Ron and Mary’s Story25 Nov, 2020
Despite being a strange and difficult year, most Aussie families are now gearing up towards Christmas. Even if things look a little different, the holiday season feels like a well-deserved break from all the emotional and financial distress that has been 2020.
But for CAP clients Ron and Mary, Christmas isn’t even on their minds. There’s no time to consider stocking fillers and Secret Santa, no head space to plan a ‘local Christmas’, bake treats or put up a tree – the Dumas family are in full-on survival mode.
Life is hard for this family (and they’re not the only ones), without even counting the hardships we’ve all had to endure this year. Their youngest Amos is very sick, and the family are living split between the hospital and their home. Mary lives on the ward full-time with Amos to be his carer, giving up her well-paying job rather than returning from maternity leave as planned.
Life in an emergency department
“I took my son into the Emergency Department, and we thought we would be in there for a week, maybe two, tops. He’s had lots of surgery and all sorts of different things; the two weeks has turned into 6 months so far.”
Mary is at the hospital every single day, and much of this has been during the strictest of lockdown conditions.
“When Amos was in intensive care, my daughter wasn’t allowed to visit at all at the hospital, she never got to see him the whole time we were up there. It was even difficult for Ron to visit the hospital, because we do not have family in the area, we had to tag team.”
Allira is now able to visit her brother and mother a couple afternoons a week. Being separated from them is hard, and on top of it all she requires speech pathology due to COVID-19 delaying her ear surgery – it’s a lot for a 2-year-old to bear.
“She has heaps of anxiety issues and stuff at the moment, she’s not sleeping, she’s not progressing with her eating, and she’s got speech delay problems as well, from having the delayed surgery with her grommets.”
The cost is high
Before any of this, Ron and Mary had debt they were trying to get on top of – never could they have imagined the immense financial pressure that was heading their way. Ron is now the only income earner, juggling working and looking after a 2-year-old, running her between day care and the hospital to spend precious few moments together. Between the high medical expenses and the loss of income, money is tight.
Fortunately, this precious family are getting help from the CAP Debt Centre at a local church. When they lost income and Mary couldn’t return to work as planned, CAP was there to do the heavy lifting for them, to negotiate with their creditors through each shift in their circumstances.
The Dumas family may be going through a lot, but they’re no longer under the thumb of financial distress. Since they need to be close to a major hospital, they’re unable to move to be near either extended family, meaning that CAP and the local church are their main support.
The church have really come through for the Dumas family as a place of belonging and care — their own church stepping up to regularly make meals for Ron and Allira while Mary has been in the hospital.
With the church as a community, and CAP as their advocate, Ron and Mary can focus on the most important things – being there for Amos and working towards bringing him home for good, so they can be a family again.