First of all, thank you so much for returning the money I had paid inÃ‘you have no idea how much it will help us out nowÃ‘and IÃ•ve never needed it so much as now. But I heard you wanted me to enter your Adopt a Diamond contest. You wanted my story. Well, itÃ•s a long one but here it is. IÃ•ve heard it said that miracles do happenÃ‘because I refuse to let go of that last hope, IÃ•m writing this letter to enter your contest to see if I deserve a miracle. There will be many entries just like mine, and maybe IÃ•m not the one who will deserve it. But since it is a last desperate attempt, I figure I have nothing to lose.
My husband, who is 39 years old as of yesterday, April 19th is being tested for cancer. Everything else has been ruled out, and the preliminary diagnosis is lymphoma. He has gone from 195 pounds down to 160, canÃ•t eat, and is wasting away before my eyes. He has not worked in close to two months, and the chances of his being able to continue to work are very slim at this time. Likewise, I have had to take emergency FMLA leave to stay home and care for him (both of us unpaid at this time). We have been served an eviction notice, so I canÃ•t even say that we will be at the above address when your contest ends. It is going day-to-day right now. We apparently have no benefits we can draw on (disability policies, etc.) and my health insurance is about to be cancelled. We donÃ•t have any food in the house and I doubt we will have utilities for much longer.
While IÃ•m sure everyone at one time or another takes a hit like this, I canÃ•t even begin to explain in a few short paragraphs how many times in our marriage something has happened to us like this that has left us on the street and homeless.
To know my husbandÃ‘well, he is a very special man. I was married to another man before him for six years. A man who thought I was his punching bag and outlet for all his aggressions. I married him when I was very young and had his baby at 19. I was still going to college and doing very well. But because he was failing college, he made me quit. It hurt his ego, you see, for a woman to do better than him. Therefore, instead of ending up making something of myself, I ended up with two children and a low paying job. Finally he got what he deserved and was sent to prison, leaving me with two little girls, tons of bills and this low paying job. Oh, and my self-esteem around my ankles. You can only be told so many times that you are fat, ugly and lucky to have him because no one else would ever want you before you begin to believe it yourself. In truth, I was anorexic due to his constant putting me down. When he went to prison, I met John. I had gone to high school with him and knew him, but never once ever considered we would date each other. I canÃ•t begin to explain to you how my life changed when I met him. He gave me back my self respect, and taught me how to love, even with a lacerated heart. He healed me and saved me in every way you can save a person. We had gotten married in April of 1987. By July of that year I was pregnant with our child, Brooke, and we had a home we had bought, a new carÃ‘well, happiness. The American dream you might say. Then, in September of 1987, my love, my wonderful husband, was almost killed by a drunk driver. He was run off the road into a concrete post holding up a bridge. One lung was entirely deflated, the other 75%. He was breathing off of 25% of lone lung (he had left our house at midnight to get his pregnant wife some tacos at Taco BellÃ‘just one of those strange cravings pregnant women have). At 1:00 that morning he hadnÃ•t returned and I was worried sick. Then the police called me. He had broken his back in two places (compression fractures), had pulverized his nose, broken his knee, and those were just some of the injuries. Well, we eneded up losing our home and our car and having to declare bankruptcy before he healed. The other driver left the scene and was never apprehended. Our insurance covered $5,000, the rest was on us.
After healing we moved to Northwest Arkansas, hoping for a new start. He bagean working again, but because his back was weak from the fractures, he continued to hurt himself off and on working. It didnâ€™t matter, he would heal and go on.
We were limping along financially the best we could, we again had managed to buy a home and we were beginning to better ourselves, but then we got the horrible news that my ex-husband, who had by that time released from prison and was visiting our two older daughters, had possibly molested them. Well, I can tell you he didnÃ•t want to go back to prison and the fight was on over custody of those girls. It costs us our new home to hire attorneys, but I can happily say we won our case. But of course, we were homeless again. After a short stay with family, we managed to rent a small duplex, but we were having all three daughters sleep in one room. It was a total mess.
I ended up getting a better paying job, and by 1993 had moved us into a house, again, that was large enough, but by 1995 there was nothing more anyone could do to patch John back up. We were tolde he needed back surgery to stop the spread of the damage that the constant injuries were doing to his back. We were NOT told that after the surgery he would be disabled. He had the surgery and, yes, you probably have already guessed it, living again on my income alone and waiting for a hearing on SSI (for two years) we again lost our home and were living with family. Our three daughters by this time had moved so many times they would be asked if our family was in the military. They would just say “yes” because it was less embarassing for them than to state the truth. Friends made, friends lost, Happy homes, but for no more than a year at most.
