When I was laid off from my job in September 2013, I knew I had to move fast. I didn’t have a savings and the Florida job market was terrible. I took what was left of my severance check (after taxes took it’s 33%), purchased a U-Haul, begged my landlord for forgiveness and headed to Atlanta a month later. Just like that, I went from having my own place and independence to living with family members and counting my pennies. And they were, literally, pennies. My severance check was gone almost instantly and Florida unemployment only offered me $275 a week, which was not always so easy to attain. It felt as if, overnight, my whole world fell apart. I was humbled. Broke, begging for money, just barely making my bills…humbled. At that time, I thought to myself, “God, I hear you. It’s time to be better than I was.” I really felt like it couldn’t get any worse. Then my mom died.
I always remind myself that God makes no mistakes. That God doesn’t give us more than we can bear…
My mom died Thursday, January 23, 2014. Nobody wants to talk about this portion of life in public, but the reality is, death is often tragic, not because someone is gone, but because of what it brings out in the people left behind. Since mom died, there has been nothing but infighting, arguing, angry financial discussions and sadness in my family. I wake up every morning to a new phone call and I think, “She really is in a better place.” Death should bring people together, but I think it’s just going to split my family apart. I suppose, the only good thing about this happening right now, is that the terrible Michigan weather and empty pockets may keep most of us from attending the funeral. Perhaps, the less fuel, the less fire. I urge anyone that isn’t prepared for their own death to start thinking about how it will be handled, because it can get ugly. It can break hearts.
As for unemployment, well, Florida is currently saying I owe them almost $875. You know, because they started giving me that $275 a week after I got laid off and, somewhere in there, I totally took advantage of the system. Never mind the fact that they’ve already completely cut me off, even though I’ve only received payment for three days of work at my current job. And then, to add insult to injury, it only took me THREE hours to get someone on the phone! Sometimes I think I have a target on my back and Gov. Rick Scott is shooting at it. I suppose I owe the man a thank you though. His bungling of the state of Florida definitely made it easier for me to leave it behind.
I often hear people, including my pastor, spouting on about these being “the last days,” and I’ve had so many bad days here lately, that I’ve almost been tempted to agree. But inevitably, I shake off the sentiment and roll my eyes. I’ve found that, the Bible will have you scared shitless, so much so, that you don’t even think. I mean, has it ever occurred to anyone that in 2014, the world is just more interconnected?! Between mass media and the Internet, you’re constantly being bombarded with terrible happenings in the world. People have always been dying. Now we just know more about it. And thanks to technological advances, they have better ways of killing each other. Once upon a time, the bubonic plague was population control. Now it appears to be guns. Seems pretty cut and dried to me. But I suppose, people feel better when they can blame hard times, instead of themselves. After all, this is the world we’ve created.
Kind of like, the life I’m currently living is the one I’ve created. When I’m not thinking about my mom, I’m thinking about that. About how I didn’t necessarily hold my life together properly. About how I didn’t make smart plans for the future. I suppose, if you look at my life as a whole, I have pretty good reasons for not understanding adulthood. However, when your car note is due, nobody asks how you grew up. The truth in life is that, no matter how many bad things have happened to you, you’re still responsible for figuring out your own shit. And then, you need to work hard at not making the room stink.
I swear, the older I get, the less answers I have about life.
So I suppose if you’ve gotten this far, you think I’m very depressed. I mean, all of this has happened in a 5 month span. It’s just so very depressing. I won’t lie. I feel so much sorrow. There are times when I find myself staring off into space, wondering if my heart will ever be the same. Still…I’m NOT depressed. You see, my mom may be gone, but I’M STILL HERE. And every day above ground is a day to be blessed and create a brighter future for myself. So despite the hardships, I never forget to focus on the GOOD I have in my life:
- 29 years worth of life lessons from an amazing mother. And you know what? I have a mom left. Some people never even get one.
- A job. It’s only for six months, but it’s the kind of place that’s worth it.
- A car. Despite Gov. Scotts’ best efforts to stop me, I’m still managing to make my car note. Bitch!!!
- Love. The type of love that gave me a place to live when I was about to be homeless. The type of love that hugs me and says “Titi, can I see your tablet” or “Godmommy it’s going to be okay” or “Hey big sister, I’m going to give you some food because I have more than enough” or “Hey Shaquea, it’s your dad, I sent you $300” or “Don’t worry about your job, take the time you need to handle your business.”
We must always remember, that on the way through sorrow, we’re also passing through happiness.
Here’s the thing: My mom always wanted me to live a better life than she did. I wake up every morning striving to do just that. She always said, “Do your best for yourself and for God and it will be good enough.” So, you know, I don’t have time to be depressed. That wouldn’t be me at my best. That wouldn’t be good enough.
When you feel like you’re at the bottom, aint no where to go but up.