Surviving Suicide – Part 32
Haven’t blogged in ages it seems. Have not been in the mood for it and have also had a lot going on, but today I just felt called to do a post and am hoping I can be more disciplined for myself and my readers. When revisiting your past, sometimes unpleasant and painful memories are triggered and I know I have to be in a certain mindframe to be able to blog about it. It feels good today though and as I always do, once I’ve hit “post”!, I always take a few moments in quiet meditation and focus on letting it go, one post at a time.
I also wanted to point out to my readers that Sept. 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. I will be figuring out how to add their banner to my blog. I also ask you to keep this day in mind by lighting a candle On World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10th, near a window, at 8 PM in support of suicide prevention, to remember a loved one lost to suicide and for those who are bereaved by suicide. I’ve included the picture below for this all important day in raising awareness.
January – April 2002 – Life Goes On!
January 2002 was pretty uneventful I guess as I didn’t take many notes that month. In February 2002 I’ve made quite a few notes that I was thinking a lot about Rob, had reread my 2000 daytimer and was feeling sad. February 22nd my Manager that I reported to at Firestone Head Office told me they wanted me to increase my minimum from 900 units per year of tires to 2,000. This was more than double and he added it was either that or, let them help me (yeah right!) sell the business. My lease was also up for renewal so the timing was not good.
The amount my Manager thought I should sell for was $50K less than I’d paid for the business back in Sept. ’99 and he suggested I include all the equipment too. I was not a happy camper, felt frustrated, but hindsight being what it is, I should have seriously considered it, but wasn’t in that mindframe at the time.
A few days later I had a major upset with my sis-in-law too over monies owed to my mother-in-law, which was none of her business, but she gave her opinion anyhow. At this point, I got so ticked off that I made a note to take my sis-in-law off my will as my son’s guardian because I just didn’t feel she’d have his best interests at heart. I ended up coming up with the idea of dual guardianship as my Mom had this when she was younger, and having two guardians had worked very well. My sis-in-law was offended and said forget it, just take her off completely, so I did.
March 2002 was a really slow month for earnings and on the 4th, my Manager delivered a termination letter and had not even given me the two weeks to make up my mind as he’d said he would. I went the next day to my lawyer’s office for three hours and noted lots of questions, but that the answer had to be mine. On the 6th I had someone in to appraise what my equipment was worth and I’ve noted I was shocked at the value. On the 7th I faxed my lawyer’s letter to Firestone. On the 8th I got a call from my Manager saying he’d just received my letter and was confused as he thought I wanted to sell, I told him I did, but it was difficult to discuss because I had customers standing around.
My lawyer and I had been aware for a while of a loophole in the dealer agreement, but had chosen not to exercise it until we needed it. He’d made reference to the fact that after accounting, he felt Firestone would find I was in a credit position, not owing them as they had figured, but no details were given intentionally.
I noted Mar. 11th that I was frustrated to tears, worse than when Rob died! On the 12th I noted “fighting mood” lol! On the 13th I noted I was exhausted, the ups and downs were really bad and draining me. I also had to go to the police department to pick up gunpowder they’d removed Dec. 2000.
March 19th we had a meeting at Bridgestone/Firestone’s(B/F) Head Office with myself, my lawyer, their lawyer and my Manager along with their accountant. I had been working with another B/F dealer who owned 2 other franchise store locations but he wasn’t firming up. He too was in cahoots with B/F Head Office. B/F had said they wanted to sell the building I was in, and that Mark the other franchisee wanted to buy it.
Somehow at this meeting it came out that they’d lied about selling the building, and the stall that had been told to me was that Mark was waiting on paperwork from B/F before he could buy the building. My lawyer someone uncovered they’d been telling us this just to add pressure to speed up getting me out. Didn’t make them look good that’s for sure. They announced they were increasing my monthly rent by $2,300 per month, which was just outrageous. They knew I was struggling to make ends meet.
I was getting pretty pissed at this point during the meeting. I couldn’t stand my Manager and really disliked the lawyer they had. She had a smugness about her, was very condescending, but my lawyer Warren was amazing. Both Warren and I knew I had a trump card to play that B/F was not aware of, even though they’d authorized all the paperwork at the time of Rob and I purchasing the franchise and business. They never were very thorough with their paperwork, and this really bit them in the end.
Something was said that really ticked me off and I remember asking my lawyer if I could be candid, as I was ready to go off on them. I would have remained professional about it, but would have let them know exactly what I thought. My lawyer advised me not to, so I kept quiet. The meeting ended, they were not happy that they’d not had the resolution they expected and my lawyer’s parting words were that once an accounting had been done, they would find that I was not owing them at all and in fact, they’d owe me. You could see by their reactions that this unsettled them, and it gave me great satisfaction as we left their Boardroom.
While all of this was going on, I also was in the midst of filing personal income tax and Rob’s final tax return as well. Our government agency is the CCRA which is like the IRS in the US, and they’d questioned some of the T slips which reported income. I had to go through everything, which took me about 6 hours and then go in person to straighten out a mix up that had occured because a financial institution had filled out two T slips in error. Luckily I was in and out within about half an hour, and that in itself was a miracle, but all in a week of high stress.
Easter was early in 2002, I had my brother and his partner over on Good Friday and got some organizing done at home and went to a friend’s for a nice dinner. Easter Sunday I stayed home and noted that my son and I had a nice day by ourselves, that I’d done an Easter egg hunt for him and we just called our families as I was too burned out to visit.
The first week of April 2002 my son was going away to a school camp for a week, so had to get him ready for that and this was really the first time he was away from me on his own. I had a bit of separation anxiety, but knew it would be good for him and for me. I noted on April 15th that it was really stressful as I was finalizing personal tax returns for Rob and I for 2 years at this point. I was glad to get it done though.
Then Apr. 19th I had an appointment to go in and see another government agency to get paperwork cleared up for Rob’s pension. The paperwork had been given to me at the time of Rob’s passing by the funeral home, but I’d never gotten around to doing it and although I’d called and been told there was no time constraint, I found out otherwise once I got there in person.
I detest dealing with government anything, but psyched myself up to just deal with it. I got all the necessary documents they required, waited for over one hour and finally got my number called. We went through all the paperwork, and then I was told that I’d be losing $2300 in payments because I hadn’t filed on time! I told them I’d called to check and been told there was no time deadline, they said I’d been given incorrect information and there was nothing that could be done, but they’d be happy now to process and get things going. I was fuming, defeated, and exhausted and left feeling like all this time we’d paid into their mandatory pension plan, but now the very time I needed it, I was losing.
April 21st I noted that Rob’s Dad and I cried about Rob on a phone call. I had to pay my lawyer $5200 this day too to continue the battle with B/F Head Office. This same week I had to transfer Rob’s RSP’s, which again were supposed to be done within a one year timeframe, but I’d not dealt with it. There are so many things to deal with paperwork-wise when someone dies, but I’d just not been in the mindframe to deal with it along with everything else.
All in all April had been an extremely trying time, super high stress and lots of emotional ups and downs. April closed out still doing battle with B/F and not having any good resolution. They were reviewing the rent increase, again after my lawyer had pointed out their increase was not in accordance with the agreement that had been signed. I still remember it now and marvel that I was able to go through all the stresses and not blow a gasket. Don’t know if I’d have that ability today.