Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Raw Emotion

I have used this blog for Forever Friends partially as a advertising tool for us and partially as a journal.  Working through some of the things that make it challenging to be part of FFOH and some of the things that make it great. 

This was one of those days it was both. 

To begin I will tell some of the back story.  My number has always been associated with Forever Friends.  Applicants call me directly to discuss help, help with filling out the forms, and any questions they may have.  This wasn't a big deal in the beginning because we didn't get many calls. 
As FFOH grew, I got more calls.  Some of these calls leave me reeling emotionally.  I get the feeling that some of these women just need to tell their whole story to someone. 

When bad things happen to us we don't always tell the whole story to everyone we meet.  Think about it with me.  We don't tell our families about our financial struggles because we don't want to burden them.  We don't tell our doctor about how we feel emotionally about all that is happening.  Some of our friends shy away from some of the more intense emotional side of it all.  Some people distance themselves completely.  We don't tell our husbands the whole story of the pain and discomfort.  We camouflage "I'm fine, it's not that bad, I'm okay."  We do not unleash the whole story on everyone we meet.  We can't.  You can't tell the lady in the supermarket isle about your feelings.  You can't tell your mother about the change in your sex life because of what if going on.  You can't tell your boss about your financial troubles. 

So sometimes when these women call me they begin slowly with a couple of questions, tentatively.  It sometimes turns into an emotional blood letting so to speak.  With them telling me things they wouldn't tell anyone else.  This raw emotion is very difficult to deal with.  Even though I feel like crying with them, I don't.  I just listen.  Even though I sometimes feel like driving to their house and fixing it all, I know I can't. 

I had asked at a meeting to have my number removed from the website, to encourage people to email instead.  I was having a tough time dealing with the emotion.  The rawness of it all.  My board, always willing to back me up, agreed.  No one wants me to burn out because I am overloaded.  Then this happened-

A woman came up to me after a fundraiser.  She introduced herself and then started to cry.  She thanked me for all I had done for her.  I asked if we helped her.  She said yes but that we had never given her any money.  She told me that she called me a few years ago.  That I talked to her and made her feel so much better.  She said she never did apply but just knowing that we were there to help her made everything better.  She thanked me for listening, for taking the time to talk to her. 

Here's the kicker.  I didn't remember her.  I have talked to so many women, over so many years.  But it made me even more aware of what we do.  The best part of FFOH is the fact that we are people, not an organization.  We are people you can talk to, women there when you need us.  Women who can actually really help.  Sometimes that help is just someone to listen.  I just didn't think about it like that. 

I never did contact the web designer to take my name off the page.  Just couldn't bring myself to do it.  Now I know why.  I know now I have to share some of the raw emotion with the rest of the board.  This should help with the weight of the emotional pressure. 

I am grateful everyday for all I get to do with FFOH.  Today more than ever.   The woman I talked to today just needed to know we could help.  We can.  Today her day is better.  I feel grateful but weepy.  I feel so sorry for the woman today.  Her story very similar to Theresa.  Stopped me in my tracks.  I hope that our strength will be part of what will help her through. 

"And there but by the grace of God, go I." 

Thank you all.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Luck and a Golf Tournament

I think as a whole Forever Friends may spend more on boobs than anything else or anyone else on the planet.  We buy boobs all of the time.  This month we bought three and about six specialty bras.  Sask Health will pay four hundred dollars usually for prosthetics but won't pay for bras.  This makes no sense to me but I am not queen of the world (yet) so until then we just keep buying them. 

The cycle is this.  Women get 15 weeks of unemployment.  Then they get sent to welfare.  Welfare won't help them if they have any savings.  So they spend everything they have.  They go back to welfare and get about 800 dollars a month.  Then when they need a bra that costs approximately 120 dollars they are allowed to "borrow" from their future food money at social services to buy the bra. 
We take a woman who worked her entire life and reduce her to borrowing from her social services cheque with permission from a social worker to buy something she needs. 

As a generation we are seeing a shift.  It used to be that women had husbands to help them along.  They stayed home, raised kids and kept a clean house.  Sometimes they worked.  And if they worked it was in retail or the service industry.  (I know I am simplifying this and it is/was not like this for everyone.)  Then we had a generation of women that began in the work force and developed more of a career. With those changes an income meant women we no longer tied to a man.   Now we are seeing women that have more careers and less ties to men.  But with that independence comes no help from a partner when they get sick.  This is just how it is.  More single women in their 40's and 50's.   This trend opens up an area where women need help. 

Luckily, we have help to give.  The reason we have help to give is because of generous wonderful people like you readers and women like the one belonging to the Katepwa Beach Golf Club that are having a "Golf Fore Cancer" tournament on Thursday Sept. 6, 2012 at 2PM.  If you golf you may want to consider helping out!

Oprah says "Luck is simply preparation meeting opportunity."   I really believe that is true.  We are an organized bunch of women with amazing opportunities before us.  Or best opportunity is the opportunity to help people.  That's something I feel pretty lucky to witness.  

Thank you for reading.  Over three thousand people have read about us!  Keep sharing and spreading the cause.  We have seen the number of applicants go up continually which means more of you are telling people who need us about FFOH.  Thank you for that on behalf of the women we help. 

Have a blessed day!