Final Episode: “Down & UP”
Bob had been right when he told Tracey that Greg was a “good guy”. Greg, feeling partly responsible for Bob’s back injury, had “forgiven” their rent payments for October, November and December. But now it was January and Greg, seriously impacted by the tough economy, was strapped for cash. He needed his rent payments from all of his tenants. Tracey, bringing home a meager $780.00 a month from her part time job, was terrified. She was actually having nightmares about being “homeless” and kept waking up soaked with sweat as she visualized Jake and herself cowering together under a bridge as rain pounded down around them as they attempted to stay dry. Bob, at that moment in time, was quite useless and Tracey felt as if she was almost alone. Having been to several Nar-Anon meetings with Judi Pavano, she had started praying. She was now praying as hard as she ever had in her entire life and was finding a certain inner peace when talking to God. Just like that one of her prayers was answered.
Tracey arrived at work and her manager called her in to the office and told her that one of the full time cashiers had abruptly quit. He offered her the full time position and, just like that, Tracey’s income doubled. When she went on break she called Greg Margolese and told him what happened and then asked if he might possibly rent them a smaller house with a smaller rent payment than the one they occupied. Greg happened to have a two-bedroom, one-bath vacancy only six blocks away from where they were living and readily agreed. The rent would be $250.00 a month less.Tracey, suddenly re-enforced by her new job and Greg’s cooperation gathered her inner strength and resolve, said a prayer, and went home and packed a suitcase with Bob’s belongings. She placed it in front of her husband and told him, “Either you enter re-hab today or Jake and I are leaving you.”
Bob Slider, possessing an inner strength he did not realize he had, was admitted to the Rosedale Wellness Center an hour later. Tracey gave him a big hug, told him that she loved him, and watched as he walked down the hall with a nurse to the elevator. She was sick to her stomach and simultaneously happy. That Sunday she and Jake went to Mass with Judi and Tommy. It was the first time that either of them had gone to any kind of church service in years.
Bob was released from re-hab 28 days later. Tracey drove him home to their new house. She had, along with help from Jake, Tommy, Judi and a few neighbors, completed the move. Bob was stunned but relieved. He began attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings three times a week, enrolled in school and a year later received a certification as an X-Ray Technician. He got a job at Memorial Hospital and remained in school to get further certifications in CT Scans and MRI’s. His pain meds now consisted of only non-narcotic NSAIDS (Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs) like ibuprofen. The previous year’s events had brought them to the very brink of homelessness. The love that flowed among them as a family had been their greatest ally shoring up their weakened defenses in their struggle to survive.. They had beaten the odds. Many do not.
On Easter Sunday, Bob, Tracey and Jake began their day at an Easter Sunrise Service. They were all dressed up and, when the service ended, they had somewhere to go.
PLEASE PRAY FOR ALL THE HOMELESS who are not as blessed as Bob, Tracey and Jake Slider.——