As many of you know, Oscar lost his job almost a year ago (it will be a year on April 13th, I think). My cat, the one I was given before she was weaned is almost 18 years old and has an inoperable nasal tumor. Because of Oscar's company letting him go, we have until the end of August to vacate this house.
On the surface, all these things seem like big blots of negativity, but having lived within the parameters for a while, I look on these things as a source of blessing. And no, I am far from a Pollyanna type (just ask my three brothers!). I have been thinking that it would be good to share my thought process, though, in case it can help someone else get through a difficult time.
I'll try and take things in order:
Oscar losing his job. He hated that job. He was not treated with respect, he had been falsely promised he could grow and learn into a higher position and the new supervisor was out for blood, doing her level best to get rid of anyone who had been with the company more then a handful of years. Because he lost his job and because his family helped, he has been able to gain certifications that will allow him to work in a field he has always enjoyed, that makes the most of his unique and particular strengths.
Because he lost his job, we (like so many) were forced to file bankruptcy. A year before he lost his job we had taken strong steps to get rid of our credit card debt and pay down what we owed as quickly as possible. January of 2011, the credit card companies raised the stakes again and we found ourselves having made very little headway despite a full year of sacrifice and living on very little extra money. To add to that, the value of our home plummeted until the amount we still owed on the mortgage was many times the estimated value.
In addition, over the almost 10 years we have lived here my ability to walk has gotten less and less, and this tiny house is not wheelchair accessible. Without the bankruptcy, Oscar and I would have been trapped by our mortgage for at least another decade.
Because of the bankruptcy, Oscar and I have been able to use our parsimonious skills to live well within the unemployment insurance. Our families have helped with larger expenses like getting tires for the car and making sure we have enough to purchase our prescriptions (naturally, we have no insurance).
We are going to be able to walk away from this home and find a fully accessible place when the time comes. We need to learn where Oscar's new job will be before apartment hunting, but as soon as that is settled, we can begin. We have already been sorting and discarding any thing we don't wish to move.
Buddha's illness. My heart is broken, and I will miss her terribly. She has been my constant daily companion for almost 20 years. But if she had died suddenly, I would not be able to cherish the time we have now. The tumor is slowly growing, but she is still energetic and has a good appetite. She is showing no signs of pain. I am keeping careful watch and we will take care of her until the time comes that she is no longer enjoying life.
I have learned from the past year that the worst of a negative change is tied up with the initial shock, followed by the worry and stress. Yes, we have stress, and plenty to keep us worried. But we also have a fall-back plan and support from our relatives. It is just us and our cats, no children who would be moved from a school district and their home. We have it pretty good, comparatively. We have enough money to pay all our bills and will have enough until at least the beginning of June thanks to an extension from the government.
Oscar works diligently every day to find his new job, and I have plenty to keep me busy.
My advice to anyone who has received bad news is to let yourself grieve. Change often means loss. This is harder when it is a loved one going through health issues, and I am not at all saying all will be roses and sunshine, but I am saying allow yourself to live with the sadness, let it run it's natural course. After ward, your life will be different, but there will still be things that are of value, that you can enjoy. Goals to work toward. I say these days that happiness is a choice. I add that happiness can live in the same heart as a loss, it is just more difficult to capture, and takes time to bloom again.