Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The financial costs of caring $$$$$$

Mums illness has cost us a lot of money. I estimate it set us back at least $50,000 in added costs and lost income. My mum had run up bills, lost her entire savings to a con man and had given away assets including the home. Dealing with the creditors was a nightmare. And no, I can't get anything back.

I also had to close my business when all this started and DH was laid off work with a payout of <$4000 after 9 years of service. I had to take a lot of time off work with no pay when she was very ill.

Don't even mention respite care !!!  what an expensive joke that turned out to be!

After we used up our savings we turned to the credit cards and over the last few months that I've been sick and unable to work they have just about reached their limit. My once booming business is reduced to a couple of hours a week. So financially we are really strapped and most people would have no idea.

This morning I opened the mail and as well as our family bills I have Mums bills:  a chemists bill for $47 and a bill for incontinence products for $73.  Mum has put on even more weight and most of the new clothes that I bought her six months ago no longer fit, she urgently needs all new clothes for summer. I just can't pay for it all out of her pension, it simply doesn't cover it and I am very thrifty with her money. Her account has a total of $103 in it.

I feel like I'm watching my life go down the drain. Before all this happened we were not wealthy, but we had sensibly managed our money and could see that once our children left home we would be able to increase our retirement savings and pay off our home for a simple, but satisfying retirement. Now it's frightening how much debt we are carrying and how little we are bringing in. I wake up at night worried sick about finances. I am going to see mum in a few days and the truth is we can't afford it. I feel angry that this has happened to her and to us and that there is no solution or anyone to share this with other than the blogosphere.

sorry if this sounds depressing, but as I've said before, this blog is the only place I can share this stuff, it keeps me somewhat sane.  add to that I'm meant to be 'resting up' and not stressing.... yeah right. at least the weather here is beautiful and the garden is blooming, at least that's something good!

"a penny is a lot of money if you have not got a penny"  Yiddish proverb

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It's my turn now...

For the last few months I've been very sick and unable to do much at all and I haven't been able to visit mum or talk with her on the phone until yesterday. When I phoned her she was not really sure who I was but she was happy. She couldn't remember anything she had done recently to talk about but she told me she had lot's friends and that she likes where she is living. 

After talking with her I felt relieved to hear her happy and settled. But it's also strange when you can't share what's really happening in your life with her. I can't tell her how very sick I've been, or that we have a lot of financial problems to sort out. There's no point in worrying her. But there have been time over the last months when I just would love to have had my mum to talk to. I really miss being able to visit her, but it helps to know she is not missing me.

I have finally completely cleaned out her old room from when she lived with us. It's empty now, waiting to be painted and turned back into my study again. It's taken me almost 2 years to clean up a little room, just 2 X 2.5 meters. But I could only cope with a little bit at a time, too many painful memories. I'm glad it's done now. It feels like a milestone has been passed. I'm looking forward to having a quiet space to read, draw, meditate, sew and just be in the silence again. It overlooks the garden and it's my favourite room in the house.

I think that all the stress of the last 4 years has caught up with me and ended up in illness and burnout. I am only working 8 hours a week ( instead of 40) and I struggle to get through it. I just feel I can't cope with other peoples problems at the moment. Especially since I mainly work helping people with traumatic grief! I have my own grief to manage. But if I don't work there is no income and our savings have run out now. My Dr tells me I need lots of rest for my body to heal and that I need to lose 70 lbs.

I feel that I just need a 6-12 month break from everyone and no demands on me. Just time to rest, grieve, regroup and regain my health. I have some serious health problems to recover from and that is limiting how much I can work. I just want to simplify and downsize my life so I can take a break from the world. 

I don't feel that I am depressed (I was many years ago), but I think if I don't change things that I could end up that way. So mum's doing fine, she's happy and well, her memory is deteriorating rapidly but she doesn't know that anymore. Now it's time to heal myself.