On Monday at 5:42, Bracken walked in the front door holding the plant from his desk at work. He informed me that he had just been laid off. Work has been slower lately, and January is always especially desolate, but we had been reassured at the company Christmas party that the company was still healthy and they had lots of promising work coming up in the future. We had no idea this was coming. His severance was one more paycheck, and health coverage through the end of the month.
Bracken called into the office a couple days later to get copies of some reports he could use in applying for future jobs, and the employee he spoke to asked the question, "How is Ruth holding up?"
That's a question people ask, but don't want a real answer to. It's a question they ask to assuage their own guilt over not having whatever problem the other person is facing. They don't want a real answer. They just want a short, polite response, possibly grounded in truth, but hopefully full of burden lightening false optimism.
But I'm tired of pretending things are okay, and giving people answers that make them feel better. I stood for hours in the line at my mother's viewing, comforting other people. I don't want to give anymore trite answers about how I know things will all work out and how this may be a blessing in disguise. And I don't want anyone offering me any platitudes right now either.
So how am I holding up?
I haven't put on makeup since I got the news, because I will just cry it off.
I have to go to sleep with the TV on or a book in my hand because if my mind is left to itself, it runs circles around all the problems we are now facing. Needless to say, I haven't slept much.
I can't answer the phone, because I can't talk to anyone without bursting into tears.
I can't go out in public for the same reason, which is compounded by the fear that I might see someone who is somehow related to the company and I have no idea what I might say if one of them tried to be "kind."
My children are starting to reflect the strain in our home. Chloe repeatedly says to me, "Mom, I don't want a sad family, I want a happy family." Which causes me to burst into tears. I try to contain my big sobbing episodes to the shower so the girls don't have to see them, but the other day, she came in anyway and it turned into a whole other set of tears as Bracken tried to remove her from the bathroom.
When Bracken walked in the door with his news, I was juggling 2 kids with fevers, coughs and runny noses. Addie has a follow up for her ear infection next week, and I am not expecting good news.
I'm 4 months pregnant. My ultrasound is scheduled for next week. I can't figure out whether we should go to our appointments, and continue to pay towards our large deductible, or wait and apply it towards the next deductible of the new insurance that we will be paying totally out of pocket for, which we will not be able to afford because Bracken is unemployed. But I don't want Addie to lose her hearing because her ears go unchecked and I don't want to find out something is wrong with our baby because I didn't get the prenatal care I should. Less than a month of health insurance is hardly beneficial. Six months would have shown us some compassion, but compassion hardly seems to have a place in this scenario.
I'm 4 months pregnant. I'm not in a good position to find a job. Who wants to hire someone who will only be able to work for about 4 months, and then need maternity leave? And a place to pump after returning to work. Additionally, before I got pregnant, I was having some health problems that were never fully explained, but seemed to go away on their own. I am definitely afraid of returning to work only to find myself with ankles the size of tree trunks again.
I'm 4 months pregnant and having the hardest pregnancy to date emotionally. I have struggled with depression most of my life, and combined with the hormones and fatigue, it has been nearly impossible for me to keep up on my normal life this time around. This week I've hardly been able to function. As Bracken has doggedly searched job listings and sent out his resume, I've done little more than lay on the couch, watch TV and read books. I know I need to be doing more, and be more engaged with my children, but I can't seem to find the resources to do it. The only way I'm able to keep myself from completely disintegrating is by keeping my mind completely occupied with things that don't matter at all.
Part of the reason we liked Bracken's company was its dedication to the "culture" of its employee's. Apparently they don't want that culture to include single income families with babies on the way. I realize that it is unreasonable to expect employers to take personal situations into consideration when "restructuring," and I don't really want anyone else to be out of work, but I that doesn't stop me from resenting all those with 2 incomes, no children or major health considerations who still have jobs. And what about all those who weren't at the company's recognition conference with us less than a year ago?