Staying w/ Friends & Looking 4 Work

(Til alle av Silje sin familie, venner og beskjente, gå ned til Norske oversettelsen under den engelske innledningen.)

A week ago, at the urging of a friend, my wife, Silje, and I created a GoFundMe to ask for help to get our family back on its feet and start over. Our financial circumstances the last 10 months have gone the proverbial bad to worse. Medical issues put me on short term disability for close to 6 months; as a result, we've fallen two months behind in rent, and (understandably) have to vacate the premise by the evening of Sunday, September 10 - which is a week from the time of this writing.

Most of the updates have been from me, Aaron (Kevan to family and close friends). However, while I was out of town updating my own paperwork to get the ball rolling for us, Silje posted some of our updates. Today, I'm taking a step back and letting Silje retell our story from her perspective. She will do so in both English and Norwegian. Some of you may be surprised by this, given the attached picture of Silje and our children, Daniel and Grace.

While Silje was born in South Korea, she was adopted at age 3 and raised by a Norwegian mother and British father. She is a Norwegian national. She and I met through a mutual friend online in 2004. We've been married over 10 years now. And, for those of you unsure of how to pronounce her name, it's the Scandanavian version of the Latin Cecilia. Think of the Simon & Garfunkel song. :)

Silje's perspective follows, in Norwegian. An English translation is at the bottom.

Til alle av Silje sin familie, venner og beskjente:

Dette er vanskelig å dele, fordi det et veldig privat. Men vi har innsett at Aaron/Kevan (Kevan blandt familie og gode venner) og jeg må svelge stoltheten, og dele hva som har hendt det siste året. Og grunnen til vi ikke har noe annet valg enn å rekke ut til familie, venner og beskjente for hjelp.

Aaron/Kevan er forsørger for familien, jeg er hjemmeværende husmor, lærer assistent og lærer til våre barn Grace 6 1/2 og Daniel 11. Daniel er autistisk og Grace har hjemme skole. Jeg vet at hjemme skole er et fremmed konsept i Norge...

Vi er alene her i Utah, uten noe nettverk av nær familie og venner. Vi er i en stat med
bare et par kontakter, en nevø av Lois (Aaron/Kevan sin døde bestemor) og en tidligere kollega av Kevan/Aaron. Kevan/Aaron sin mor og halv bror er narkomaner, vi har brutt all kontakt med dem. Hans far døde plutselig lille julaften 2013. Og alle mine familie medlemmer og venner er i Norge.

De siste 2-3 årene har ikke vært lett, mye har hendt og vi har prøvd det beste vi kunne å stable oss opp igjen til normal hverdag uten stress og vanskeligheter. Og det er mye som har hendt, alt for mye å legge til her. Så jeg begynner for 1 år siden... Og grunnen til vi har landet på bunnen og føler vi nå er totalt hjelpeløse.

Det siste året har ikke vært lett for oss. Aaron/Kevan sin bestemor Lois som vi har bodd sammen med siden 2010, siden hun ikke lenger kunne bo for seg selv. For ett år siden hadde hun et nytt hjerte infarkt, og helsen hennes ble redusert drastiskt. Hun klarte å gå fra sengent til stolen ved sengen hun satt i for å se på TV og til badet some var tilknyttet til rommet hennes. Jeg var den som hadde hoved ansvaret for hennes velværet, vi hadde en hjemme sykepleier som kom 3 ganger i uken for noen minutter av gangen, for de vanlige testene (puls, blodtrykk, blodsukker osv). Det var hardt i ca 7 månder med bare et par timers søvn om natten og våken resten av natten i tilfelle hun trengte hjelp, i løpet av 4 mnd hadde hun 3 fall på vei til badet, fordi hun ville vise at hun fremdeles kunne være selvstendig. Det siste fallet hendte noen uker før hun gikk bort, hun slo hodet i kommoden ved døren til badet. Etter fallet var hun ikke lenger i stand til stå eller gå uten hjelp. Kvelden 27 Oktober 2016 gikk hun bort, 93 år gammel.

Vi prøvde så lenge som mulig å bo i leiligheten vi hadde delt siden 2011, men siden vi nå bare hadde Kevan/Aaron sin inntekt hadde vi ikke noe annet valg enn å bryte leiekontrakten for leiligheten. 1 Februar 2017 flyttet vi inn i et hus eid av en kollega av Kevan som måtte flytte inn med sine foreldre for å tas seg av dem, som vi gjorde for Lois.

