Memories on Memorial Day
On this Memorial Day, I remember those who sacrificed to make my life better. I remember the stories that my father would tell about men he served with during WWII that didn’t make it back. But Memorial Day also leaves another memory in our family. One that keeps our hearts heavy to this day. My beloved Mother-in-law, the Reverend Elizabeth Perry left this world on this weekend 12 years ago.
In the late 1990s, my mother-in-law Elizabeth’s health began to deteriorate at an alarming rate. Years of mission trips to hostile countries, while she tried to bring the word of Jesus Christ to those who had never heard of him, had finally taken their toll causing her blindness, kidney failure and heart disease. She had health insurance and a retirement, but in an all too familiar story, it failed to cover her extensive medical expenses and her round the clock care expenses.
A fighter until the end, she suffered through 7 years of dialysis while also leading a life completely in shadows. I learned what fighting was all about from her. She never once allowed anyone to pity her and, whenever possible, she would preach the gospel to anyone who wanted to hear it. Her laughter was contagious and even in her decrepit state, no one could crack up a room like Elizabeth. As the years passed, her retirement shrunk to nothing and the medical bills began to pile up. Against her wishes, my family took on her expenses and continued to do so until the day she passed.
Looking back I would not change a thing about the care we gave Pastor Perry during her dying days. Unfortunately the financial strain on our single family income forced us into leveraging every asset we had. We lived paycheck to paycheck, sliding farther down into the hole of debt that we simply couldn’t get out of. Eventually, we were forced to file a Chapter 13 100% creditor recovery bankruptcy. After exhausting every alternative, it was the last resort we had. While it was a matter of public record, we never told our friends or family about our financial difficulties nor did we ask for help. We simply banded together as a family, worked harder and tightened our belt more to pay back our debts.
We were truly blessed because I have a good employer who worked with me through this financial hardship. I have no regrets as the experience galvanized the bond between myself and my family. There are moments in everyone’s life when they must choose a path and that decision changes their lives forever. This was one of those times in my life. It is because of this experience that I felt like I truly understood the plight of the middle class.
It is in my faith, the same faith that Elizabeth spent her life preaching, that I believe that those who can, must. Well friends and neighbors, I know that I can help bring back jobs to this area and with your help in November; I will set about accomplishing just that.
God bless you and yours and have a safe and fun Summer season.