Dealing with Job Loss
“Debbie? Jamie? Can you come here?” called my father. Jamie, my little sister, and I ran across the cold hardwood floor. Our dog, Kane, followed us, leaving a trail of his slobber behind. We run down the stairs to find our mother and father sitting down on the clean white couch. The lights were dimmed, which was unusual. The lights were always up all the way, lighting our way through the darkness.
My mother’s voice cracked, “Sit down, please.” Kane went up to my parents and sat in front of them. My mother said, “Your father lost his job today. We can no longer afford to live in this house or keep the dog.” Jamie had tears streaming down her face. She clung to Kane, who licked her tears away.
I sat there with blurred vision from the tears and said, “How did that happen?” My father’s voice cracked like pop rocks, “They couldn’t afford to keep me anymore.” Jamie cried out, “Where will we live?” My mother wiped her tears, “With your grandparents, Mema and Pop-Pop. It’ll only be for a year or two.”
Little did they know we’d still be there, right now, going onto year six of living with my father’s parents.
Living with my grandparents came with some struggles, but none of the challenges going on now compare to the ones that got us here. Two of the hardest struggles were seeing my father upset and giving our dog away. After all of our furniture was moved in, it was time to say goodbye to Kane. Jamie and my little brother, AJ, were very attached to Kane, so when it was time to let him go, it was hard on them. It was a clear summer day; the sky was a deep blue, clouds lurked in the sky, and the smell of the dark green grass consumed your nose. As lovely as the weather was, it was not a lovely day. This would be the last time we ever saw Kane. After we played with him and hugged him goodbye, my father put him in the back of his black pick-up truck. Once you heard the truck turn on, my siblings grabbed my hands as they cried. I held the tears back so I was able to see the look on Kane’s face as he left us; his puppy dog eyes were full blown. As my father turned the corner, we heard a bark from Kane like he knew we weren’t going to see him ever again and he wasn’t going to see us again. That was the last bark we heard from him.
After dropping Kane off at his new owner’s house, my father seemed different. He became upset because he wasn’t the parent bringing in the money any more; my mother had to get a job and she hadn’t had a job in a little over twelve years. My siblings and I were not used to him being home all the time. My father used to work from six in the morning to ten at night; therefore, we’d never see him. It was nice seeing him more often than before, but that was change itself. My mother isn’t a yeller like my dad is. He has no trouble with raising his voice, which was something my siblings and I had to get used to. We had to get used to many things.
One thing we had to get used to was living in a house with seven people; my grandfather, my grandmother, my father, my mother, my younger sister, my younger brother, and I all fit into a one-floor house with a basement that is used as a playroom and storage room. Sharing two bathrooms with seven people is a task we still haven’t quite mastered; someone is always in there, and you can’t ever be alone. For example, if you want to take a shower in the matter of ten to fifteen minutes that you’re in there, at least two people will have used the bathroom for something. There is no privacy in this household; which took a while to get used to. If you want some alone time, take a trip to one of the five cars parked in our driveway. Even then, there is no guarantee that you’ll be alone to your thoughts. Another thing we had to get used to is getting ready in the dark. My sister and I share a room. My mother worked, which meant she needed the bathroom to get ready, and my grandfather occupied the other bathroom, so from eighth grade to eleventh grade I got ready by closet light. I have mastered putting on make-up with barely having any lighting and picking out clothing that matched in the pitch-black room.
Somehow, we’ve made this little clustered home work. We still struggle financially, we’ve dealt with loss, we struggled with change, but in the midst of it all, this made us become closer. Yes, we fight often because nobody gets their “breathing time” but we come out of those fights loving each other more. Many outside-of-home struggles have taken place while we lived at this house too; which also, made us closer as a family. AJ still isn’t over the loss of Kane; he keeps his collar in his room, Jamie and I lost some of our closest friends, who happened to be neighbors, and because of the move my father cannot pass our old house without feeling guilt come over him, and we can barely afford the house we are currently living in now.
We have all these struggles still going on since that day my father lost his job, but I believe that the money we had before was blocking the relationships my siblings and I now have with our parents. I didn’t ever see my dad when we had all the money before, my mother wouldn’t have gotten back into working, and I am very close to my Grandmother now that I live with her; I talk to her about everything. Without all of this we wouldn’t be the family we are today and I wouldn’t change a thing about the past, which got us here.