Notes from the Road, #23: The Aftermath of Loss

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The house went from a hive of constant activity with a parade of people in and out nearly all day long, 7 days a week, to nothing beyond some rando looking to drum up business for their yard work venture. The aftermath of loss feels surreal to say the least.

All within a few days’ time, after the day It happened.

It was the day I spent my entire childhood, high school, and college years, and in the years after that living in fear of. I heard her fall from the wheelchair she lived in pretty much since her last hospital stay less than a month after the move.

She refused to use the bed, and it became a giant desk. The wheelchair was the only way she could breathe by that point, and laying down wasn’t happening.

I had only been in bed for about 10 minutes, if even that, and I got back up to see what was going on. I always did even at the slightest noise, and still find myself doing now.

My mom’s care team told me to call them when the funeral home had things ready. I did, but nobody answered. I have a hunch this will probably be typical going forward, same as it was when the one who offered to help was nowhere in sight when push came to shove during all this.

No worries. The takeaway I got was that this was them showing me I could get by without their help. They had their chance, they blew it, and they taught me that I can do it now.

I found the Reba McEntire album my mom and I loved when I was a kid, For My Broken Heart. I played it all day on the day It happened, and cranked it up. I could feel the bass from the stereo throughout the house, and that thing made the album into party tunes the neighbors would probably call the cops over in the middle of the night.

The funeral home called me, and told me things were ready. I called the home health agency, and couldn’t get through to anyone. It was a day of misty rain, the kind my late boy cat hated and literally screamed when I took him outside in it.

As soon as I hung up the phone and got the Christmas decorations up, I grabbed my mom’s old Vera Bradley gym bag she used for work, along with her old weather radio, and a couple of the shopping bags I made from old pillowcases in case of an impromptu shopping trip. I went to the backyard, and unlocked my bike from the clothesline pole.

My bike needs to be fixed, badly, and I currently can’t afford it. So the game plan was to ride as carefully as possible.

I wheeled it to the front of the house, and headed for the mall. I’d ridden to that particular funeral home in the middle of the night several years back, so I was familiar enough with it.

I rode to the mall thoroughfare, and noticed a little something. I noticed multiple smoke shops within a short radius. There’s also three schools in the area, an elementary, middle, and high school. I probably shouldn’t mention there’s also a church with a daycare (or creche if you’re reading from across the pond) in the area, along with a McDonalds with the play structure too.

What was that I heard about how these tobacco industry turds aren’t targeting kids again? Yeah, I don’t buy it for an instant.

I’ll admit, it isn’t overt like the way they targeted my mom and countless other kids her age in postwar/Cold War-era Midwest American suburbia.

One’s a coincidence, but five of these shitholes? No way that’s a coincidence.

I cut through parking lots due to ongoing construction, and made it just in the nick of time to the funeral home. The people there were great, and I truly wished I could’ve met them somewhere else.

That box was way heavier than I expected. I’d heard these kinds of things were heavy, but dang!

I felt a sense of closure as my mom and I rode off toward one of the nearby craft shops she was all about, and then to the mall. It wasn’t the ride in the car she’d wanted in the months before, but hopefully this trip was enough to make up for that.

The weather gave out, and it started pouring when we were still at the mall. I turned on the weather radio, and saw that the rain was expected to continue into the night.

Looks like I’ll be taking my chances, and duking out the rain.

Normally when it comes to rain this time of year, the ride or walk home is torture since it’s so cold. Not this time for some reason.

We finally made it home after a pit stop at the Walgreens to redeem an Ibotta deal I had for some shampoo and conditioner. My coat weighed a ton from the rain it soaked up, and so did the rain boot socks I made.

I set the box with my mom in it on a towel to let it dry out before I set it in the place I cleared out on top of the hutch. Once I got that box up there, I took a step back, and looked at it. There was my mom, next to our first late girl cat, just like she wanted.

In the days that followed, I started going through her things, and unearthing some stuff long forgotten. Some of it was stuff from the hospital she worked at for a long time, some of it was random stuff shoved into envelopes and whatnot.

Some of it was in too poor condition for me to feel ok selling online, or even donating. So, it’ll go in the box I’ve designated for curbside freebies.

It’s become my downtime from my marathon job hunt of no less than 10 applications a day, which has still gone nowhere. I’ve given up holding my breath on anything ever materializing a long time ago. That, the few assignments I’ve managed to pick up from the day job, this blog, and the e-book I’m working on about these past two years.

I have no plans to quit that one. It’ll become a part-time job if I can ever find a company willing to hire me and pay me worth a damn.

The endless fear I had before It happened has since given way to utter hopelessness and fear, with super-minor and brief glimpses of hope that things will get better. To me, it’s not a season, but a life sentence. Maybe this is the universe telling me that this is indeed my lot in life.

The latest slew of rejections from companies I cast the net with in my job hunt reinforced it. One of them came from a different job hunting platform outside the main one I’ve been using. It came from the platform on the company’s behalf. It stated that this was the kind of email they hated to send, and that the company basically wrote me off sight unseen.

But then, they told me that every rejection was a redirection. I liked that. No, I like that idea. That’s the way I’m gonna start looking at the mounds of rejections from companies, whether by their words, or by their actions. This means uber-long hiring processes spanning months on end when it doesn’t have to be that way, pre-employment tests that screen out applicants with any type of disability (whether they’re aware of what they’re doing or not), or straight-up ghosting me.

I don’t envy hiring managers, not for a second anymore.

If I were to hire someone else for this blog, which I have no plans to do so for reasons, but just run with me here for a sec. I know for sure I’d keep people informed, and make my decision quickly. I wouldn’t dare leave someone hanging the way too many companies are willing to do their prospective employees.

Right now, I have no idea how to feel. I alternate between total despair, and a shred of hope that things will get better. It’s an uphill battle not to let the bastards grind me down, that’s for sure.

Readers, if there’s one of you that can relate to this, I wish I had an answer, but I don’t. All I can say is that I see you, and that we’re in this together.

Missed the previous installments? No worries, I gotcha covered: 22, 21, 20

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