I used to love the song “The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia.” That was until our lights actually did go out and we didn’t have a dime to turn them back on. We went 9 days without electricity. We had to eat everything in the refrigerator and freezer to keep from losing the food. We tried everything we could to keep from anyone from knowing. How could two well-educated middle-aged professionals not have the money for electricity?
Our facade didn’t work.
Our extremely intuitive daughter Candice figured it out. We’d made it through 7 days with no one knowing. Me, the eternal optimist, told Dennis that it was an opportunity for romance. We lit the candlelabra every night. We talked. We went to the bathroom by the warmth of candlelight.
We did without TV, cable or internet. No lights, no blow dryer.
We couldn’t believe it had come to this, but it had. We were one of those families everyone knows and everyone talks about. You know, the ones who were ultra successful and then “IT” happened. They lost it all.
People whisper about people like us. Just writing this still feels humiliating, not inspiring. The worst part was hiding it all. Trying to live our normal, everyday lives without anyone knowing what was going on at home. Smiling when you wanted to cry.
Oh, we’d received the shut-off notices. They’d given us fair warning. I was just hoping for a miracle and it hadn’t arrived. We’d already tapped out our family resources and didn’t want to ask for help.
On the 9th day Dennis got paid and we got the electricity restored. It took awhile longer for our bruised hearts to return to normal. But, we DID it, together. Just another stepping stone on our pathway back to financial stability. Not one of our proudest moments as a couple, but definitely humbling.