle that you swear was not there 6 months ago.
But you go on and you continue to forge ahead, because, well..what else can you do? Other people have it worse (that is something that you tire of hearing after a while too) and some people can’t move ahead. We can, yes we are one of the lucky ones for right now. I say for right now, because, something changes in you forever, you become skeptical and you start to live your life wondering when the other shoe is going to drop..make no mistake, it will drop..it always does. The question then becomes, how prepared will you be?
And if your a friend to that person, be their friend. Make that phone call, show up on their doorstep..just be there, follow through on your words; we don’t forget that sort of thing. We appreciate it, and it makes things just a little bit easier when your there for us.
If your reading this and you were that friend to us, we love you..we appreciate you..and we thank you for walking along with us during our crazy and uncertain life. You have made a difference. You really have. I hope that someday, we can return the favor.
BUT most of all..I’m ready. I’m ready for some sort of stability. I’m ready for things to settle down now.