For the past few years, I had lived with my elderly father and brother in my dad's house. It was a shock when my 63 year old brother developed eye cancer, which metastasized into liver cancer and took his life just three months later. Two years later, my 99 year old dad who I also had taken care of, passed away just a day and a half after we had him moved to a nursing facility.
After my brother passed, I stayed with my dad in the family house as long as possible, but the roof had developed huge leaks, the kitchen was in terrible shape, the driveway was disintegrating, and the cost of repairs would have been impossible to manage. So I purchased a home I could afford. But the costs of dad's home health aides, trips and motel stays to the Philadelphia eye specialist and the bills while in my Dad's home have me fighting a losing battle with the bills. My siblings have helped, and I'm grateful for that, but they have their own families to take care of. With their being hundreds of miles away, it was left to me to do the day-to-day caregiving. I was very glad I could be here to do it, but now I face the prospect of losing my house.
I had to take loans to cover the costs of my dad's bills and his and my brother's, I went through any savings I had, and neither my brother nor my dad had any money in their estates. My dad's house was foreclosed upon, and my brother was mentally disabled and had no savings.
It's hard to ask for help, but I'm sort of at the end of my rope. I'm physically exhausted from caring for them (no spring chicken, I'm 59) and the prospect of losing my house that I worked so hard to get, well, some days it's hard to get out of bed.
I know my request is not nearly as important as those who are in need of medical help, or have been displaced by natural disaster, or are fighting some other worthy fight, but any help you feel you could offer would be so very much appreciated. If I could just stay in the place that means safety and healing, I could see the light at the end of the long tunnel of caregiving and mourning the loss of two people I loved with all my heart.
God bless you for reading my story and I send loving thoughts and prayers your way.
- Paul Van Laak
- Mary Wynings
- Renee Kinard