Ca en uke etter vi hadde flyttet inn i huset våknet Aaron/Kevan av sterke magesmerter, frysninger og hetebølger. Jeg hadde ikke noe annet valg enn å ringe etter ambulanse, flere timer og prøver etter kom resultatet blindtarm betennelse. Dagen etter ble han operert og 2 dager etter han ble hastet til sykehuset ble hans sendt hjem og sykemeldt fra 9 februar 31 Mars. Første uke sykemelding får man ingen utbetaling, så 70% av inntekt utbetalt i sykemelding. Vi begynte å falle etter i regninger, men betalte husleie for februar, mars ogt april.

Kevan har slitt med bipolar lidelse i mange år. Det har vært vanskelig i noen perioder. Men april var det virkelig ille. Som jeg sa tidligere mye har hendt de siste 2-3 årene. Og han hadde ikke sørget over tapet av bestemoren i oktober. Og alt bare falt sammen for ham, han ble igjen sykemeldt fra jobb og etter juni var vi etter med husleien. Jeg hadde ikke noe annet valg enn å sende ham inn på sykehuset igjen. Han var inne i flere uker, gikk igjennom 9 elektrosjokk behandlinger plus 4 etterbehandlinger siden han kom hjem. (Please note that Silje wasn't sure how to phrase the diagnosis, "resistant-treatment bipolar depression," in Norwegian.)

Huseieren har gjort hennes beste for oss, vi skylder henne 2 månder husleie. Og hun har fremdeles huslån på huset. Men uken etter Kevan kom hjem fra sykehuset sendte hun en sms at vi måtte begynne å finne et annet bosted. Med bare en inntekt som har vært sykemeldt fra februar-august så har vi ikke noen muligheter å leie her i Utah.

Vi har aldri likt oss her i Utah, vi er en "blandings familie" som flyttet hit pga bestemor Lois. Og nå som hun er borte er det ikke noe mer her for oss. Så vi har undersøkt andre stater som har et godt spesial undervisnings program for Daniel, som tilbyr sosial støtte til familier som oss til vi kan komme oss tilbake på beina igjen. Først så vi på California, men Daniel og jeg takler ikke sterke hete bølger i de områdene Kevan så etter ny jobb. Så vi har bestemt oss for å starte på nytt i Washington, nær Seattle området. Vi har noen gode venner der, Gwen og Sean. Så vi tror det vil bli bedre for oss å starte på nytt i WA med et bedre nettverk enn her i Utah eller California. Gwen var den som overtalte oss til å starte en GoFundMe kampanje for å hjelpe oss til å starte på nytt. WA er veldig liberal stat, som Gwen sier det: "WA takes care of it's people!!" Plus det er veldig nær det norske konsulatet, så at det er lettere for meg å søke om hjelp om prosessen for at vi alle kan flytte tilbake til Norge om 2-3 år.

Vi har aldri gjort noe lignende som dette. Kevan/Aaron har jobbet siden han var 18 fra 1-3 jobber om gangen. Gwen har foreslått flere ganger å starte en Gofundme kampanje for hjelp. Til nå har vi sagt nei, for vi ville prøve vårt beste å komme oss tilbake på beina selv. Men nå har vi ikke noe annet valg. 7 dager fra nå. 10 september 2017 blir vi hjemløse. Så her er vi og søker hjelp fra familie, venner og beskjente. Hvis du bare kan gi en gave på $1USD, vil vi være veldig takknemmelige for det. Men hvis du ikke er i stand til å hjelpe oss med noe beløp. Så vil vi og være takknemmelig hvis du kan dele denne kampanjen og vår historie på facebook siden din eller andre sosiale medier. Til alle dere som har så langt gitt oss støtte på vår GoFundMe og delt historien vår på facebook..... Tusen, tusen, tusen takk. Vi er dypt takknemmelige for deres gjenerøsitet og støtte.

Når vi når Washington er vi så heldige at vi kan være hos våre venner Gwen & Sean og deres barn i de første ukene. Til Aaron/Kevan har fått seg ny jobb, ID for Washington, og vi har søkt om støtte for bodsted, funnet bosted, Daniel har blitt skrevet inn i ny skole og et skoleprogram for hans behov osv. Kevan har allerede begynt å oppdatere CVen og gjør seg klar til å søke på jobber i WA denne kommende uken.

Av summen som er blitt donert så langt har Kevan/Aaron tatt toget til California og fornyet førerkortet. Og var i Sacramento for å gjøre seg kjent i området hvor vi hadde tenkt å flytte til før vi bestemte oss for WA. Vi har betalt tilbake Lois sin nevø beløpet for togbilettene til California.

Mens Kevan/Aaron var innlagt på sykehuset, gikk forsikringen og registrering gått ut. Og vi hadde ingen midler til å fornye. Pga bilens tilstand trodde vi at den ikke kunne bli brukt til annet enn skrapgods. Men vi har nå klart å reparere bilen nok at den gikk igjennom sikkerhets sjekk som pålagt etter Utah's lov. Vi har forsikret og registrert bilen slik at den kan lovlig brukes som transport middel. Kevan/Aaron har betalt tilbake vennen som kjørte ham rundt i California, slik at han kunne fått gjort alle tingene som måtte gjøres mens han var der. Og betalt leie for september slik at han kunne etablerer seg som en gyldig CA innbygger (når vi trodde at vi skulle flytte til CA).

