The last day of 2020. At the end of a year which has been extraordinary for most, I ended the year with a day to have (1) my new sedan detailed-cleaned, and (2) bank a cheque for $1,000 in one of my Commonwealth accounts. This is significant. First, it represents income, but to be precise, newly acquired funds to delay the sad, continuous, decline of fluid assets; to financially survive in this uncaring economy. I know my story is much better than for many in a wider world, nevertheless, there is here a moment to pause.
It is a significant act in making the deposit. Four years ago, just after Ruth’s death, the Commonwealth took away my Mastercard. The credit card had been completed paid off, all debts had been covered, and the only reason the Commonwealth disallowed my continuation of our Platinum Mastercard was that Ruth had been the regular breadwinner in the first days of our joint credit account; that being two decades previous and our financial and employment circumstances had greatly changed between the two of us.
I was upset at the time, but perhaps I survived better without the credit card in these post-Ruth days. Meanwhile, I had the CUA account and a debit Visa card. And with the girls still at home, I had, in recent years, organised two more CUA accounts to cover bills and household expenditure. I kept a low balance in the two Commonwealth accounts, for the day I could put aside small amounts of funds as savings. That day had arrived. It is a marker, after four years, not of any financial resolution, but what is considered as a financial recovery. An important return to the credit column of the ledger. My bookkeeping mother would have understood if she were still alive. The bank has now promised to send me a Commonwealth card with debit Mastercard access. The cycle has closed.
And so, to the second reason why this last day of the year is significant. Walking back in the carpark, and looking at my flashy car, clean and glistening, I was sad that Ruth could not see this – the luxury of owning a new model vehicle (a hybrid even) and with savings income in the spare bank account, without any credit card debit.
I thought about it. And Ruth might have been angry, “Why could we not had the luxury and the financial security (as small as it is) when I was alive?”. These are the words that my imaginary Ruth would have said. The sadness in my life was the stress that financial insecurity placed upon my beloved. The tragedy is that the stress might have brought on the brain cancer. It is difficult to understand the reasons why our body cells mutate. Perhaps, there is no reason. I will, though, always be ashamed that Ruth often lost a quality of life from our financial insecurity, and that was ultimately down to a choice to be a scholar in a society that does not value its scholars.
The last day of 2020 is an exceptionally good day, although it is sad. It was also Ruth’s choice, but I am sad that Ruth would never see the fruit of my labour. Not merely that there is reasonable income (and that is a contentious claim), but that Ruth never saw the turning of the wheel in the last four years, when institutions and organisations are just beginning to see my worth.
Image: ID 53784838 © Jose Maria Canovas | Dreamstime.com