It seems like I can’t get a break. Today is such a mixed bag of feelings, but, in this moment I can say I’m a tad sad. I’m not fully engulfed with sadness but I do feel like I’ve been kicked hard. Yesterday there was a screw up with my paycheck that virtually sent me into an anxiety attack. I’m not kidding when I say that because I take medication for anxiety! I also take medication for depression. How’s that for being honest? The second kick came when I was once again reminded that my future retirement plans may fall by the wayside. I have eight years to go before I can retire and that’s not far away. The plan was that I would be handed over my parents condo when mom passes away. Well, my dad passed away two years ago and mom has been living by herself. She will be turning 90 years old on August 29th and mom’s health has been a great concern. In the past year her health has been “sliding”. I say sliding because at the outset she looks terrific but her memory is not so good. She forgets to take her medication, she doesn’t eat well (and her 100 pound frame is the evidence), she still drove, that is, until we took her car keys away from her last week. I mean, what would you expect from a 90 year old woman? She’s not the same strong mommy I once had. All these things are very sad coming from a woman who had been strong all her life. In some ways, I mourn the old mom. Talking to friends going through the same thing with their aging parents offers some comfort. It’s good to share these common stories of our aging parents.
But here’s the kick! Mom agreed to go to an assisted living center. At first, she was somewhat strident as she told us she wasn’t going to leave her house. She wasn’t interested. But then when it was expressed to her about the concern we had for her, her tune changed! Now she is actively planning to leave her home. The big question is how are we to pay for this transition? She falls a bit short of monthly income to sustain her. We looked at the possibility of renting her condo out which could be an income game changer, or, we could sell the condo. Are you beginning to see my emotional dilemma? Selling the condo would put me out of a retirement home. Where would I go in eight years? Priests incomes are not great. Because of my spending habits I am in deep debt. That’s my fault and there’s no one to blame but me. True story! Last night when I spoke to mom about my concerns she came across as very cold. She told me that I better start saving my money so I could find a place to live! Ouch! Why does everyone think there is an “old priest home” that I can retire to? There is no such thing in this diocese. It hurts my heart every time one of my family members suggests this to me. Living with my siblings is out of the question.
Well, I have eight years to figure this out but right now I feel like my dream has been shattered. It seems like many things have been shattered in my life. The loss of my parish, the loss of my beloved pets, the loss of relationships that have washed their hands of me. And all I can say is that I caused this. Perhaps this is my penance. Well, if it is, then so be it. I have faced worse in my life. Every Tuesday I attend a 12 step group called Debtor’s Anonymous. It’s located in the basement of St. Peters Church in the Loop (Chicago). I have found other people just like me. Many of them have recovered and are there for support and to offer their guidance. There is a strong possibility that I have a found a sponsor. It is someone whom I feel connected with so we’ll see how that goes.
Oh, woe is me! But not so fast. You see, there are people who really love me and care for me. I do have people in my life that are lifting me from the muck and the yuck! I do believe my sibs understand my dilemma. I feel their concern for my future. I just wish they’d tell me. They could easily read my blog but that’s up to them. It should be known that I love my sibs very much and I could never hate them or disown them. As a family we have survived many things and this will not derail the love we have for each other. I do have my faith with a stable spirituality. There lies my hope! So wah, wah, wah! This is the topic I hope to bring to group today.
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