I tillegg kjøpte han en nye klær og sko for kommende jobb intervju. Vi bør nevne at GoFundMe har tatt 8.18% av beløpet som betaling av tjenesten de tilbyr.

Med beløpet som vi har igjen, kan vi klare å betale for bensin og mat for den 14-16 timer lange kjøreturen fra Salt Lake City til DuPont, WA. Men vi vil bare ha muligheter til å få plass til oss, klærene vi har på og våre to marsvin i vår lille sedan.

Det er derfor vi spør om noen av dere kan være så vennelige å hjelpe oss. Hvis vi når $700-$900; kan vi kjøpe og innstallere et tilhenger feste, for en liten tilhenger slik at vi kan ta med oss noen av tingene som betyr mye for oss. Vi kan leie og forsikre en liten tilhenger or 5 dager, betale bensin kostnader for extra vekt av tilhenger på den 1500 km lange kjøreturen. En overnatting på motel slik at turen blir mye lettere for barn, sjåføren (Kevan) og marsvinene. Vi vil overleve hvis vi ikke klarer å samle inn mere; men da må vi gi opp alt vi eier (bilen, klærene vi har på og 2 marsvin).

Hvis det er noe beløp igjen vil det gå til å betale våre venner for deres generøsitet og gjestfrihet i de kommende ukene vi er hos dem.

Takk for at du tok deg tid til å lese dette.

Vennlig hilsen,

Kevan, Daniel, Grace og Silje.

===

To all of Silje's family, friends and acquaintances:

This is difficult to share, because it's very private. But, we have realized that Aaron (Kevan to family and close friends) and I have to swallow our pride and share what has happened the last year; and, the reason why we don't have any other choice but to reach out to friends, family and acquaintances for help.

Aaron is the sole provider for our family; I am a stay-at-home mom, teacher's aide and teacher for our 6-year-old daughter, Grace, and our 11-year-old son, Daniel. Daniel is autistic, and Grace is home-schooled. I realize this last is an alien concept in Norway...

We are alone here in Utah, without any support system from family or friends. We are in a state with just a few contacts, a nephew of Lois (Aaron's late grandmother), and a former colleague of Aaron's. Aaron's mother and half-brother are drug addicts, so we have ceased all contact with them; his father died two days before Christmas 2013. All of my family and friends are in Norway.

The last two to three years have not been easy. After all that has happened, we have tried our best to recover each time, to get back on our feet. And there is a lot that has happened - too much to detail everything here. So, I will start one year ago...and the reason why we have hit rock bottom, and feel that we are completely helpless.

The last year hasn't been easy for us. We'd moved in 2010 to Utah to live with and take care of Aaron's grandmother, Lois, since she could no longer live by herself. A year ago, she had another heart attack, and her health deteriorated rapidly after that. She was only able to move from her bed to the chair next to her bed, where she sat to watch TV; and, to the bathroom that was connected to her bedroom. Though a home health nurse checked her vital signs three times a week, and would assist with bathing and changing her during those visits, I was her primary caretaker 24/7. I didn't get much sleep for those last 7 months, as I always slept lightly in case she needed assistance at night. In the last 4 months of her life, she fell 3 times in the middle of the night, stubbornly trying to get to the bathroom on her own. Her last fall happened just a few weeks before she passed away. Again, she tried to get to the bathroom, fell, and hit her head on the dresser next to the bathroom door. After that, she was no longer able to move on her own at all. She passed away on October 27, 2016, at 93 years old.

After her death, we tried to stay in the apartment that we had shared with her since 2011, but since we now only had Aaron's income, we didn't have any choice but to break the lease and move out. On February 1, 2017, we moved in to a house owned by Aaron's coworker, who had made the offer for us to rent there, while she moved in to take care of her elderly parents, as we did for Lois.

About a week after we'd moved in, Aaron woke up in severe pain, chilled and sweating at the same time. I didn't have any choice but to call the paramedics to take him to the hospital. After several hours, results showed that he had appendicitis, and the following day he had surgery. He was sent home a couple days later. He was on short term disability leave from work, where the first week pays nothing, and remaining weeks pay 70% of wages. We began to fall behind with paying our bills; but, we managed to pay our rent for February, March and April.

