I was a single mother because my husband died when our daughter was 8 months old. I was a disabled single mother because a childhood spinal injury had been repeatedly misdiagnosed. My disability was invisible, so a lot of people did not believe I had disabling pain in my spine. My daughter and I lived on Social Security Survivors Benefits, food stamps, housing assistance, and medical assistance. My husband died very young, so the benefits from his account were small.
A good number of people, groups, and organizations let me know that accepting any assistance meant taking money out of their pockets. For years I wrote letters to newspapers about poverty. One woman responded with an accusation of “…hiding behind your daughter and looking for free handouts.”
In this atmosphere, I failed another single mother. A tragedy happened in her family. I will give no details to protect her now the way I did not protect her then.
This single mother’s name came up while I was visiting two people I had been good friends with for a number of years. Feeling that the tragedy in this single mother’s life would only make my life as a single mother more difficult, I spoke eight hateful words about her.
The end of the friendship began immediately.
My girl growl backfired on me twice. The first backfire was the end of a friendship that was important to me. The second backfire is a continuing feeling of guilt for the way I failed another woman who was probably treated as badly as I was treated for being a single mother.
Paula M. Kramer
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Posts on this blog alternate with posts at the link below. Posts for both blogs are published on Wednesdays as they are ready to be published. Time between posts could be weeks or months.
Standards For Success Posters
Positive Identity Directory For People With Mugshots