My husband of 23 yrs died suddenly in 2002. That same year our only child - a daughter graduated from high school. I have tried so hard to hang on. Financially I can't do it. I am trying to help our daughter while she is in college, and not let on how awful it has been. She is suffering terribley with panic attacks and frequent emergency room visits. My house is falling apart,yet I have no mortgageto pay. I work fulltime yet I have filed bankruptcy. I can't pay my oil bill and tuition is due. I can't do this anymore. I am 49 yrs old, sad and lost and desperate. Family can't help. Any suggestions?
First of all, I am sorry to hear about your husband. There is hope for you, the cup is getting close to full for you but it won't poor over. You started off my saying that your daughter is having panic attacks. I am going to assume that she is away at college rather than commuting. These panic attacks could be due to the emotional distress she is having from the loss of her father or from leaving home. Research has shown that nearly 35% of students experience homesickness. Some students are more sensitive towards it than others. If your child cannot overcome her homesickness than one option is to bring her closer to home in an equally credible school so she is able to visit every weekend. You may find that by bringing her closer to home might also cut down on tuition whether the school is instate or whether she is commuting. As far as your finances on not being able to pay bills and struggling over tuition, try talking with your daughter. I understand that you want to make her feel safe knowing that dinner will always be there, but the fact of the matter is that your income had been cut in half and paying for bills, tuition, food, etc. is impractical. See if you are able to get her filling out scholarships or taking on some school jobs where she may be able to earn a few extra dollars to pay for books and food. This is also a great way to start building her independence.
However, if you find that you are still struggling try filling out some financial aid applications. You'll be surprised at what they give a single mother with a child in college.
As for the present, try consolidating your bills. There are companies that will help to consolidate despite the fact that you have filed for bankruptcy. This website http://www.creditadvisors.org/ offers advice on budgeting bills and on consolidation.
Have you tried applying for benefits from social security? You might be entitled to money from your husband's passing despite the fact that it was 3 years ago. If you haven't remarried then there's a chance that you may get an extra monthly income. What you need to do is go to the Social Security office and fill out an application. You are required to bring some paperwork like your marriage certificate, death certificate and a few other things. Your daughter may also be entitled to a survivor's benefit if she is under 18 years old.
After you put aside your financial problems, it's best for you to try seeking some bereavement counseling for you and your daughter. Bereavement counseling is a great way to talk out you problems and be able to greave for your husband fully without having to juggle bills and money problems. Try looking towards your local church for free bereavement counseling. Also try seeking out some supportive services. It is only natural for you to have a mental break down with all your problems falling into your lap at once. I hope all goes well for you and try to take your problems one at a time. There is help for you and if you need any more advice or help please feel free to ask. Good luck with everything.