“The devastation, heartache and irreparable damage from COVID-19 will have lasting, negative affects on millions”
Where does one begin? The devastation, heartache and irreparable damage from COVID-19 will have lasting, negative affects on millions, including me and the Special Needs person I cared for from February 1, 1994 through March 17, 2020.
Because of COVID-19, my Special Needs person has been in a mandatory lockdown in a small mens' group home that began on the 21st of March.
Not being able to speak and having the cognitive abilities of an 18-24 month old child, he has not been able to come home and I have not been able to see or speak with him. Because of his Special Needs, seeing me for a brief visit through a closed storm door would do nothing but put him into chaos, affecting his emotional well-being and breaking my heart even more than it's been ravaged thus far.
This will be the first Christmas he won't be home after the past 31 years of being with me and our extended family.
This year has removed him from celebrating his birthday and all holiday celebrations that were cancelled for safety purposes.
To add salt to these extensive wounds, I had to fight and fight hard, to be recognized as a self-employed person, finally, after 18 weeks of teetering on the edge of a financial cliff, not forgetting the emotional and mental toll this separation had already created, adding indescribable pain to an already painful and fragile situation.
Yes, it took 18 weeks to begin receiving PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) and, of course, I was granted the minimum payment allowable. After taxes I received $139.00 a week, supposedly to live on, to thrive on.
My last payment of PUA is due tomorrow, the 22nd of December and where we go from here is anyone's guess.
The mandatory lockdown that remains in effect at my Special Needs person's group home still keeps him from me and me from him. Without him, the emotional pain is coupled with the loss of income I suffer by not being able to have him home.
Will I lose my home? Will I ever be able to pay off credit cards that I was forced to use to keep a roof over my head thus far, to pay utility bills and insurance premiums, insurance premiums that include a mandatory Liability Insurance Premium that I must have in order to care for my long-time client, a client I cannot bring home? How about the the mandatory Recertification Fee I had to pay for being a Certified Adult Family Home Care Provider, a fee I had to pay even though I cannot bring my Special Needs fellow home?
The horrific impacts of this coronavirus continue and the level of stress, anguish and pain are only heightened by the lack of response, care and support from our local and Federal governments.
The callousness of many in our State Legislature, along with the heartless, inhumane non-actions by the Senate have compounded the impact of hopelessness and loss.
To go on is a struggle. I am, however, blessed in comparison to so many others who have been evicted from their apartments or who have lost their homes, who live in their cars or those whose cars were repossessed. Those that struggle to put food on their tables, if they still have a table, to have a job that is sustainable or, as in my case, to have a job they can return to if this nightmare ever ends and their place of employment still exists once the destruction of COVID-19, coupled with the lack of support from our government entities, lessens or ends its destruction.
That is how this has affected me, and millions of others who should have been supported by the people who were elected to support us. We, the people, have been left to wallow in misery, heartache and fear.
I have never been as ashamed of this State as I am now. May this lack of compassion and care be remembered in the voting booth and beyond.
Kathleen from Mequon, WI