Aaron has struggled with bipolar disorder for several years. It has been hard during some periods over the years. But this April, it really got bad. As I had said earlier, a lot has happened over the last two or three years, and I don't think Aaron really found the time mourn the loss of his grandmother in October. Everything just collapsed on top of him, and he was again put on short term disability. After June, we were 2 months behind on rent, and I didn't have any other choice but to have Aaron hospitalized for several weeks. While hospitalized, he received 9 electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) sessions, followed by 4 more after he was discharged. (Please note that Silje wasn't sure how to phrase the diagnosis, "resistant-treatment bipolar depression," in Norwegian.)

Our landlady has been very understanding, but we owe her two months' rent; and she is still paying down her house's mortgage. One week after Aaron came home, she sent us a text message that she wanted us to look for another place to live. With just one income from short term disability February through August, we don't have any means to rent any place here in Utah.

We've never liked living here in Utah. We are a mixed family who moved here because of Aaron's grandmother. Now that she has passed away, we feel like there is nothing left here for us. So, we have been looking into other states that have good special education programs for Daniel, and that offer a social safety net for families in our circumstances, so we can try getting back on our feet. We first looked into California, but Daniel and I don't tolerate the kind of heat they have in the area where Aaron was looking for work. So, we have decided to start over in Washington, near the Seattle area. We have some good friends there, Gwen and Sean, so we will have a better network of support than here in Utah, or in California. In fact, Gwen is the friend who convinced us to start a GoFundMe to ask for help starting over. WA is a very liberal state, as Gwen says, "WA takes care of it's people!!" Plus, it is also near the Norwegian consulate, so it will be easier for me to seek assistance for the process for all of us to move to Norway in 2 to 3 years.

We've never done anything like this. Aaron has worked between 1-3 jobs at any given time since he was 18. Gwen has suggested a few times for us to start a GoFundMe campaign, but we've refused. We've wanted to get back on our feet on our own. But now, we're left with no other choice. Seven days from this writing, on September 10, 2017, we will be homeless. So here we are, asking for help from family, friends and acquaintances. We will be very grateful for even a gift of just $1. If you're not in a position to offer anything, or don't feel comfortable doing so, then we would be very appreciative if you share our GoFundMe campaign and our story on your Facebook and other social media. To all of you who have generously shown your support of our family on GoFundMe, and who've shared our story on Facebook, thank you. Thank you all so much. We are so grateful.

We are lucky that when we reach Washington, Gwen and Sean have offered to let us stay with them the first couple of weeks, until Aaron has a new job and a new ID for the state. We will immediately start the process to apply for assistance to become self-sufficient again; get into whatever housing we can; and, get Daniel enrolled in an appropriate school program for his needs. Aaron is already updating his resume and preparing to apply to jobs in WA this week.

With the kind gifts we've received so far, Aaron took the train to California and renewed his driver license (when we expected we'd be moving there), and spent time in Sacramento to get a feel for the area where we had planned to move (before making a final decision for WA). We have repaid Lois's nephew for the train tickets to California.

While Aaron was in the hospital, the car's paperwork had expired, and we did not have the means to reinstate it. Because of the car's state of repair, we'd assumed it could not be salvaged, and would have to be scrapped. But, we've been able to repair our car so that it passed separate safety and emissions inspections required by Utah. We have insured it; and, we have registered it so that it may be legally operated. Aaron has repaid the friend who drove him around to attend to business in California; and, has paid to rent a room in California for the month of September to establish legal presence (again, when we thought we were moving there).

Additionally, Aaron bought a new shirt and tie, slacks, belt and shoes at Walmart with which to interview at new job prospects. We should note that, to provide their service, GoFundMe has taken about 8.18% of the gifts we've received.

With what we have left, we'll be able to afford gasoline and food on the 14- to 16-hour drive to relocate to DuPont, WA; however, we'll only be able to fit our family, our 2 guinea pigs and the clothes on our backs in our small sedan.

This is why we're still asking for any kind assistance. With another $700-$900, we can install equipment on our car that will allow us to tow a small trailer with our most important belongings. It will allow us to rent and insure that trailer for 5 days; have extra gas money to pay for the extra weight of the trailer on the 900-mile drive; and, stay overnight at a motel halfway through the trip, so the trip will be easier on the kids (and the sole driver, Aaron). We'll survive if we can't raise anything further; but, we'll have to give up everything we own, unless we can.

If we have any money left after our trip, we will of course cover as many expenses as we can so as not to overly impose on the generosity and hospitality of our friends while they open their home to us.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

With our sincere regards,

Aaron, Daniel, Grace and Silje

Donations

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  • kari larsen 
    • $137 
    • 39 mos
  • kari larsen 
    • $137 
    • 39 mos
  • Kari Larsen 
    • $137 
    • 40 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 41 mos
  • Kelly Norris 
    • $25 
    • 41 mos
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Organizer

Aaron Hinman 
Organizer
Salt Lake City, UT
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