Finding Peace — Manuscript Post #43
–Sessions: 32 of 53
Monday, September 14, 2009 11:00am
Blood Donation, Apheresis, Number 301
I told Elsie a story about something that happened since our previous session. The mother of one of our son’s friends called my wife. She was concerned that my wife and I were being too supportive of our son and his career plans. She specifically told my wife that she was concerned our son wouldn’t be successful. I wouldn’t dream of saying something like this to another parent. My wife thinks these parents are projecting their current and ongoing job concerns onto their student. They don’t support their student’s career plans and our support of our son upsets them.
I asked my wife what she thinks it means that I’m telling our son to do what he wants, and I actually mean it. She said something that I did not expect. She said “you don’t like to hear it, but you are supremely confident”. She said that I’m very confident about my career and that is why I tell our sons that they can do whatever they want. I was stunned. I was getting insights both at therapy and at home. I would not have thought of it that way. I don’t think of myself as confident, I really don’t.
I waited and asked about this later in the week to be sure I had heard her right. She told me the same thing. We talked about this issue again. I don’t want to be the person that tells my son he can’t do what he wants to do. If fate decides that my son can’t do what he wants, for whatever reason, so be it. And, how do I know he can’t succeed at whatever he chooses to do? Rather than trying to control what he does, I had contacted two persons I know that had succeeded in the career my son was pursuing. I had prepared a list of questions for them on how I could best help my son succeed.
Elsie listened to all of this, and didn’t say a lot. She did say that our being supportive of our son and my finding resources that could help him are wonderful.
I had been wanting to ask her about why therapy works so well. Why does it help so much to simply talk about things? Elsie had a lot to say about this question. Talking about what I experienced growing up provides support and validation for what I was feeling. Talking about what I experienced goes against all the rules of ACA, that we don’t talk about what is going on, that we don’t talk about our feelings. Talking is the opposite of what I saw growing up. Talking about what happened refutes the denial I saw. Talking in therapy is a safe place to explore what happened.
As the time between therapy sessions increased, so did the amount of stuff that happened between sessions.
After this session, I got a voicemail from Snap, he wanted to discuss our mother’s condition. She was still in the hospital, still planning to be home in a few weeks. The financial situation continued to get more complex. He told me that at one point they had someone come to the apartment to care for my mother. This person stole some checks and a credit card, and used both. This meant there were more unpaid debts than I thought. He had also done another payday loan. He needed more cash. He told me that the Social Security checks had stopped all together. It was not clear why. I tried to ask, but I didn’t get any usable answers. I’m not sure if he didn’t know or just didn’t want to tell me.
I deposited cash into his checking account, but, it turns out his bank takes any money that comes into the account to pay off the accumulated debt. He told me he didn’t know about this. He wanted me to deposit more money, but I refused, I don’t see the point if the bank will simply take the money. He doesn’t know how much he owes the bank for a series of cash advances he took after the checks were stolen. I have a hard time following all the stories, and I’m not sure I’m getting the same story from day to day. There are so many debts and so many unknown debtors. How did this get so messed up?
I had made a decision to pay off my mother’s debts. Snap was clearly not keeping up with his expenses hence his continuing use of payday loans. When my mother did return home, how would she live with the existing debts? How would Snap ever live on his own when his finances were so tied up with hers, and both of them were so deeply in debt relative to their income?
Snap also asked, for the first time, for money every month. He told me he needed $200 a month. I said no. I knew that I didn’t know what was really going on. I knew that I was being sucked into his financial mess and he was quickly becoming financially dependent on me. I wanted and needed to know more about what the situation really was.
The amount of money I was spending was adding up quickly. I thought carefully about what I was doing and what the options were. I saw the following options:
1) I could have no more involvement. I could stop depositing money into Snap’s bank account and my mother’s debts would not be paid. If she was going to recover and go home, what would she live on? If she was dying, would she have a funeral?
2) I could simply give whatever money Snap asked for whenever he asked, indefinitely.
3) I could find out, as best I could, from Snap, what his, and my mother’s, income and expenses really were. I might find out that there wasn’t any point in my trying to keep it all going. Perhaps I couldn’t bail them out of the financial hole they had dug for themselves.
4) I could ask Snap what would be needed as a one-time lump sum to pay off all debts and what monthly amount would be needed to make it all work.
5) I could try to determine on my own what was needed to pay off all the debts and what was needed monthly as long as my mother was alive.
I decided to try option 3. The next time Snap called for more money I starting asking questions. I needed to know their income and expenses. I wanted to pay off my mother’s credit cards, but, I was not on her accounts so I couldn’t even find out the outstanding balances. Snap was on her accounts so I needed him to call the various lenders and authorize them to talk to me. It also became clear that Snap didn’t really know some of the answers I needed. From his guesses as to what was owed, it would take $3000 just to pay off the credit cards and the most recent payday loan.
I told Snap that I would help him but I had conditions. He had to stop doing the payday loans. If he doesn’t have enough money he needs to reduce expenses, not borrow more from a payday lender. He had to provide me the information I needed. He had to get me the balances on the credit cards. He agreed to my conditions.
Each of the credit card companies had a different procedure to have me authorized to talk to them. Even paying them was complicated. Some would only take a money order which cost me more money. The easiest way to pay off these accounts was for me to put the money in Snap’s checking account and have him pay them. This of course meant that I was trusting him to use the money to pay off these accounts.
I was now receiving the bills from the nursing home that Snap wasn’t even aware of. More and more unpaid bills were out there. I called the nursing home directly to ask questions about how Medicaid was paying for my mother’s care. It turns out that Medicaid doesn’t start paying the nursing home until the ‘patient liability’ has been paid. The first two days of each month that my mother was in the nursing home was billed to her and then Medicaid starts paying. This is why there are unpaid and ongoing bills for the nursing home. They also told me that the recommendation is not that my mother return home. Snap had been telling me she was returning home soon. The nursing home told me that they had made it clear to Snap that she wasn’t going home soon. I understood that I wasn’t getting the whole story and I never would. But I didn’t want to use this as an excuse to not deal with the situation. The reality was that my mother needed help and I had decided I would help.