Friday, January 26, 2007

Let it rain

Flash back to 2000-2003 for a minute...

For a long time, actually pretty much my entire life because I never had a childhood, I was always just a little adult; my life sucked pretty hard, not because of lack of material goods (whether I had them at the time or not), but because I was doing harmful and destructive things to myself and to those around me; without a personal, emotional, and spiritual understanding of what I was doing (I had an intellectual understanding, it wasn’t helping).

I went through a long series of increasingly bad relationships, and increasing stimulus seeking behavior (high risk activities, or high stress activities), just to try to genuinely feel something.

This led to major injuries ending my first planned military career, a failed marriage, a couple failed businesses; and then me dropping out of the world in Ireland for a while, after 9/11 and my business partners screwing me over.

In my life, I’d been filthy rich, and dirt poor and homeless. I’d had the time of my life, and I’d been through absolute hell; but none of it every really penetrated the shielding if you know what I mean.

Just letting myself live my life; instead of constantly pushing for everything (well... I went a little nuts for a while, but after I calmed down), separated me from my old life, and my old way of doing things; but I still wasn't really living, I was more existing.

Then my mother went into what we believed to be the final stages of her cancer; and I came back to the states. That was Christmas of 2003; in fact I arrived December 22nd.

I had made my break from my old life in Ireland; but I hadn't processed and internalized all of that yet; and I certainly hadn't figured out what I was going to do for the rest of my life yet.

I was basically in limbo.

I came back to the US at Christmas; and from January to September I lived in the cheapest place I could. I ate pretty much nothing but 4 cheap hot dogs a day ($0.99 for 8), on cheap bread ($0.79 a loaf) with mustard (stolen from the deli counter), maybe some baked potatoes, cucumbers, and apples, the occasional canned pineapple or oranges, a vitamin pill, and a gallon of generic mixed iced tea every day; because it cost me a total of about $2 a day to eat; and I was living off what was left over from Ireland.

Literally, all I did during that time was work out, read, and think. I didn’t own a TV or a DVD player, or anything technological other than a laptop loaded with thousands of books. I had no internet connection, and very little in the way of posessions, other than a library card, a bus pass, my clothes, and a few bags and boxes that I had taken home from Ireland or stored with my mother.

I lived that way for 8 months or so; and in that 8 months must have relived my entire life about ten times; and relived every mistake I’ve ever made, about a thousand times.

When I finally came out of it in September; I had what I was missing.

Before then, I’d taken the intellectual lessons of my life, and used them well. I’d learned to work the system, and work the people around me; but I’d never gained any wisdom, or any understanding of things below the surface. Oh I had an intellectual perception of motivation and the like, and how to react, and predict people and their reactions, but there was no understanding of the deeper things beneath that in MY life.

Finally, I UNDERSTOOD. I had taken the sum of my life, and squeezed the WISDOM out of it; and I was ready to get back to living my life again.

I had achieved material wealth, and intellectual wealth; but I was unhappy, because I was morally and spiritually empty (and I’m not just talking about god here, I’m talking on a total, personal level). I had to reset, and review my life to understand that, get past it, and start filling my life back up again.

Now I’m here, 4 years after coming back from Ireland; and my life is great. Before, I couldn’t be happy, now I couldn't be happier; because I have Mel and the girls. They are what give me purpose and meaning beyond simple existence. They are what I do those things I don't want to do in life for.

Thing is, I would not have been ready for Mel and the kids, if it weren't for those 8 months. That's not to say it wouldn’t have worked out in the end, but it would have been a lot more difficult and taken a lot more time. As it was, I was sitting there, ready and waiting for the greatest thing in the world to come into my life; and when it did I was able grab hold, and to enjoy it.

So anyway, a couple years ago, I helped my mother buy a house.

Coming out of that 8 months period, I got my shit back together; and I bought the house with my mother. The original intent was actually that I'd move in with her; because she can't live alone anymore. I was paying her mortgage and bills for a while, until she got her divorce settlement, and in theory until her disability started (my mother is essentially 100% disabled because of nerve and spinal damage as a complication of cancer).

Well, my mothers disability was denied the first time, as is common (there is so much disability fraud, the SSA simply denies everyone as much as they possibly can because they assume you are faking it). She was supposed to have worked with a disability specialist attorney to get things going.

In the mean while, we bought a house on a three year A.R.M.; with the plan that we'd let the house appreciate in value for the three years, sell it, and then my mother would live the rest of her life off the proceeds, and her disability. For the most part, that plan has worked out, the house is now worth $200,000 more than we bought it for; and she's been making the payments out of her settlement.

First, my mothers health deteriorated faster than she had expected; and she decided she didn't want to live with me when I'd have to do so much to take care of her... I wasn't happy (for one thing I was paying a mortgage, and rent on a condo), but I lived with it.

Then, a few months after we bought the house, I lost my job; and my brother moved in with my mother; so I stopped paying for things. My brother then floated in and out of jobs for a while, mostly just sucking off my mother; and often stealing from her.

