Yesterday I received news that my ex father-in-law, Mike, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I heard this through a friend, chatted w/ my ex husband briefly, but don't know many specifics. What I do know is that it is pretty advanced and he may not make it a year. Everything that I know about pancreatic cancer tells me that time is of the essence b/c it tends to be quick, aggressive, and painful.
Of all of my ex's relatives, I have never had a bad thing to say about his Dad. He's a man of very, very, VERY few words, but can be funny and has been pretty easy-going in the 20 years I've known him. Mike was a strict military man and his mom was the kindest, sweetest, most God-fearing woman I've ever met. In fact, I was so fond of his Mom, my oldest daughter shares her middle name. My ex's parents have been married for 45 years and in that time they've certainly done their fair share of crazy shit. However, age tends to calm people down, and by the time I met Mike, he had already mellowed out immensely.
In 2000, my big mouth got me essentially run out of the small town in Arkansas that I had lived in for the previous 6 years or so. My ex and I moved out here to Oregon and built a life in my hometown, some 3000 miles away from his family. My ex's parents live on SSI and Disability, so they don't have a lot of discretionary funds to play with. I have always lived paycheck to paycheck, as well, and because of this, the only time in her entire 12 years that Trinity has seen her Nana & Papa in person was when she was just under 2 months old. They flew out here for a week to see their only grandchild. It was very difficult for them to say goodbye and they've talked about making another visit, and I've talked about trying to visit, too, but it's just never panned out.
After hearing the news about Mike's cancer, I knew I had to try to find a way to let him see his only grandchild one last time. I started doing research on the cost of flights out to Arkansas, the best days to fly, figuring out how to juggle it so that it wouldn't cause me to miss so much work that my family would be destitute, and also the best days for my husband b/c he would be left here w/ our youngest daughter. I have everything figured out except how to afford the trip.
Here is the breakdown:
A round-trip flight from our town to Little Rock, AR. runs anywhere between $1769 to upwards of $2000. I was offered use of someone's airline points, depending on if I can fly a certain airline on certain days. Use of these points could cover anywhere between a single one-way ticket or a single round trip ticket. One airline doesn't fly out of our airport, so I'd have to drive to an airport 5 hours away to use that particular airline, but I'd do it in a heartbeat if that was the only way I could get my daughter out to see her Papa.
Car rental for 4 days is a mere $45-$50 plus gas. The airport in Arkansas is about 70 miles from where my ex in-law's live, so a rental car is necessary.
We have a place to stay w/ one of my dear friends & her family. So there is no need for a hotel, however I would want to contribute food or maybe a small gift to the family for being so generous in letting us crash w/ them for 3 nights.
Last is food money. This is an expense that I could probably weasel out of my own paychecks or could even possibly find items from my home to sell. Trinity & I wouldn't eat a whole lot and would opt to make meals at her Nana & Papa's house or at my friend's house rather than eat out much. My guess is that food for the 4 days, if I factor in at least 2 airport meals on the days we fly in/out, we'd need around $100.
The flight is the biggest and most daunting expense. Because I don't have access to that kind of money or any way to get a loan of any kind for it, I created a Go Fund Me campaign. Now, I know that these campaigns get ridiculous. People start campaigns constantly; some for good reason, and many just because they're too lazy to work for what they need. I get that it is annoying to constantly be inundated with people begging for money. At first, I was reluctant to start a campaign of my own, but after talking to some friends, I decided to give it a shot. The fact is, I'm not asking for myself. I'm doing this 100% for my daughter. She needs to see her Papa before his health gets much worse, and definitely before he passes away. She just lost her Grandma Judy less than 2 years ago and that was a devastating blow for her. She is still struggling with grief over that loss. I strongly believe that having a happy, albeit short, visit with her Papa would give her closure and peace so that when he passes, she will at least have memories of time spent with him. She was too young to remember the last time she saw him, so this is it. This is her one shot to make memories before it's too late.
My daughter is the reason I started this campaign. She is the reason I am tweeting, posting on fb, and now blogging the link to my campaign. She is worth my own feeling of humiliation at even asking for so much money. She deserves this opportunity more than anything. If a little public shame makes it happen, I'll take it.
I know I have family who have the means to spread the love. Most of my friends don't have extra money, but some have already given or have promised to give on their next payday. Several friends have shared the link, as well. I even posted it in a group I joined on fb. (That is where I got the offer for airline points. The kindness of strangers is amazing and humbling.) I am desperate. This NEEDS to happen.
So please, if you have even $5 to spare, it would be so very appreciated! I cannot tell you how appreciated it would be, but I know it will show in the pictures of Trinity and her Papa that I'd be taking during the visit. If you don't have money to spare, please spread the word. Let people know Trinity's situation and how much this would mean to her. If you're a family member who isn't terribly fond of me, that's fine, but take me out of the equation and think of Trinity. She's a 12 year old little girl who will not have a memory of seeing her Papa in person if she doesn't get to make a trip out to Arkansas very soon.