In 1998, we moved to Georgia, selling the absolute remainder of everything we owned to do it, in the hopes I could find a job here that would pay enough to support us. I found a good paying job, but not enough to keep us going. We lost another car, and the place we were living was so bad that my teenaged daughter wouldnÃ•t tell anyone where we lived. I felt like crawling under a rock. IÃ•ve had to tell my children “no” they canÃ•t have things so many timesÃ‘and they couldnÃ•t understand why they couldnÃ•t be like other kids. Why they couldnÃ•t have the same things. And I was crying all the while inside. My husband was my only rock, the only thing that was steady, but I could see it in his eyes that he didnÃ•t feel like a man because he couldnÃ•t contribute. One night after the last repossession of our car, I was sitting outside on the porch, and he came outside and told me he was going back to work. I argued with him, but he said it didnÃ•t matter anymore. It didnÃ•t matter what it did to him physically. He couldnÃ•t stand to sit by any longer. We doubted anyone would hire him, and it did take a long time to find someone who would. A person who is disabled like that is a liability. If he hurts himself on the job, well, you know how that goes. Finally he found someone who would hire him, but with the understanding if he hurt himself on the job, he wouldnÃ•t be allowed to file a claim. He agreed.
All the stress previous to this has taken its toll on me. I have ulcers. I take medication for depression and anxiety. My health has plummeted and IÃ•ve missed work out of total exhaustion and worry. I have nightmares. I canÃ•t stop worryingÃ‘my husband was working and our life was slowly rebuilding itselfÃ‘but IÃ•ve become a creature of habit in worry. I canÃ•t truly be happy because I know there is always something lying in wait for us. Some would say IÃ•m crazy, but after what has happened within the past two months? I donÃ•t think so. Now we have had the proverbial axe fall, yet again. My children arenÃ•t sleeping. My youngest, who is ADHD, bi-polar, etc. has made friends in the neighborhood for the first time in her life, and thinking we are going to move, she is feeling suicidal. My middle child is worrying night and day and talking to me all the time about “what are we going to do?” I have no answers for her.
I heard the other day someone from Dacula won the lottery and I thought, Oh Please God, let it be usÃ‘but of course it wasnÃ•t. I donÃ•t begrudge the little girl who won. She sounds like someone who deserved it. Good for her.
My husband is about to lose his job. They canÃ•t keep someone who canÃ•t work. He went in one day and lasted until noon before he was about to collapse. You really start to think when things like this happen. You know, IÃ•m worth more dead than alive. Sad, but true. Life insurance I haveÃ‘but that would only make the people left behind feel guilty. But you do have those thoughts, how can you not?
So, anyway, hereÃ•s my shot again at another miracle. Sort of like that lottery ticket bought in desperation. If I deserve this, IÃ•ll get it. If not, then someone else deserved it more. No hard feelings. I donÃ•t expect it really, anyway. But if I have done anything right in the past few years, it was pushing my children to get through college so nothing like this ever happens to them and their families. ThatÃ•s one lesson, I believe, IÃ•ve managed to get through to them. And, sweetly, my middle daughter assures me, “DonÃ•t worry mom, IÃ•ll make it, and when I do, you and dad wonÃ•t ever have to worry, again.” ItÃ•s sad but sweet. Only like children can be.
But, Fred, if I do win, I guess I have a sort of special request. You canÃ•t imagine what my husband means to me. Well, maybe you can. If I win, IÃ•d like for the ring to be his. He doesnÃ•t have one either, not even a band. His birthday came and went yesterday and I couldnÃ•t give him a single thing other than a kiss. If this is cancer and we believe it is, well, IÃ•d rather he know how much I love him. IÃ•d rather he receive the ring. That would make me happy. Maybe youÃ•ve never done a manÃ•s ring before. But thatÃ•s what I would like. I think he wears a size 11.
Well, thank you for your consideration, and sometimes it feels good to tell your story even if it doesnÃ•t mean youÃ•ll win. I guess itÃ•s a sort of therapy in a way just to get it off your chest even if you know it wonÃ•t help.