What makes me strong? What keeps me from breaking under the load we all call life?
I have been asking that question for a dozen years. My husband has been hospitalized more than 30 times since 2001. He had bladder cancer. He just kept growing tumors and finally they had to take his bladder out and put in a conduit to the ostomy that we now call Fred.
Then he had infections – and more infections and yet again, infections. Over the last 10 years we have spent our vacations in the most expensive resort in the country – the hospital. A jail cell really but it’s mostly white with nice subdued drapes and wardens dressed as nurses in navy blue.
Recently, my husband did hand to hand combat with melanoma which made a difference in how we spend our time, our money, our personal currency.
Now, he is being laid off. He will be 60 when the axe finally falls. He will be too old to employ – too young for social security or medicare. And he will still be sick, still be in the hospital 2 or 3 times a year and still be the man I love with all my heart.
I am a master’s prepared, professional who is applying for jobs as a receptionist, an administrative assistant., a dog walker, anything to get a job that will help bridge the gap between his layoff and his 65th birthday.
But I can’t get a job. We can’t sell our house. And we cannot stop the layoff that is rolling toward us at the speed of light.
How did this happen? When did we become part of the fringe that cannot sustain itself in this country – the land of the brave, the land of the free?
Welcome to America – 2012. Welcome to our country where people work and do a good job and pay their taxes and still get screwed. This is the land where the rich once again get richer and the rest of us pay for their privilege.
We”ll keep fighting. We will stay together. We will find a way, smaller, narrower but still together. But is this what is supposed to happen to people who have lived a good life? Worked hard? Helped out our families?
Who knows? All I know is that this is our lot. And this we will face together — until death do us part.