Thursday, April 3, 2014

on Faith in the Big Picture

In 2012, I was working fairly steadily as a "new" Script Supervisor, filling in gap days as a Background Actor, filling in other gap days with Personal Assistance, and if I somehow hadn't made more than $89 in any given week, collecting unemployment for that remaining gap.  The film/tv industry appeared to be grinding to a halt; I'd been eligible to collect UI (Unemployment Insurance) benefits continuously due to several different Federal extensions that were in place... but it was all kinda dying, from my POV, by the time we got word Stephen's dad was ill with numerous cancers.

Stephen had been working steadily for YEARS as a server in a local Italian restaurant.  He'd gotten to the point of "seniority" so his schedule was Monday - Friday lunch shift.  He'd been living on a cash basis for all those years, taking public transit to work, and getting there hours before his shift would start so he could be a writer hanging out in the coffee shop.  That's where writers write in Los Angeles.  That's especially where screenwriters write, and that's what Stephen was.  On weekends, he and his writing partner would meet at our place or the other guy's, and they'd spend (what felt to me like) all day discussing where they were in the film, tweaking this scene or that scene, and actually putting words into the software so that someone else could eventually read it.  It took them two years to finish a very good film that the other guy's manager was unable to shop out.  By the time we learned of Stephen's dad's illness, they'd shifted their focus to writing a novel.  They still worked the same way, but using different software.  The thinking was, "we can self-publish, and then we'll be PUBLISHED, and then if the manager likes it enough for us to turn it into a film, we can do that."  At any rate, Stephen always had cash, and I never knew how much, and he never knew what was in the bank, and we argued over money.  A lot.

Then we learned that the cancers were pretty aggressive, and since his dad was "Strong as an Ox," the doctors were prescribing the most aggressive therapies.  Stephen started to pre-grieve, and what with our finances being what they were, we came to the conclusion that MOVING to NC would be more effective and beneficial for all parties than just putting him on a plane for an extended visit.  So we put our notice in with all concerned parties, and we accepted all offers of any kind of help, and we got stuff shipped out, and the dad's wife (who manages rental properties) got us into a cheapish apartment, and we mapped out our route to cross the country in my Civic with two cats, staying overnight with each of our brothers.  We visited the Grand Canyon on a foggy day, Stephen's first chance to see it and his last chance to speak to his dad (on the phone).  We spent Halloween night with his brother's family in Colorado.  The day his dad died, we spent the night with my brother and his very pregnant wife in Kentucky.  The next day, I got us here; we stayed with the stepmom until our stuff arrived while the cats had the run of the empty apartment.  The drive was not unpleasant; the cats did really well; we enjoyed ourselves and we had faith that we were where we were supposed to be.  We were listening to the voice of God, or feeling the pull of the Universe, or following our Destinies (or however you are most comfortable phrasing that, feel free to phrase it for your comfort).

We arrived in North Carolina on the 3rd of November, 2012, ready to start over, but in full-on grief mode.

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