abandonment by others, cancer, dreams of success, emotional difficulties, Faith, faith in god, faith in others, faith in self, faith in the world, financial resources, gift taxes, inheritance taxes, life insurance, loss of faith, management responsibilities, master's program, pit of despair, Power of Attorney, prognosis, research work, scholarship, sheepskin, soul mate
The First Loss
(So she left. We got divorced. And my life went completely to hell.)
It didn’t go to hell all at once, but as the descent lengthened the decline rate greatly accelerated.
With wife #2 gone I was left completely alone to deal with all the emotional difficulties of a marriage gone rotten and a mother dying of cancer. We can add to that two siblings without any compunctions about not doing a damn thing to assist me in taking care of their dying mom.
Mom’s bills were piling up and there was a distinct danger of her losing her life insurance and maybe even the house and property. The city was sending me nasty, threatening notes about the property taxes and the state of the weeds in the three fields attached to the property. There was an old car with expired stickers concerning which I was being given hell.
Topping the cake, I had finished all my course work for my Master’s but still had an intense 6 month internship I had to complete to get the sheepskin. The internship was going to require working 50 hours a week in addition to reporting to the university and research work justifying my work and scholarship. We’re talking about approximately 70 hours a week in addition to all the other crap that was crashing and had crashed on top of me.
Something had to give. And fast. Otherwise I was doomed for personal internal combustion.
I dropped out of the Master’s program.
Do you remember at the beginning me listing one of the forms of losing faith as “loss of faith in self?” This is where I stepped (or was shoved) over the edge into the pit of despair. At this point I was in free fall.
I lost what I thought was my last chance to find a soul mate and found my dreams of success ended by the combination of abandonment by others and my folly of confidence in them. This compelled me to stop the last act of which I thought I was capable for self-salvation. It seemed to me to be the final act of not completing something of value which I had started. So thus also started (or completed depending on perspective) the loss of faith in others.
Loss of faith in self and loss of faith in others now gone (and loss of faith in the world already a given) the only thing left was a loss of faith in God. My faith in God, as already mentioned, was such that I didn’t feel that the Man Upstairs played an active role in anything that happened anyway. So I was left only with loss of faith in self, and that ship (it seemed) just sailed.
But I still had duties to perform. I had a mother that was dying. It was my responsibility to take care of her as best I could to the end of her days. The doctors had given her one year to live and I couldn’t get her in a comfortable condition with the means at my disposal through that period.
So besides the time I had gained by dropping out of the Master’s program, I had to free up financial resources and simultaneously reduce management responsibilities. Acting as Power of Attorney, I sold the properties and rented an apartment for the two of us.
Mom was accustomed to living in a large space. She had mountains of possessions that would not fit in anything like what normal people would consider a reasonable space. I literally trashed mountains of possessions. A mansion sized house, an enormous barn and a wood shop were emptied of things both loved and just junk occupying space. Most of it was hauled by wheelbarrow to the street to be picked up by the city to haul to the landfill.
Five acres were exchanged for NO acres and thousands and thousands of square feet of living space were exchanged for 1500 sq ft. Now 1500 square is a very large apartment but please consider that it was just 20% of what she previously had. I jammed everything I could into that space and we set up shop to await the end of her life.
Thousands and thousands of dollars were given to my two sisters from the sale of the property to avoid inheritance taxes (spread out in separate checks to avoid gift taxes). I myself received an equal amount to pay off old debts. Mom was by this time about 8 months from the end time of her prognosis. With just about enough left over to pay her final living expenses plus a few thousand left over we began the death watch.
Well she fooled us all. A year came and went and the doctors gave her ANOTHER 6 months to a year. This should have been a clue that the doctors themselves were clueless. But our faith in medicine continued.
(to be continued)