Monday, February 23, 2009

Portrait: America's Heartland

I am a lucky woman. I have a stable job. I have a wonderful husband who has a stable job. We have a wonderful child who is healthy and day care we can afford. We are not rich and we live paycheck to paycheck, but the paychecks are still coming.

I have a wonderful family. Father, Mother, 3 sisters. My father owns a real estate business. They have a house, 2 dogs, food, good friends and two of my sisters are in college.

I know what you are thinking. Why is this woman writing this story? From my perspective everything looks fine.

From my perspective everything looked fine too. Until I got a shocking call this past November. My father lost everything in this economy. His business, his savings, everything. He couldnt stand the thought of his family not surviving. My father committed suicide. He took his own life so that his family could live. So my mother wouldnt lose the house. So my sisters could stay in college. He took his own life and left us wondering why he wouldnt just let us help. We could have helped. Had we know there was a problem we could have done something, anything would have been better than this. He didnt say a word.

This economy has taken my father away from me. Forever. There is no recovery plan or stimulus package that can help us. Gone.

And now I must pick up the pieces. Explain to my daughter why she doesnt get to see her grandfather anymore. Cry when I pick up the phone to call him, forgetting that he's no longer there. I don't look forward to birthdays or holidays and I cant yet look at pictures of him because the hurt is still too great and I am still not ready to face what has happened. I stay busy so I don't have time to think about it… but I am the lucky one. My father was there when I got married, and when I had my first child, his first grandchild. My sisters wont have that. It doesn't make me feel better knowing that, but it is a fact.

The economy killed my father. I don't think I can ever forgive it.

Heartland, USA