Another month of 2015 has come and gone. I’ve been absolutely amazed at how my finances have worked out this year; Even when the markets were dropping, and my 401k plan was taking a hit, my net worth kept chugging right along. I always had cash when I needed it, and even spendier months didn’t seem to impact my overall financial picture. Some months I even found myself scratching my head and wondering how exactly the money had worked out.
Financially speaking, October was an awesome month. Stock prices started coming back up. I continued paying down on the car loan. I somehow managed to hold onto a little more cash.
The money took care of itself. And thank goodness, because I didn’t have the capacity to deal with anything else.
On October 24th, in the wee hours of the morning, we welcomed my nephew into the world. My Mom, my sister and I had gotten the call almost 24 hours before, and at my sister’s request, were by her side for one of the most difficult and heartbreaking things any woman will ever experience. He was beautiful and perfect in every way. But he would never take a breath in this life.
Losing a child is one of the most difficult things a parent will ever experience. Losing a child after losing your partner? Unimaginable. My heart breaks for my sister, and everything that she’s been through this year. I can’t even begin to comprehend the pain she must be feeling right now.
As heartbreaking as this experience has been, we are thankful to the many people who have been able to help us through every step. Especially the wonderful nurses at the hospital. Yes, her doctors were wonderful. But our interactions with doctors were brief and infrequent. It was the nurses who were there by our side day after day, hour after hour. They were the ones who answered our questions. They told us what to expect, and didn’t shy away from the difficult conversations. They were compassionate and flexible. They laughed when we laughed, and cried when we cried. They made phone calls and gathered information, and went above and beyond on so many things. And they held the baby, and called him by name, and treated him with compassion and respect. I can’t imagine the strength it must take to do what they did, and yet they did it all without ever flinching. And for that, I am eternally grateful.
I’ve started and deleted numerous posts over the past week. There’s so much that I’ve wanted to say. But I also realize that this is an experience that no one wants to hear about. The death of a baby is such a horrible thing, no one wants to talk about it. You don’t realize how many people you know have experienced the loss of a child until you are going through it yourself. The past week I’ve heard so many women tell stories of their own babies, some women that I’d just met, and others I’ve known for years, but never knew of their loss. What a lonely experience it must be, to go through such a heartbreaking loss, but feel that you could never talk about it.
It seems weird posting about money and grief together. Money doesn’t stop bad things from happening. Life isn’t fair, and we’re dealt the things we’re dealt. But having my money in order meant one less thing to have to deal with. I didn’t have to give a second thought to all the trips to the hospital lobby for Starbucks and sodas to keep us going through the long, sleepless nights. I chipped in for fast food and cafeteria meals without pause. I didn’t have to worry about the budget when I ordered flowers for the funeral, or picked up a backup outfit for his baptism. I didn’t have to worry about the financial implications of taking time off work (I still have PTO remaining, but it wouldn’t have been an issue even if I didn’t). Money didn’t stop the bad things from happening, or the grief that would follow. It was just one less thing I had to worry about.
I keep saying I’ll be glad when 2015 is over with. It’s been a terrible, heartbreaking year for my family. But time is somewhat abstract when you think about life. It isn’t as though the end of the year will erase the memories and heartache that took place. Time marches on, and you’re forced to carry it all with you.
- Cindy W.