I’m about to write a post I don’t want to write, and which I’ve put off writing for most of the day.
My reservation is a bit of a mystery to me…but I think it goes back to attitudes impressed upon me in childhood. About how it’s somehow a failure to ask for help, or maybe even to need help.
But I do need help.
A year ago, my husband and I were well on our way to launching a successful cottage industry selling his artisanal hot sauces. It was something that had been a passion of his even longer than I was – I remember him telling me that he wanted to marry flavor and heat way back when we were only dating, and I really had no idea that he would be my husband in a matter of months.
He went through all the legal steps to be able to sell the sauces, and we invested the bulk of our modest savings in the company. Jim believed in what he was doing – and I believed in Jim. I designed labels compliant with state law; a friend made us a logo image for a very reasonable price. We became vendors at three area farmer’s markets, craft fairs, and other events – and we were seeing not only increasing sales, but also repeat business.
But, inside Jim’s body, pancreatic cancer had taken hold. A string of minor but annoying health concerns that began on August 24 – the day after our twentieth anniversary – culminated in a swollen, painful leg. A trip to the doctor became a hospitalization for deep vein thrombosis – and revealed that my powerfully built husband, who had struggled with his weight for most of his life, had lost 20 pounds in the month since his last doctor’s appointment, and had protein markers for cancer in his blood.
Further testing showed pancreatic cancer that had metastasized to his liver. He was given six-twelve months to live, and chemotherapy to try to minimize tumor growth was to start within weeks.
On the first day of chemo, he went into distress twice. The last time was severe enough that he was transferred to the emergency room, then admitted to a larger medical center’s critical care unit. It was determined that he’d had a minor heart attack either during or after the infusions. The tumors on his liver were overtaxing his heart.
And he was turning yellow from jaundice. Stents were placed to try to circumvent the tumor, but they only seemed to help for a day or two. Then the jaundice was back, and there was nothing more to be done. He came home on hospice care on December 13, 2017.
On January 12, 2018, he died at home in the bed we shared.
He had life insurance – but it took me a bit to track it down, since he’d lost the paperwork. It took longer for me to file the claim. I had strong reservations about that – it was so final, and so much like profiting off the death of my best friend. Things weren’t urgent – I had the IRA distribution, then the tax refund.
But the money trickled away, and now we’re waiting. That final hospital has taken months and still hasn’t released his medical records so the insurance company can make a determination about the settlement. We have Social Security benefits, and are cutting expenses where we can – but it’s not enough to meet our needs. I could take part-time work, but we have a couple of events coming up, and I’d have to ask for those days off. Also, my daughter, who was very close to her father, would rather I stay here. She worries that I might die, too. She’s not quite 14.
What I most want to do is freelance. I want to be able to support us with my writing, and maybe, eventually, with some voiceover work (I’ve been researching that, but need more time to get to the point where I can seek jobs in that arena). I’d like to be able to provide for our modest needs.
What I need is help getting the word out.
What I need is customers and/or patrons willing to support my craft on a monthly basis.
I’m hoping this post will help me to find that. Because I’m not looking for a handout, but helping hands would be hugely appreciated. Our needs are modest, and we tend toward the frugal.
- I have a Patreon page, here. It’s been a bit neglected, but I have plans in the works to spruce it up. Even a dollar a month brings benefits, and patrons add up. Being able to count on a specific monthly amount would ease some of my burden of worry.
- A week ago, I posted my first freelancing gig to fiverr. It’s based on stream of consciousness writing, like this post, and an idea I’ve wanted to pursue for years. If you’re looking for a unique gift at a very reasonable price – it might be just the thing to tickle your fancy.
- If neither of these options is right for you, I can use people willing to spread the word. Share the links, this post, or bits of our story. Help me to cast a net to find those who can use what I have to offer, and everyone benefits.
- I’m adding a donate button at the suggestion of one of my readers.
Well, I had reservations. I still do. It’s a place of vulnerability, sharing this difficult position we’ve landed in. Sharing my pain, and my worries.
Thank you for reading, and for helping.