Dear Everyone,

I lost my job today.

At 9:00 AM, I got the call that lodged my heart in my throat. I’ve been crying all day. Going from financially stable (finally!) to financially insecure in a matter of a few unexpected minutes can really rock your world. Add to that the feelings of unworthiness, failure, embarrassment, disappointment, self-doubt, and fear, and you’ve got a real day-changer.

Since 2015, my life has been in turmoil. Not just everyday, run-of-the-mill turmoil, but some serious, big-ass, bring-you-to-your-knees turmoil. I really thought things were beginning to smooth out, but as it most always does, life had other plans for me. I’ve been thinking about all the major changes that I’ve tallied up since 2015.

Here’s a quick rundown:

2015:
Moved to Ohio for Chris’s job
Met Colleene
Sent Sam to college

2016:
Published my first book
Went on national book tour
Came out of the closet
Lost many “friends” in the process
Mom’s fall and shoulder fracture

2017:
Lost Colleene
Met Libby
Chris met Jen
Began divorce proceedings
Committed to stress center
Moved out of family home
Mary Claire’s dog attack
Adopted Ruby
Sent Gus to college

2018:
Had back surgery
Lost Maggie
Lost Libby
Lost my job
Met Julie
Got a new job
Moved to Zionsville
Sent Mary Claire to college

2019:
Got a new job
Lost that new job
Got a 2nd new job
Moved to downtown Indy
Hospitalized for severe asthma
Divorce finalized
Lost Lucy
Adopted Sissy

2020:
Global pandemic
Turned 50 in isolation
No visits with Mom
Downtown riots
Political unrest
Sam to SLC
Moved to Northeast Indy
Got Oscar
Sent George to college

2021:
Experienced hypertensive crisis
Mom pneumonia and sepsis
Moved to Lexington
Gus moved in
Got a new job
Sam to LA
Lost Uncle Brent
Lost Cousin Brook
Lost Mom
Bob Alzheimers
Bob moves to Florida
Carrie lymphoma

2022:
Bought RV
Sold everything
Went nomadic
Carrie glioblastoma
Lost Oscar
Lost Carrie

2023: 
Chris remarried (found out via social media)
Lost job

According to University Hospitals, the top 5 most stressful life events are:

  • Death of a loved one 
  • Divorce 
  • Moving 
  • Major illness or injury 
  • Job loss 

Let me summarize my last 8 years for you:

  • Death of a loved one (3 pets; 4 humans, including my mom and my sister)
  • Divorce (after a 30+ year relationship)
  • Moving (7 times)
  • Major illness or injury (3)
  • Job loss (5 total; 3 losses, 2 voluntary changes)

It’s a lot.

Of course, there are magic moments in all of that, too. New relationships, new friends, new people, new places, new adventures. 

But the grief.

The underlying, pervasive grief.

My gawd, the grief.

Getting my footing while traversing all those life changes and all that slippery ground has been challenging at best, debilitating at worst. I’ve battled depression, anxiety, stomach issues, and crippling back pain amidst it all. Most of it, probably brought on by stress. The mind/body connection is undeniable.

Julie, in her steadfast support, says that losing this job is not my fault. “There were so many roadblocks and miscommunications and shifting expectations and so much mansplaining to deal with,” she says. And a lot of that is true. I could play the blame game if I wanted to. I could point fingers and build a pretty good defense case. But at the times I lost my last two jobs, I was in the throes of grief. The first time around, it was my divorce. This time around, I’m still reeling from the loss of my mom and sister. Grief must have had a profound effect on my performance.

And the truth is… Corporate America doesn’t really care about my grief. Regardless of what any company might say about “employees first” and “take the time you need” and “we’ve got your back,” businesses must remain profitable.

Everyone is replaceable.

I’ve never really dug the Corporate America culture. I’d rather ask permission than forgiveness (translated: I’m not a go-getter), I’d rather listen in meetings than talk (translated: I don’t have any good ideas), I like to perfect my work before I present it (translated: I’m a horrible brainstormer), I’d rather let someone else be celebrated for their achievements (translated: I don’t deserve any kudos), I like to be a silent contributor (translated: If you don’t sing your own praises, no one else will). So, in Corporate America’s view, I don’t have the “fire in my belly.”

And this time around, I really don’t.

I can’t go back into the melee. I simply can’t. There are so many things I’m good at; so many ways I can contribute; so many lives I can touch. But being a cog in a production wheel is just no longer something I’m interested in.

That fire has died.

Today, I cried a lot. I retreated to my bed, pulled the shades, gathered the pups, and tried to nurse my swollen eyes and my bruised ego. Sleep would not cooperate, though. My mind just continued to race. But as I rested in the darkness, something else came over me. It was a warm sense of belonging, love, and acceptance. I felt safely held in the darkness like a child, like Mom and Carrie used to hold me when I was young. I felt them there in that dark wave of sadness and defeat. I felt their love enveloping me. In that moment, it was enough.

I’m still paralyzed with fear about my financial future, my healthcare coverage (or lack thereof). My savings will be wiped out quickly—that I’ve experienced before. I need to create something sustainable, something that is mine, something that doesn’t leave me at the mercy of others’ whims.

I have to figure out what it is.

But this I know: There is a phoenix in me somewhere that will rise. She’s buried in a mountain of ashes right now—the ashes of everything that’s burned down around her in the past decade. But she will find her way out, and she will fly.

And when that happens, I hope you’ll be there, soaring with me.

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One Response

  1. But wait! I thought this was the opening line of a book you were writing. But it’s for real 😢.
    This I know, you are a strong willed woman and you will survive ! We love you and will be praying that God will direct your path. 💕💕

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