Six months ago, life was awesome. Hubby had a secure job, we had enough money to go out for dinner now and then, and we were saving for a trip to Disney World. Six months ago, we made resort reservations (we were going to stay in one of the new Pirate Rooms!), we made dining reservations (so many fun and interesting restaurants to choose from!) and we chattered excitedly about our week in paradise. For Christmas, Hubby surprised me with tickets to see Cirque du Soleil on our trip, and I cried. I had wanted to see Cirque du Soleil since I was a teenager; it was an experience I had always wanted but never quite dared to dream of.
Six months ago, our life was simple. Six months ago feels more like about a hundred years ago.
In January, Hubby lost his job suddenly. Oh crap, that was scary. But he signed up for unemployment and hit the (virtual) pavement, looking for work. Funny thing about the unemployment, though. It didn’t come through for us. At all. He was denied benefits because of an administrative screw up on his employer’s end, so he appealed. Since we never actually got the unemployment we needed and deserved, we had to make the tough decision to cancel our vacation. At least we had that money to help us through, though.
Poor BB. He was so sad and he cried so much when we told him we’d have to give up going to Disney World this year. But we told him, promised him, swore to him that we would go again. Maybe not this year, but eventually we’d make it back. He’s a great kid and a he accepted the loss of our dream trip amazingly well. He accepted that we couldn’t go out to eat anymore, buy random books or even run to the store every couple of days like a pro. He helped me inventory our pantry and made a sign for the pantry door that says “Kitchen Shop…The Only Shop At Home!”
We were okay. We were plugging along, trying to pick up the pieces of the mess unemployment made of our lives. But the money just kept not coming and not coming. The hole under our feet kept getting bigger and bigger. We were on unstable ground and it was getting hard to find footing.
Then our cat got cancer. It came on suddenly and we had to make the terrible, awful, horrible, no good decision to put him down.
Poor BB was so sad. Saying goodbye to his Pnut was probably one of the most heartbreaking things he’d ever gone through. It hurt him so much that he said he’d gladly have traded Disney World for Pnut. Oh, my sweet boy. How do you comfort a child who has a broken heart?
A week went by and Hubby’s new employer said they no longer needed someone out here, but if he was willing to relocate to the Dallas area, they had a position open for him there. We sat on it, not sure what to do, how to proceed. Because his current position is 100% commission, we still didn’t have money coming in, even though he was working 13 hours a day. All of our financial reserves were depleted. It was clear we couldn’t afford to stay put, but we couldn’t afford a move. Gah! So much shit all at once!
On the day we decided to tell BB we were moving, Hubby and I dropped him off at music class and we went looking for boxes. We took them home, I cried for all we had lost up to that point, I pulled my shit together, and went to pick BB up. We decided to take him out for lunch (Chick-Fil-A was a rare treat at that point after Hubby’s job loss) and then we’d tell him that we were moving.
I had been crying all day, and I wasn’t terribly hungry. My nuggets kept getting stuck in my throat; swallowing proved to be nearly impossible. But we got through the meal. We got in the car and on a whim I looked at my phone. I had just missed a call from my grandparents–they had left a voice mail.
Sweetie, this is Grandpa. You need to call us on the cell right away. We need to talk to you. We love you, Moms Eye. Bye.
Grandpa? He never calls. My grandma sometimes calls if it’s been more than a week since she’s talked to me and she’ll leave a message asking me to call right away. I always call and it’s always something like:
Oh, everything’s fine. I just haven’t heard from you and I wanted to make sure you are okay.
If it had been my grandmother calling, I would have blown it off for an hour or two. We were on the way home to tell BB that we had to move away from the only home he’s ever known. But something was niggling at me. My grandpa has dementia, or at least the beginnings of dementia, and something about him calling just had me worried. I told hubby I needed to call back. He put the car into reverse as I called. My grandpa picked up on the second ring.
Hi, Hijita. Grandma needs to talk to you, hold on…
Hello? Moms Eye? (she was crying)
Grandma, what’s wrong?
(sobbing, swallowing) Jeremy. He died, Hijita.
What?! When? What?! How?!
Yesterday, honey. He had a seizure and died. Can you make it to Arkansas?
Uh, I uh…He’s dead? Oh god…I have to go…I can’t breathe right now. I have to go. I love you Grandma. I’ll call later. I have to go now.
Hubby glanced at me. I wasn’t crying I was just sitting there, stunned. “So who died?” he asked.
My brother. Jer. Jer died. Shit. Shit. Shit. My brother…RAAAAAAA!
Hubby drove us. I think I called my mother from the car, but I don’t remember. Maybe I didn’t. Probably I didn’t. We got a couple of minutes from home and Hubby looked into the backseat at BB. Then he looked at me and said “Let’s do this like a band-aid. BB, we have to move.”
Oh, my son’s face crumpled. I started to cry, he started to cry, Hubby pulled into the garage. I got a drink of water and we all went to the patio. I pulled BB into my lap and held him while Hubby explained that we had to leave our house and our town; that we’d have to move to another state. Like a zombie I told him about the great things there are out there: Six Flags, lakes, museums…
Fortunately, we had a play date set up, so we were able to have our talk about moving and then I could take him to his friend’s house. My intention had been to stay and hang out, but it occurred to me that there was a lot to be done, a lot to take care of for my brother. So Hubby drove and we dropped him off with friends.
I came home and I called people. I called lots of people. I made plans, I dealt with shit like a pro.
The next day, we dropped BB off with friends and Hubby and I went to Arkansas to take care of business.
And now we’re back, dealing with life, trying to figure out how to move us with no money. As of now, Hubby is going to leave this weekend, and BB and I will stay behind until the end of the month to pack and say goodbye.
I’m at the end of my rope, here. I’m so fucking sad about everything. I hate that everything has happened to us at once, I hate that any of this has happened at all. I hate that I have to be alone with BB and my grief for almost a month. I hate that I have to leave my network of friends who have become my family. I hate that my cat died. I hate that our trip to Disney World died. And I fucking hate that my brother died. This is so wrong. It’s so unfair. It’s so much more to deal with than I can handle.
But I will handle it. What I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is that there will come a time where we can look at each other and say: “Remember 2012? Yeah, that happened. I’m glad it’s over.”
For now, though, I’m stuck in the middle, hoping to come through to the other side pretty damned soon. For now, all I have to say is:
Fuck you, 2012! What a lousy, piece of shit, horrible year you’re turning out to be! I can’t fucking wait until your over and I never, ever, ever have to look at you again!