*As told to Kally anonymously
I never like spotlight but I want to tell my story in hopes that someone will find it inspiring during the holidays. I know all about the dreadful festive season because I was alone for many years before what I can only describe as a miracle that happened to me. So if you are in need of an uplifting story today, read mine.
Like I’ve said, I had been alone for many years. It was partially due to my choice. I am an orphan so I was shuffled around foster homes a lot and this caused me to mistrust people in general. I can’t take anyone’s word at face value, I don’t do well in social situations and I hate to build any kind of bond with anyone. Anyone who get close to me, I run. As far away as possible. Or I’ll turned aggressive because I don’t think I’m worthy of another person’s care.
Despite that, I still managed to get married and have two kids. They are everything to me but yet I still managed to keep them at arm’s length. I was struggling badly at that period. I couldn’t cope with my two young kids who constantly need my affirmation as their father.
While I did not abuse them, I was often staying away from home, often for weeks. I rather choose to hang out at shelters or parks in harsh and cold weather than to face my wife and children in the comfort of my own home. Yes, I was that pathetic.
Eventually, my wife had enough of me, took our kids and left me across the country to stay with her family. In those years that I didn’t communicate with her, she filed for divorce and gain sole custody of the children. I didn’t even contested. I just didn’t find the energy to walk into the court hearing. I know I’ll be seeing those little hearts breaking and I don’t think I can cope with it.
Due to my condition, I couldn’t keep any job for very long. People don’t understand that I can’t communicate very well and I don’t have any official medical reasons to state why I will not turn up for a meeting because I felt overwhelmed. I did odd jobs for a few years because I like being on night shift jobs like the petrol attendant or the warehouse security guard. I felt more confident at night as my cover and don’t usually faced too many customers. As a result, my income isn’t regular, my meals are mainly unhealthy food and my health suffered along with my living conditions.
This year’s pandemic, many have seen deaths and many have lost their jobs. When it couldn’t seem all that bad to me, I was stuck down by Covid-19. I was admitted into the hospital while worrying about the piling medical bills (I didn’t have insurance, I wasn’t sure if my government was going to cover me). Because I couldn’t report to work for a few months, I was fired by my boss. My landlord found out that I was positive with Covid-19 in hospital, called my ex-boss and asked him to send someone to collect all my belongings. He was effectively kicking me out.
There and then all I wanted was to die on the hospital bed. I don’t have a family, I don’t have a job and now I lost a roof over my head.
This should be end of my story but it isn’t. My work mates booked me a temporary place when I discharged from the hospital so I can self-isolate for another 14 days. The small studio unit was barely furnished except for an old mattress and a heater but I am forever grateful that someone cared enough to find a place for me.
On the first day of my quarantine, one of my work mates came to visit. He stood outside my door, we talked between the closed door for awhile and he slipped an envelope of 1000 dollars collected by everyone at work underneath my door before he left. I never cried so hard in my life. I was only in the job for 8 months and I haven’t spoken to anyone in my workplace much. I didn’t know anyone knows my name, let alone that I mattered so much to them.
This was the turning point in my life.
Everyday, someone from my old workplace will come over my place with groceries and packed meals. My work mates will take turns to sit outside my door and chat with me, sometimes for a few minutes and sometimes for hours. We will talked about our interests, our pasts, our mistakes, our regrets. It felt liberating for the first time that I can actually talk to someone without feeling the compelling need to run away.
On my last day of quarantine, my work mates told me that our old workplace have been bought over by a new management and the new boss now wants to meet me to discuss terms on my new position!
My new job comes with medical benefits and I was hired back with a condition that I need to start visiting the company’s therapist. I did followed through with weekly appointments and slowly, I recovered physically and mentally. Each therapy session was painful and I cried badly in most of them. I never felt so relieved to let go of my anguish. I know I still have a long journey ahead of me but I have embraced who I am, I understood where my standing in society and I know I am worth so much more by my actions, not by my past.
Beginning of this month, I have made contact with my ex-wife again. Through regular conversations, she (blessed her heart) have invited me over to her parents’ place to celebrate New Year with them. I look forward in seeing my children again. I know it is not easy to mend relationships and I have zero expectations that they will accept me back but I am determine to try my best to be in their lives.
So if you are in similar situation as I was, don’t give up hope. Don’t be afraid to accept love, warmth and care from another person. Sometimes, doors closed for a reason so that they can open new doors of opportunities for you to lead a better life.
Unemployment isn’t end of the world, if you need help to get back to your feet again, check out these articles:
Conversation with Patty Wolters on Unemployment During Pandemic Times
12 Ways to Turn Unemployment into a Positive Situation
Feeling Ashamed of Being Unemployed
Best things in life are meant to be shared, start spreading MiddleMe around, after all, sharing is caring.