So there I was last night, lying in my bed with a horrifically aching back, throwing myself a big ol’ pity party just for one (world’s smallest violin playing just for me…wah wahhhhh) when I thought of my mom and her common phrase “no matter how bad it is, someone else has it worse”. I remembered the story of my mother in pain, struggling to walk, and telling my dad how someone always had it worse…just as the elevator in front of them opened and a one legged man stood before them. I blogged about it. (This will all make more sense I’m sure if you read the prior blogs, but if not, just take it at face value I might be a bit nuts and keep reading this one at least.) I blogged about life handing you lessons. I meant every single word. Yet life has a funny way of making SURE you got the lesson, and just in case I hadn’t, life handed me a refresher course, and a final exam today.
I headed into work this morning with somewhat better, albeit still abysmal morale. Without going into too much detail (ya don’t bite the hand that feeds ya, ya hear now?) I was possibly losing 2 days of pay this week for the hurricane, or I had to borrow against whatever vacation time I would get next year. Now, all my paid leave last year went to my kids getting the stomach flu or other ebola type cooties that keeps a mama home except for 3 days where I made a stressful pilgrimage to Vegas (see prior blogs for deets on that). Going unpaid was not an option as my husband’s business was shut down all week due to lack of power. I was bummed. So bummed, I awoke and decided that said company would get me with unwashed hair today. I pulled it into a high ponytail as a tiny picket sign of my silent protest. The pity party was over, but the hangover remained.
After a short while, I spoke to a customer who called in. I’d spoken to her before, and her story was tragic. I won’t go into too much detail in the interest of privacy and such, but suffice it to say that her story was robbed a few years ago. During the armed robbery, her husband shot the intruder, the intruder shot her husband. Both died, and an accomplice escaped. Since that time, she has been threatened, robbed again, and harassed. There is a conspiracy involved here that would BLOW YOUR MIND. Still, she has persevered. Only now, after being robbed yet again, has she decided to close her business and move on. I can’t imagine that any other word other than bitterness would come to mind, but when speaking to her, she speaks of healing, blessings, and moving forward. She is my hero of the moment. I was so impressed by her that I can’t even fully put it on paper (screen). My pity party hangover lifted.
Flash forward to this evening, and I was scouring twitter and facebook. (Mr. is back at work today and I finally can enjoy bad reality TV, beer, my couch and twitter feeling no guilt that I should be doing something else) One of my favorite authors who lives out west posted a story about her friend in New Jersey who had lost EVERYTHING from the storm. The woman and her husband had lost their home, their cars, and insurance would cover none of it. (renters insurance). The family had grabbed their dog, their cell phones for communication, and run. They don’t even have spare underwear. They are living in a firestation at the moment, scared and with nothing.
But it gets worse.
The husband worked at Ground Zero for 9 months after 911. He has since been diagnosed with terminal cancer of the esophagus. His oncology meds were the only other things they grabbed when they left the home.
I have mentioned my mom dying from cancer, but I haven’t yet told you the full story of how cancer has effected my life. That’s to come. What I can tell you is that cancer doesn’t just destroy the person who has it, it destroys caregivers, families, willpower and hope. Losing my mom destroyed a part of me. Losing my grandfather to cancer of the esophagus and my last memories of how the disease affected him destroyed a piece of me too. I felt a connection to this family. I looked at the wife’s fb page. Red hair, sassy. I looked at her posts from when Sandy hit. Comedic at first…a bit sarcastic, but clearly showing some nervousness.Then wry. Then the fear set in. Then devastation and exhaustion. She is Homeless. She has a husband with cancer and 2 sons. What does she have?
She has little old me. Why? Because life has presented me with my “one legged man” that I spoke about last night, and dammit, life, I am listening! I have no money, but I have heart, and I have kind friends. I told her I will try to find her some help…clothes, a toothbrush…socks, undies…for her and her family through my FB people and my twitter followers, as well as anyone who reads my blog. There is a link on my TL to a donation site, and I have her information here:
297 route 72W #111 suite 35
Manahawkin, NJ 08050
She needs: well, she has NOTHING but her family, her dogs, and her husband’s oncology meds. They have clothes on their backs and nothing else. I am sending a winter coat and likely some toiletries, maybe some shirts.
Her: size 16/18 pants. shirts: size large. 9.5 shoes.
The husband and sons: XL sweatpants, XXL shirts. 30/30 jeans. medium or large shirts. Size 11 sneakers.
Anything will help.
This is my one legged man, life, and I’m listening.
I’m gonna go kiss my babies now.