Around this time, one year (and a day) ago, I was let go from my job in Georgia. I saw my bosses car parked in the lot when I drove in, and knew that something wasn’t right, because he was never in our office on a Wednesday (he worked in a different location and only came to our office for Tuesday meetings.)
The rest of the day and, to be honest, month went by in a flash. Work opportunities were few and far between and interviews were almost non-existent. Eventually the calendar turned to February and one of my friends got me hooked up with a writers assistant job that I absolutely loved. I would get up early in the day and work almost all day on my assignments and, honestly, I don’t know if I ever loved a single job more. My luck continued to hold form, and the company that gave us the gig decided not to pay us for any of our work.
March was when my spirit really started to fade. I grew distant from my family and went three days without eating any food. Thankfully, my wife helped shake me from my funk and I was able to start working towards finding a job again.
A few weeks later, a friend that I had known in Wisconsin, passed away from glioblastoma brain cancer. Thankfully I was able to drive up for the services and spend time with my group of friends as we all mourned the loss of a wonderful man/father that we cared about a great deal.
As I posted on the blog, I found a contract job in April, but it was around this time that things in our family got a great deal more complicated.
My oldest daughter, had been retreating from us, but we thought it was normal teen angst and we just tried to engage with her as best as we could. One night we had a conversation with her that went very badly and we asked for her cell phone, so that she could have one night away from it. We were concerned about her growing dependence on the device and wanted her to unlock the phone for us so she could show us what she was doing. It was not an aggressive conversation, but she perceived it as such and exploded in rage at us. The next day we were called by her school where they informed us that she had tried to hurt herself the night before.
Mentally, you’re never prepared for this kind of conversation and all of the after-effects that come from it. The school was required to have her sent to a mental health hospital since she had informed them that she wanted to hurt herself.
At this point, I will educate you with a bit about the south. Mental healthcare is not something that is thought of highly, nor is it invested in well, but I guess those are sort of chicken v. the egg type of things. As a result of everything that had happened, our daughter was placed in a care facility that was, thankfully, less than 30 minutes from our home. Other parents at this facility were not as lucky, as some of them had to drive over 4 hours for the visitation times to see their family members or children.
When I speak of visitation at the facility, it was limited to 2 – 1 hour sessions on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The visits were conducted in a large group room and most of the kids wore paper clothing. Stating the obvious, it was a sobering experience and unbelievably trying time for our family, as I am certain it was for the other families that were visiting their loved ones also.
After a week in the care facility, our daughter was released to our care, with a need to go back for outpatient visits for the next week.
On that evening, we returned home and let her, and her younger sister (who was emotionally drained after spending a whole week missing her big sister) know that we had taken job offers back in Wisconsin, after we found that I could not find long term employment in Georgia. Our eldest, was ecstatic about the prospects of going back “home,” but our younger daughter took a bit of time before she decided that it would be good to go back. We told them both that we didn’t want to make any decision on this unless all of us could agree. By the end of the evening, it was decided that we would be moving back to Wisconsin.
Unfortunately, the happiness of that evening did not last throughout the weekend, as our eldest daughter tried to hurt her sister, along with herself while she was home, and was put back into the hospital by Monday morning.
The next day was my birthday and we went to the hospital that evening, as it was a Tuesday, for visitation and within a few minutes of being there my daughter began to scream at us and then ran out of the room.
Walking out of the hospital that evening, words failed us. We couldn’t put together what was happening with our daughter and what the future for our family looked like. A few days later, the hospital called us and told us that the only option for our daughter was to be moved to a permanent care facility in Augusta, GA (nearly 4 hours away.) My wife and I did not believe this was the best course of action and began working with our daughters social worker, who also thought she was not a good candidate for being sent away from her family. Within a few days after that incident, we had a long meeting with her and her worker to try to resolve some of the issues that were causing so many problems for all of us. Finally after finding a social worker who seemed to be able to relate with our daughter (along with us) we were able to have the conversations that allowed her to come back home with us again.
By the end of the month we were settling back into being a family again, but I had accepted a position in Wisconsin, so we worked out a situation where my parents would come and take the girls to Wisconsin for a few weeks so we could finish selling our home and both my wife and I could start our new jobs.
I drove 13.5 hours after my last day of work at my contract job and arrived in Wisconsin early on Saturday morning and had an accepted offer for our new house by the end of the weekend (that my wife had never set foot into.)
The job that I moved back for, did not work out well as they neglected to mention that I would be traveling up to 6 weeks per year to North Carolina. Thankfully, I was able to continue interviewing for other positions and found another opportunity that would be a much better fit for myself and our family. On the day that we closed the sale of our new home in Wisconsin, I accepted my current job and quit the position that I had moved back for.
The last six months have been hectic due to the fact my youngest daughter is now playing hockey (on two different teams) and that involves us being at the rink up to 5 days a week. Our eldest has picked up playing soccer again here in Wisconsin and is very excited about the prospects of making her high school team in March.
My wife’s position at the hospital is not the perfect schedule for us, but it does allow for her to see the girls every day before they go to school. My job is a 15 minute commute from home and my supervisor and co-workers have been amazing through the first six months of employment.
Just the other day I found out that one of the reasons that I was let go from my position in January, along with financial issues that the company were having, was because I was doing my job so well that things didn’t break. Imagine being told that you did your job too well and because of that, people thought you were lazy and not doing anything. It was the final gut punch from an absolutely trying year.
Never had I thought that doing my job well could be a cause for punishment, but there you have it. I am almost certain that there were other factors involved in the loss of my position, but I am nearly certain that it ever entered into their minds as to the challenges that someone would have to take on once they were terminated from their employment with a company. That is a reality that so many people have to deal with in America today as companies value profits over people more often than not.
While it is wonderful to be back in Wisconsin, I made some absolutely wonderful friends in Atlanta that I miss with all of my heart and think of on a daily (and sometimes hourly) basis. People like that are unbelievably rare and if you make friends like that, hang onto them and do everything you can to make sure you let them know how much you care about them.
After a year where I held five different jobs, I have to hope that 2020 will be a year with much more stability. The chaos that is coming with hockey/soccer/lacrosse and whatever it is that my wife and I want to do will be a welcome distraction from the challenges of the last year, but I’m hopeful that we can all take them on together.