Judi and Coral's living expenses
In just over two weeks, 78 wonderful people have donated almost 9,000 dollars! And that's just been through this GoFundMe site! Some of you have contacted me directly and sent support. You know who you are. ;) As my friend Tanya has said, "I am so lucky to know most of you and... this has all really exceeded my expectations in a way I can't describe!"
If you're wondering, only Tanya knows the identities of everyone who has given through the GoFundMe campaign. Some of you opted to let your name be seen so I can see (and will be thanking) those. I don't know how else to thank the others than to keep saying thank you. :)
As some of you may know, there was some controversy among people I know about how much I initially shared about my situation and my daughter's experience on this public site. Because of that controversy, I had Tanya take down my comment, even though it provided the context for how we are in the situation we are in currently. I've continued to struggle with that dilemma. How else do we combat stigma without speaking out? I saw that someone my friend knows read my story and felt like it was just like her own. Frankly, that shocked me because I feel very isolated and alone. But then, one of the ways I am surviving all this is because there are other people who share their stories.
I know there are lots of opinions about sharing vs. not sharing... I appreciate that other people have different perspectives from me. I am not interested in fighting with anyone. I am, however, interested in fighting the paradigm. Not the paradigm that my daughter has a right to her own story and privacy, etc. The paradigm, the STIGMA that one person's story (say, childhood cancer) is more appropriate to share than another person's story (say, childhood PTSD from sexual abuse).
I can't even tell you the kinds of things people have said about my kid because they judge her and judge her against the standards they have for other kids who have not experienced the things she has. Utterly shameful they would say such terrible things about her - and me as a parent. I doubt I am the only parent with this kind of experience. Shame. On. Them.
Shame has too much power.
Coral was and still is aware any time I share something about her on social media. In fact, she is always interested in her story being shared if it helps someone, particularly if it helps someone feel less alone.
Even so, I had Tanya take down the original comment on this GoFundMe page because I didn't need my people - who hadn't even seen the page yet - making my life more difficult than it already is.
Here is some info from my original comment that I will still share:
Four years ago (in 2013), I was laid off from my full-time job. For the 1st time since 2008, the federal government terminated extended unemployment benefits. So, I got 6 months of unemployment benefits. Of course I continued looking for full-time work, worked part-time when I could and began consulting. I used the majority of my retirement savings and borrowed money from friends and family (you know who you are <3). I continued to become one of 2 final candidates for good jobs and continued to get turned down. And not turned down as if I weren't a viable candidate. The hiring employer frequently asked to contact me and offered me generous compliments and affirmations and let me know that the choice had been difficult. I decided to accept that it was as if God was reaching down and preventing me from getting a full-time job.
Given the number of times Coral has been hospitalized and the increasing complexities of her struggles even when she isn't in the hospital, it has been a blessing that I didn't have a full-time employer I was letting down every time I had to spend 2-3 hours a day commuting to a hospital. Financially, however, it has been devastating. I started earning a paycheck when I was 15 or 16 and continued to work part-time all through high school and college. For better or for worse, I was raised in Calvinism and went to Calvin College and have the stereotypical strong work ethic of a Calvinist. So it has been difficult - in an ontological sense - to be in a situation where I'm struggling to support myself. I've never been in that position before. It's also hard to maintain flexibility and bend in response to each new challenge. It has been especially hard to remember that I'm more than just Coral's mom.
Many of you have generously offered help - more than once. Please don't think I've forgotten. I haven't. Because of that, it was especially hard to agree to "let" Tanya do this. But, my need is real and I'm appreciative of her help.
Despite this lengthy post, you may have other questions. Please feel free to contact me, privately, and ask. So long as you can be patient in my response time, I will gladly share more of my story and the ever-changing horizon.
Anyway, thanks for reading/listening and considering. Thank you for being a part of my story. And please don't ever underestimate your influence. Whether it's with offering someone financial support, emotional support, or just a word of encouragement, it all makes a difference. Look at what has happened when 78+ people came together! Much love to each of you! <3
You guys - wow. I am so grateful to each and every one of you! Tanya just told me that the fund made it to $5,000 dollars in less than a week! Wow. WOW. She also told me that there are people who have donated who are not in my list of FB friends or hers.... so I can only guess they are friends of yours. You all are amazing. Seriously. She told me she raised the limit on the account so it can keep going. I feel kind of weird about that but honestly, this whole thing is out of my comfort zone! ♥ :) You all, your love and support, you are helping me beyond the money you're donating. You are encouraging my spirit - which I have greatly needed. Thank you. THANK YOU. Within the last few days, I've really come down with something and am concerned I might have a staph infection again. So, I'm going to my doctor tomorrow morning. It's so nice to be able to focus on taking care of myself - not just Coral - right now. Thank you, again, for helping me be able to do that.
Hope all is good!
You guys... life can be discouraging, can't it? I am TIRED. Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually... I'm guessing you have times when you're tired and/or discouraged, too. That's why I want to share this amazing thing with you: You all - and people you know - have raised over $7,500 in 7 days! YOU DID THAT. Obviously/of course: THANK YOU. I mean, given everything going on right now and how much it has and still is demanding from me and for the next few weeks at least, this is so incredibly helpful. I mean, geeze do I wish I could take this and go to an island in the Pacific or the Wizarding World of Harry Potter or something. But this is life-saving - just as the post says. It's not an exaggeration. If I didn't have you all as family and friends, I would be one of many heart-breaking statistics. Anyway, back to combatting discouragement... this is amazing! This is a beautiful, loving and generous phenomena. You, people I know, and your friends (I presume) - people I don't know - have joined to gather in this amazing way in just 7 days! Also, I'm starting to have success in advocating for Coral's academic future. AND, thanks to her being where she is, finally, she is getting plugged into to more resources, etc. I keep saying it is still a long road ahead but it is also still worth pausing and celebrating and being grateful. Even though I'm tired and overwhelmed (by many things in the world, not just the things in my own little world) I don't feel discouraged right now. And I am just as grateful for that gift as I am for the financial (and other) support you all are giving me. God bless you, each and every one. Seriously. ♥