Single mother’s story hits close to home

The letter to the Western News on April l5 from Laura Murray brought a flood of tears back to my own situation in l978.

Left with four children my world collapsed. My pastor and some members were helpful and I was very thankful. Finances were the biggest concern.

Something that was new to me was the blame game that people played. It was her fault — no it was his fault. I gagged at who came crawling out of the woodwork willing to help with a wink, wink and a nod. In the meantime I was having a nervous breakdown.

My mother knew a social worker, and this lady helped me by stopping me from committing suicide, getting some kind of help that was available at the time and keeping in touch and offering encouragement as best as she could. I was ever so thankful for this lady’s help and I told her so many times. She has long since deceased but I have never forgotten her help and I am sure as I am sitting here typing this letter that without her help, some or all of my children would have ended up in jail at some point and I would have ended up dead from my own hand or from drugs or alcohol.

It took 15 years to get a lien placed on my husband’s property for child support for $75,000, but upon my husband’s death they cancelled the lien. They don’t collect from estates. This was my first experience of being a victim of the system. Imagine my surprise to find out that governments do not look after children or their mothers. Place the children into foster care was their answer. The system is so badly broken and I knew of many mothers who made decisions so they could support their children and felt shame and guilt over these decisions, but they had no choice. A mother will fight anyway she can for her children.

I was never divorced so when my husband deceased I applied for survivor’s pension and once again the system said you don’t matter — you were legally married but a common-in-law beats the marriage. Now I am a victim of bigamy in Canada where this is not supposed to exist — polygamy, same sex marriage is OK but not a legal marriage.

To all those people who wonder how does a person become a prisoner — they must be terrible people. You have read only one small story from thousands in the same situations — our children did not ask for any problems — they need to be cared for and loved and looked after and supported. Mothers need to supported and honoured for the work they do. I think the system stinks because moms have to put the children in day care, find a job, come home, work some more and raise children, and always having to worry about a roof over your head and food on the table. In my situation all these concerns took a toll on my mental well-being. Stress does that to a person.

The people have a chance to put their money where their mouth is. The letter from Laura Murray was written April l5, 2011 and my story happened May 7, 1978. Has anything changed? You have a chance to help a young man (no strings attached) to stay in college. You have a chance to give some breathing room to this mom. The people can do a lot. SADI in Summerland needs financial help. People can step up to the plate and take back the power of the people and put children and seniors at the top of the list. There should be no need for food banks or anyone living on the street. It is up to the people to take a stand.

People need to focus on prevention and intervention. This means time and money, but money well spent on human beings.

We are the people. We need to write letters and bring common sense back to Canada. Get our own country in order and then reach out.

Now it’s the brown envelope time — not enough to live on — thankful it’s there but needs to be increased by $600 a month to cover those luxury items like shelter and food. Seniors like to help their grandchildren, but if you don’t have the money, you can’t do a thing.

S.A. Hackle

 

Summerland