This year has begun for me with an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness. Which, obviously, means its going to be a banner year. One for the books, for sure.
Since my grandfather died two weeks ago, I have been working especially hard to help my stepfather find employment. Because of the shitty economy, he's been unemployed now for more than a year and a half. Considering what my relationship used to be with this man, I never thought I'd be doing this. I used to hate him. Like, actually hate him. Now, I don't. He was someone who told me I was a useless slut for too many years of my life, I didn't think I could ever like him. I thought I'd never have enough therapy to move past those words and how they affected my self-esteem. Now, he's mellowed significantly in his old(er) age, and I've seen him change. He's not the self-involved verbally abusive man he once was. He took care of his dying father full-time for more than a year, and he is trying hard to provide for his family. I can respect that, regardless of our previous relationship. When I see him now, I can hug him and appreciate him for trying to repair the relationships he'd badly damaged with alcohol years before.
I try to spend at least a half hour everyday looking on Monster.com, etc. for jobs that he can apply to. Since he doesn't have the means or skills to navigate the internet at home, I can help him in this way. I revamped his resume, and I apply for positions on his behalf almost daily. I'm not resentful that I am doing this either. I actually feel as though I am not doing enough. My family is drowning and I feel helpless to save them. Instead, I am here in New York, focused on my own problems which vary from the serious (I can barely pay my own bills) to the insignificant (I pull my own long hair when I put my bag on my shoulder).
Over the last few weeks, I've weighed the pros and cons of how I can be more helpful to my family and their situation. The one thing I keep returning to is moving back to Pennsylvania so that I can help them more actively. The pros of this decision are that I could be more accessible to my family - not just my mom, stepfather and brother, but to my dad and my grandparents. My one remaining grandfather, whom I consider myself close to, has asked me if I plan on moving home every time I see him for the past several years. The first few times I just laughed this off -- I mean, WHY would I leave NEW YORK, to go back to my hometown? It seems ludicrous. Now, more than ever, I see the merits of being closer to my family - my whole family - and I sometimes feel a crippling guilt for not being there when they really need me.
... to be continued...