ALL HANDS AND HEARTS ON DECK: Please help MY MOTHER ROSE and her CAREGIVER daughter Rosanne stay afloat and anchored.

The albatross of DELINQUENT PROPERTY TAXES is around our necks. A dime, a dollar, or any amount is greatly appreciated to keep Mom in place where she’s lived for over 75 years without threats of tax liens, foreclosure on property and our family home auctioned off.

Having checked with our municipal tax office, we cannot defer property taxes. The State of New Jersey has no hardship exemptions for centenarian homeowners on social security income. We have one option available to avoid the Cranford Township Tax Sale scheduled for September 18, 2019: Make a minimum PAYMENT OF $8,367.18.

My Mother no longer understands how the world or her own body operates; so, the worry of paying property taxes falls outside the scope of her existence. This writer, Mom’s daughter and sole caregiver, has all the responsibilities of keeping Mom here at home safe and sound. My unpaid caregiving duties are 24/7 365 days of the year with no substantive time off.

It hurts to the bone when life’s not your own to live and experience. Welcome to caregiver’s corner, a cloistered cluttered space and time of existence where family caregiving is a noble sacrifice. We create spaces of comfort and dignity for our loved ones at the expense of our own wellbeing. We do for our loved ones because it’s the right thing to do.

Since my job loss on November 4, 2011, I’ve been caregiving my Mother Rose. I’m her keeper, her guardian, her shadow as she navigates her way in a world and its operations she barely understands. Mom is dementia challenged. Her cognitive abilities are on a permanent decline. A survivor of over a dozen operations, a breast cancer survivor since 1989, diagnosed with atrial fibrillation at 98 and extreme arthritis in both knees at 103, Mom struggles every day but still manages to live and carry on with dignity and grace. 

Suffering is part of life. None of us are guaranteed joyful only journeys. My Mother experienced much suffering but never gave in to self-pity.  At 106 YEARS OLD she is disabled mentally, physically, emotionally; but, she still smiles and laughs. She’s human with a heartbeat that still beats universal notes all of us can understand, if we open up our minds and hearts, spend some time with older individuals, and understand life is meaningful even to the very end.

 It’s all perspective and it’s on us to get it right. This nation and its communities are in the end nothing more than reflections of us. How we treat our most vulnerable populations is telling. Still, the journey to one hundred is an adventure most of us will never experience. For those persons who do, can we not make their final days on this earth easier?

They say nothing is certain in this world except death and taxes; but, tax policies are subject to change. Until they’re termed or voted out, our government officials and representatives make policy choices and decisions depending on group priorities. This writer believes centenarians, unfortunately, come in last place. This needs to change.

We all have stories to tell; but, when it comes to the oldest of the old who speaks for them when they no longer can speak for themselves? The answers and solutions lie within each one of us who truly care about our Mothers, Fathers, our Grandmothers, our Grandfathers, our family members and good friends who’ve committed the crime of living beyond death norm statistics. Surely, we can make some changes and adjustments to help our centenarian homeowners live out the rest of their lives at home aging in place with dignity.

This writer never imagined herself in this situation; but, life throws us all kinds of curve balls. Odds are most of us are not home run hitters; but, that doesn’t mean we’re going to strike out every time either.

As my life burns fast to its finish, once again I find myself battling against the odds of winning; but, at least, I’m still trying to get Mom and myself around the bases to home plate and score one for duty, honor, and dignity.

Yes, the property taxes are delinquent; but, that’s no reflection on this writer’s time and space spent on this earth. As a human being, as a daughter, as a mother, as a caregiver, this writer is doing the best she can and will continue to do the best she can till death do us part. That’s my promise to Mom, to my deceased Dad, to myself, and to THOSE ANGELS OF MERCY OUT THERE who donate whether a dollar or dime.

As long as we’re alive we’re all going to age; and, no matter how well we plan, order and arrange life’s operations according to our own expectations…Life’s wrecking ball will come swinging our way one day. Deal with it no matter how down and dirty it gets. That’s what this writer is doing, trying to get my Mom Rose round the bases to home plate safe.

SMALL ACTS OF KINDNESS DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. All donations will be used to pay down the 2018-2019 property tax bill balance of $12,376.43. This writer hopes together, we can raise at least $8,400 to avoid the tax sale on my Mother’s property.

Thank you for your time and consideration and know this: I am trying to stand on my own and deliver positive results for Mom and myself; but, sometimes even those strongest in will and determination need acts of kindness. Whatever positivity and blessings this writer experiences in life, she will pass them on someday to someone somewhere in need.



Rosanne Estwanick
Cranford, NJ

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