Overwhelming - but in a good way
I've been overwhelmed. The death of my dog last month took a lot out of me, more than I ever expected. Then we've been so very busy at Lend a Hand, call after call after call ...all on top of a new awareness in the community like never before that we actually do have people living with the fear of homelessness...or are homeless. Donations are coming in, awareness campaigns have happened -it all feels like it has happened over night even though it has been a long time coming....some of that scares me, and I am not sure why. I mean after all the last year of my life has been spent volunteering hours after hours in trying to get to this point ...and now it's here.
It's been a tough year pushing the issue of homelessness in our community. In me was an urgency to do so - and perhaps some of that urgency came because of my own fear that any day it could be my children and I needing shelter....call it a survival reaction to a reality I still feel at times I am having an out of body experience watching.
I think all those emotions have come to a head these past few weeks, well actually now over a month. That, and ...well...if you haven't figured it out by now I am one of those extremely sentimental people....one who has a memory for people and an emotions - and last month, the month of November is and has been a hard time of year for me.
November 3rd was the anniversary of my mother's death - the very night I sat outside a hospital in Madison, Wisconsin and decided that from that point on my life would never be controlled by another person - it was the night I said my final goodbye to my mother and the night I decided that for me to grow and be the person I knew was inside that I had to let go of my marriage - say goodbye to the man who had left me there at that hospital, while my mother was dying, because he was too drunk to stay by me through it all.
I still recall how the cold November air felt as I sat on that bench outside of the hospital looking up to the stars. I knew decisions were before me, I knew that once I returned to the ICU in the hospital the decision to pull life support on my mother was going to be made, and I knew my life would never be the same - what I didn't know was how many twists and turns would be made over the course of the next few years - how much pain needed to be felt before I could appreciate flying free.
That was 5 years ago...
And this November was crammed filled with activity, work, volunteering, and also letting go of a member of my family - my dog. Below you will see a video I created as a thank you to a young woman who took on a task in bringing awareness to that cause which is so close to my heart right now, homelessness. What she doesn't realize is while I am so extremely thankful for all the hard work and effort she put into it all, is all of it helped me through a very rough month -
By the end of October this year I was feeling worn down - tired of personally struggling to make it through this economy - knowing that my partial unemployment payments were ending...trying to figure out how I was going to survive on part time pay from the paper....and dreading...completely dreading going through another Wisconsin winter...the holiday season...all while treading water - exhaustion was setting in.
I, like most people, tend to be harder on myself than anyone else ever could hope to be - and I was starting down that path of insecurity that exhaustion can propel a person on. I was feeling like a failure - losing faith in that sentiment that "Everything Happens for a Reason."
I was doubting all my moves in the last five years - questioning exactly how I was better off now than before - letting go of my marriage took me down a path of emotional and physical pain which eventually led to me being sexually assaulted and living in poverty - the official working poor. I was starting to allow myself to become blind to hope - something that is always there if only our eyes are open........then....
Then...November happened - and a young woman, who also happens to have a learning disability, was my inspiration to see the hope in front of me. Anyone who knows me well, knows that for over a decade and before I ever took on the cause of domestic violence and homelessness I was a full time volunteer advocate for students with special needs. I spent many years lobbying in state capitals, D.C. and school districts for their right to an education - and I burned out doing that many times over - so....to know that my November was about to become filled with activity centering around a cause that was close to my heart and because of a young woman like Carley Haschke, well - I am not sure how to explain the emotions I had - but life does come full circle - and I started believing once again that Everything DOES Happen for a Reason.................