Job, a little help alleviate widow's fears of homelessness
I am one of those senior citizens you write about sometimes. My husband died two years ago and left me penniless. He told me we had money saved for retirement. I never handled our financial affairs. My husband always paid the bills and controlled all the money. I was a stay-at-home housewife. I did all the cooking and cleaning, and trusted he was handling everything.
When my husband died unexpectedly from a heart attack, I was shocked to learn how in debt we were. Our house was remortgaged. His credit cards were full. He had cashed in his life insurance policies years earlier. I never knew the recession was taking away everything we had. My beloved husband was fighting to keep a roof over our heads, food on the table, and keep the lights and heat on.
After 45 years together I felt my poor husband had something bothering him. Every time I asked him, he would hug me and say, "Everything is fine." I believed my husband when he told me this.
Now when I think back, my dear, deceased husband was trying to protect me while he was carrying this burden and desperation all alone. I don't know why he thought I was too weak to share this with me. I had to hear it all from an attorney after his death. Since that time I was lucky enough to sell our home at a great loss, with just enough to pay off the mortgage. I struggle to pay for rent, utilities, and food. I worry all day. I have a hard time falling asleep, and I wake up in the middle of the night terrified over the thought of becoming homeless.
Very Scared Widow
I went to visit the senior woman at her apartment. I was greeted at the door by a woman that looked older than the age she had revealed to me on the telephone. I could see the stress and pain of the last few years had taken their toll. The look on her sad face was that of someone lost to the frightening pains of poverty. Drawn, pale complexion, sunken eyes, and a face filled with despair is what I see too often. The woman stared blankly at me as she asked, "Are you really here?" With that I could not just stand there, I opened my arms to her and said, "Yes, we are here to help." She stepped into my welcoming hug as she began to cry. I added, "We will not let you become homeless. Everything will be alright." After several minutes she seemed to acknowledge we were really there to help and managed a weak smile through her tears.
The senior woman invited me into her apartment. I could see it was very clean but sparsely furnished. There was just a chair in the living room and a small table with two folding chairs in the kitchen area. The woman noticed me looking at her few worn belongings. She looked embarrassed as she explained she had sold all her belongings at a garage sale before leaving her home of forty years. She showed me the few things she had kept, a worn china cabinet that had belonged to her grandmother and the lone chair in the living room area. It had been her husband's favorite chair. Now it was both her chair and bed.
The woman told me how she was too weak to take on cleaning jobs for extra income. After looking over her bills I saw she needed this extra income or a lower rent to make her budget work. I called two of our volunteers. One for food, an immediate hot meal and then to go shopping to fill the very empty cabinets and refrigerator. The other volunteer as a visiting friend to check on her every now and then.
At first the senior woman was reluctant. I assured her the volunteers were our friends, good people whom I trusted, and they only wanted to share in doing Gods good works of helping. With that she agreed, saying, "Yes, yes, I'm so sorry. I understand. Thank you." She started to cry again. I asked her to stop crying and be happy we were here now, as we all needed to pull together to make things right. With that I gave her another hug as I could see she needed more kindness and compassion after all the hard times she had endured.
I completed a budget, which included a nicer apartment at a lower rent for seniors. Utilities were brought up to date. Several weeks of food were provided so she could regain her strength. In fact she took on two weekly housecleaning jobs once she was feeling stronger. She reassured me she was feeling strong enough to continue with this work, in fact she said she was used to it from years of caring for her own large home she had lost. Now that all she had to care for was a small apartment she felt the extra work was giving her the exercise she was used to. With that I saw a smile, a sparkle in her eyes, and a rosy complexion that was not there at our first meeting. Together, "We" renewed her life. I smile now thinking of her transformation from the pains of poverty to the happy woman she is today, thanks to your Caring and Sharing hearts sharing Gods love.
Together, we make our world a better place doing God's good works. Thank you for caring and sharing. Please, continue to help those in desperate need.
Health & Happiness, God Bless Everyone, W.C./Sal
Please Help: Make checks payable to: The Time Is Now to Help, P.O. Box 70, Pell Lake, WI 53157. The Time Is Now to Help is a federally recognized 501(c)3 charitable organization licensed in the states of Wisconsin and Illinois. You will receive a tax deductible, itemized thank you receipt showing exactly what every penny of your donation provided for the poverty stricken. A Very Special Thank You: Matt & Meghan Norton & Family, Madison Dearborn Partners, Paul Ziegler/Ziegler Charitable Foundation , The Petco Foundation, Mark & Natalie Reno, Dick & Jean Honeyager, Kunes' Country Auto Group, JL Hut Solutions, Illinois Tool Works Foundation, Pam & Ray Ring, Distribution and Transportation Service, About Face & Reflexology, John Poiron, Leslie Scheurer, Jackie Hennerley, Jennifer Olomon, Michael & Dawn Cagney, Michol Ann Ford, John & Joyce Kirkwood, Albert & Ellen Burnell, Sid & Patty Johnson, Michael & Kathe Beach, Robert Kasley, Karen Aasen, Ralph & Gloria Moehrke, Mary Berry, Sylvester & Virginina Seick, Anna Kiel, Kathleen Molling, Patricia Jankowski, W.C. Family Resource Center/Food Pantry volunteers, and all the God loving volunteers of all our caring food pantries, ALL of you who support The Time Is Now to Help donation boxes, and the businesses that allow our donation boxes. Anyone who would like a Time Is Now donation box in your business, please call (262)249-7000. Memorials: Robert & Mary Ann Zelenski in memory of Francis Koenen. Richard & Elizabeth Czaja in memory of Paul Sorensen. Please visit: www.timeisnowtohelp.org