Two recent news items have left me both depressed and thoughtful about the loss of financial security and the subsequent impact on one's mental health.
The first was the death of 53 year old Carlene Balderrama who could not face the debt she had hidden from her family nor the impending foreclosure on their 4-year old home.
The second and most recent was adoptive mother, Sylvia Sieferman, age 60, in Minnesota. She not only tried to kill herself, but her two 11 year old Chinese daughters as well.
Sylvia's story struck me the hardest. She is closer to my age, she has adopted children, she is a single parent, and she is participating in an age-discrimination lawsuit against her former employer. She was having trouble finding a new job, her home was in foreclosure and she was severely depressed. It was a lot for one woman to bear.
And yet. . .
Maybe it's me or maybe it's because I was reared in a working class family that toppled into poverty whenever work was not available, but I just can't imagine getting suicidal if I were suddenly poor.
Depressed? You bet.
But suicidal? Or worse yet, homicidal?
How did money ever get to be more important than life itself?
It's not that I would want to lose my job or lose my home. But if I had to, I could work at McDonald's. I could be a greeter at Wal-Mart. I could live in an apartment. I could move in with one of my kids--oh, on second thought, scratch that one. I could live in a shelter.
I might be poor, but I don't think I would consider that enough of a reason to check out of life.
Shouldn't there be more to our imprint on this world than the money we make in it? Shouldn't we have some level of satisfaction in our lives that is not dependent on whether we have money?
For Carlene and Sylvia, weren't their families enough? Wasn't life, itself, enough?
And if not, why not?