Thursday, 21 March 2013

My Last Morning As A Working Man

It's official. As of 5:00 PM today I am an unemployed terminally ill ALS patient living off a combination of disability pension, my own retirement savings plan, and whatever assets I can salvage out of a doomed marriage and costly divorce. As of 5:00 PM today, I change from a producer to a consumer, from a provider to a non-provider, from a giver to a taker. It's quite a change for me.

Today will be a day filled with mixed emotions, and in many cases raw emotions. I work with wonderful people who, in three short years, I have come to cherish and care for. My work is rewarding, interesting, fulfilling, exciting and challenging. Where I work is a humane organization; those I work for have expressed a great deal of concern for my welfare after I leave. They've even provided opportunities for me to come back on occasion to "spot consult". Their concern is not my economic state, it is my emotional and mental state. They know how much trouble I will have adjusting to life without my work and how important it is for me to feel like a contributor.

The economics are a bit scary. I have about a year or so in my retirement plan. It could last a couple of years if I curtail my lifestyle, something I had planned to do in a few years when I really retired. With my disability pension it might last even longer however most of my time would be spent sitting at home staring out my window.

So I am going to spend it and enjoy the two and a half years the doctors suggest I have remaining. I hope I live longer; I hope I outlive my retirement savings and whatever money I get from the sale of our house and other assets. I hope I live long enough to be a burden on society. I hope that one day people will laugh at me and my foolish fears of a shortened life span. The numbers don't look that good, but I hope it.

In the ultimate irony, in yesterday's mail I got a letter from the Alberta Maintenance Enforcement Program. My ex-wife continues to hound me for money. There she is, healthy, fit, and capable of working yet refusing to do so. There she is, living rent free in our fully paid family home. There she is driving around shopping, spending, and living. Yet she expects me pay for her life, even though I am suffering from the depredations of ALS. She expects me to to continue to work so she does not have to, even though I can no longer walk, even though each day exhausts me, even though I am sick enough that I cannot do my job any longer.

Her greed and cruelty surprises even me. I will be glad when this divorce is done.


  1. I will be glad too my dear. That will be one less thing to cause you stress. I am sad that you have had one more loss with the loss of your job that you have often said you love. Take the time to do whatever makes you happy now that you are still able enough. God bless you my dear . Seems silly to say that since He has inflicted this dreadful disease on you.
    Your wife needs and will have to take care of herself soon. She has also surprised me with her need to have everything that is legally yours.
    My love continues for all your life and after.

  2. Richard,

    I wish you much happiness going forward. You are undoubtedly walking through really tough stuff. ALS is bad enough, then the loss of your job, but a divorce on top of it all?!

    I just hope when the divorce is passed you are blessed beyond belief. You deserve to be happy for the remainder of your days. We all do. You are the one with the degenerative nerve and muscle disorder but I pity the small-mindedness and insensitivity of your soon-to-be ex-wife.

    Take care of yourself and keep writing.

  3. I'm sorry to hear what you're going through, Richard. However, I'm glad that the financial aspect of your retirement is looking good. I'm even happier that you have people who love you very much. And yes, I do wish that you can get that divorce settled. That's one thing off your head, and you can now focus on your retirement. Wishing you all the best.