Surviving Loss

Financial and Sentimental

Surviving Loss

I was rich and I didn't know it. I was rich when I was a child, and I was rich when I was married. I didn't know it. I didn't know how much I had. It is completely true when Joan sings "you don't know what you've got til it's gone". I lost it all. I've lost many times in my life. The older you get, you'd think it would be easier, but it's the opposite. The older you get, the more the losses hurt. I don't care if this is a story or an essay or just a word collage of my memories. I feel like talking about all the "things" I lost. I feel like paying some respect to the tears I cried, the pain I felt, and how I still long for some of those things.

From 2010 to 2018 I lived in a two-bedroom apartment with my husband. We never lived alone. We either had a room mate to help cover the rent, or his daughter or my son lived with us. We worked hard those 7 years, paying off his child support and fees for his probation. Paying the rent, the groceries, the electric bill, the cable bill, the cellphones for the two of us and his two daughters, the car payments and car insurance, and then when we had our own business, we paid the bills each month while the business was going. But it all came to a tragic loss. At the end of 2017, a tornado blew everything away. I lost my husband, my home, and all of my possessions.

I'll take myself into the old two bedroom apartment and see what I can remember. What did I have there that was so significant, so important, that it hurt so badly to lose? It wasn't the apartment. The apartment itself I couldn't wait to get out of. I hated the location. I didn't really care too much for the neighbors. And the apartment was worn out, ugly, falling apart. Even my best intentions with decorating couldn't help it. It was beyond what I could fix. No, it wasn't the apartment. It was my things, my stuff, my material possessions within the apartment.

Let's start in the kitchen. I had some nice dishes from Aunt Lola. I had a few nice pieces that were given as Wedding gifts. I had some nice silverware. I had a $50 heavy cast iron skillet. I had a crockpot and a pressure cooker.

In the living room, there was nothing left after the tornado hit. The dragon collection and the fish tank were smashed to smithereens. That dragon collection alone was worth over $200. My DVD collection of over 500 DVDs, that should have been valued at about $2500 at least. The GOT DVD collection cost about $300. But I never got Renter's insurance. I never suspected anything like this would happen. I took it all for granted.

In the bedroom, let's start with the sentimental things that I miss like my dolls. The one my mother gave me, and the Crissy doll I got from a nice lady for $20. Also the BuildABear that my son gave to me for Christmas, and some other lovely dolls and stuffed animals. I miss that pen with a very personal inscription from my husband. I had some nice jewelry in the jewelry box, mostly sentimental. Oh, and the very precious GOLD medallian with the painting of Jesus face that was in the lock box. That was a gift from Aunt Lia. I have no idea how much it cost, but I'm sure it was expensive. It meant more to me than my $1000 wedding ring. I think what hurt the most was losing all the photo albums. All those photos of my son when he was a child, when he was MINE. All those photos of me as a child, and my mother, who is gone forever, and I have no photographic evidence of her beauty and her love. Yes, sentimental items are the worst things to remember. No matter how you recover financially, those things are not replaceable.

In my closet, my clothes, no including the gorgeous green dress that was stolen out of the laundry room, but the clothes that were still hanging... my wedding dress from David's Bridal, cost $500. My other clothes, they may not have been worth anything to anyone, but to me today they'd be worth a fortune in just the material alone. My shoes? I had at least 10 pair, and what I've priced shoes at online that alone should have been worth $500. It's not easy to find shoes you like that fit well.

My desk was an antique that I paid $50 for. My dresser also an antique that I paid $75 for. My computer was still good, but I don't miss it because I have this one now. I also miss my yellow bike from Walmart. That cost $125 and it was stolen even though there was a lock on it. I could sure use that bike today. Cabs, Ubers, Lyft, it's all expensive, and the nearest overpriced convenience store is a half hour walk from where I live.

Yeah, material possessions all have numbers. But hey look at my credit score, it's below 500. I suck. I don't pay my bills. I'm a theif. Yeah, the numbers keep rolling in and rolling out.... I think everyone is a thief. Even those of us with the best intentions to pay, and nobody is every ready for a tornodo, or a hurricane, or an avalanche, or a sinkhole, or an earthquake, or a flood. Nobody is ever ready, even if they have "insurance".

Shanon Marie Norman
Shanon Marie Norman
Read next: 'Chocolate Kisses'
Shanon Marie Norman

I am a graduate of USF with a degree in English Education. I worked in the food industry, office, and as a teacher. I'm now disabled and on a fixed income.


See all posts by Shanon Marie Norman