Anyway, after I was working again, my mother said everything was fine, so I didn't try and help her financially anymore.

Meanwhile, her health has been steadily deteriorating; which was honestly part of my mothers "plan", which was pretty much to die before she ran out of money, then have her life insurance pay off all her debts to leave her assets to my brother and I... which wasn't such an unreasonable plan considering she was supposed to have maybe a year left to live; though not one I much cared for.

thankfully she "stabilized" in the middle of last year; or rather I should say her deterioration slowed a lot. I talk about the problems shes had elsewhere so I wont go over them again, but lets say she won't be recovering, and the doctors aren't even sure why she's still alive, and why she doesn't drop dead at any moment.

Last week, my mom called me up and said she was going to be putting the house up for sale; and would take the proceeds and move to Florida, close to my grandmother (something she'd been thinking of the last few years). I was of course concerend, but I thought this would be a good move; and I was hoping that my mothers life was finally moving in a positive direction.

My mother called me today, in tears, almost unable to speak.

You've got to understand, although I know things haven't been "all right" for months, when she's spoken to me at all (shes been avoiding me), she insisted everything was fine. I just thought it was because she's ashamed of her disability (and oh boy she is).

It turns out, she managed to go through her settlement four times faster than she had budgeted for (and we're talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash here). Worse, she's never followed up on disability, medicare, or medicaid (and she has $2000 a month in medical bills and prescriptions); and she's been living off her credit cards, and cash advances since last summer; to the tune of $80,000.

Shes never made a plan, or even had a cogent idea of what she was going to do if she lived; because she just didn't have any concept of what her life could or would be, or how.

And now, she has nothing; but her house.

My mother was crying, because she had just spoken to her mortgage company. She was so whacked out by her illness that she missed a credit card payment a few months ago; which triggered penalties and freezing of additional credit on her cards. She couldn't get any more cash advances, so she just stopped paying her bills.

Now it's three months later, and they say they are going to foreclose on the first, if she doesn't pay her three months back mortgage including taxes and penalties. In addition, her electric bill, gas bill, and water/garbage bill havent been paid in three months either, oh and of course her minimum credit card payments haven't been paid.

The reason she hasn't been talking to me, is because she was ashamed because she was running out of money, and credit, and didn't know what to do. She was ashamed she had to come to me for help, and she couldn't bring herself to do so.

Of course every minute she put it off has made it worse, but she's been paralyzed by bother her illness, and by her pride, shame, and fear.

I just had to pay $7500 for the lawyers, and Christmas, and birthdays; tax season is coming up, and I'm going to owe somewhat (not sure how much yet, I don't have the W2s from my first half of the year); and although I make a lot, I don't make enough to pay for two full sets of household expenses.

But this is my mother; and she's going to not only going to lose everything we've put into the house, as well as its appreciation in value; but she's going to be homeless.

So I put off every bill, diverted every payment, restructured everything I had, and tomorrow, I'm going to go make her mortgage, and utility payments... which I can't afford, but I can't afford not to.

She put the house up for sale a few days ago, the realtor figures it will sell and close within 90 days; but between then and now, I'm going to have to support my mother, and her house; along with supporting my own family.

Presuming we cut out all the non-essentials, we can do it; and still pay the lawyer, and for Rosies school tuition; but it leaves absolutely nothing for emergencies or contingencies ('course, this is an emergency in and of itself). I can't tell you how much I hate that.

You might be asking, where is my brother in all this?

MY brother and I have a hard relationship... that's actually a hell of an understatement. MY brother has made me put my finger on the trigger of a pistol that was aimed at his head. He is... an almost entirely despicable person.

For much of the past few years, he has simply not felt like working; and he could get away with it because my mother enabled him, so he just didn't bother working.

Well,for the past six months, he hasn't been working, because he hasn't been able to. Of course I haven't spoken to him since last July, and that for a matter of minutes; and my mother hasn't been telling me what was going on.

In October, my mother called me in the middle of the night to tell my my brother was in the hospital having seizures; but I never heard anything more, even after trying to follow up through other family. MY mother didnt even return my calls at all until Christmas day.

Well, today my mother told me he's been having the seizures, because he has cancer.

My 27 year old brother.

He has a golfball size cancerous growth in his stomach, ulcerating his stomach lining and effecting him systemically. His immune system is weakened, and he's having CNS effects, including the return of the epileptic seizures he had as a child (they stopped happening when he was about 5).

The mass was growing over the past few months, but has stopped; they haven't decided on a course of treatment yet, they are not sure if they are going to try surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy. He's scheduled for a biopsy in two weeks (I don't know why so far away) and they'll decide then what to do.

So now; just as my life finally has meaning, and purpose, and satisfaction, and happiness.. Today my mothers life, and my brothers life, fall apart.

They say it never rains, but it pours eh...