I can track it back so easily, the date sticks in my mind like a spear constantly stabbing at me. Reminding me that had I been able to handle my own problem, life might have been very different today. Staring at a stack of medical bills that I just couldn’t figure out how to keep up with, I was in a full-blown panic. Non-reimbursed expenses, payments that needed to be made two months ago, medication that needed to be ordered, I just cried while I looked at the pile. It was July 21, 2012 and I only had one option left, go ask the in-laws for some help. See if I could gt myself out from under the mess created from being sick and not being able to handle it by myself.
Sitting in the car down the street from their house, dialing the phone for my father-in-laws home office; my hands are shaking because it was the first time in eight years I was going to need their help. I was afraid they would be so disappointed in me. The mortgage was paid, there was always more than enough food in the house, and we had always been able to take those couple of weekend trips to visit family, go to a wedding, or just go out to dinner and a movie. We were doing well enough.
As he sat there staring back at me as I told him the saga, you could see the concern growing in his eyes. Some for the fact that I needed money, $7500 to get things right, other for concern for his daughter and the future that might have just changed in his eyes. Could this guy care for his daughter the way he wanted? Was this the beginning point of some slippery slope? Was I okay? After talking it over with both parents, we talked with Whitney about everything. She knew there were issues, she just didn’t know I felt so trapped trying to solve them. A deal was struck, the money would be repaid in 90 days and I would kick in an additional $500 as interest for the loan.
Over that time things just got worse. I had some property that I was able to sell, but the money went to others in line ahead of the in-laws. As time went on I let them look into my finances, tried to show them where the money was coming and going. It was embarrassing, but when the woman whom you love asks you to do something that seemingly simple, you do it. Even if it isn’t that easy for you. It didn’t help. The money was still bleeding out of the accounts to cover my medical stuff. But we still paid all the bills on time and in full, so I was proud of that. We were keeping things together. But the specter of that loan hung over us, choking my relationship with her folks.
Eventually I was asked not to come to dinner anymore, the result of not having paid the money. The result of her mother playing on the Google machine and asking questions that had nothing to do with me, but because someone had entered the wrong middle initial in some database, I was hiding something. They started to question everything, but Whitney didn’t want me challenging them, “Just let it go, I’ll deal with them!” She couldn’t, they were her parents. She loved them, I loved them, so it became an issue for us.
A missed birthday, Thanksgiving 2013 spent with our separate families. Mine desperately trying to include her in everything, her making sure to not mention my name. Than we lose our daughter, then we lose each other. Her family not knowing what was going on added to our stress. The money always being the point of contention, never the fact we lost our child, not the pain of being pulled in two different directions, hiding from life because admitting the pain was too hard for her. Or at least admitting it to me was too hard.
Borrowing that money and not being able to repay it was the Sword of Damocles that hung over our relationship. It permeated everything and nothing was able to stem the tide of her mother wanting her way. Leave him, he can’t take care of you, he’s holding you back [never understood that one, to this day I have a list of grants and scholarships that would have helped her continue her grad work.] Eventually she left.
I wish I had never asked them for help. It was only time I asked them for anything, not even help hanging a picture in the house. Had I known that two years later the woman I loved would be gone as a result, I would have sold my car and walked everywhere. We never had a chance after I deposited that check. I love my in-laws to this day, am still grateful they were willing to help. I know I disappointed them but their daughter never hurt for love, a safe place to sleep, food to eat, someone who protected her in any way possible; I thought I was doing my best to pay them back by making their daughter the priority.
I really wish I hadn’t asked them for help!!