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Disarmed; Not Ready To Arm

Edward George Murray, Jr. “Ed
January 22, 1959 – June 11, 2019
Photo cred: Alice F. Smith

On June 22, 2019, as he was lying in state, my brother Ed was exactly 60 1/2 years old. He was born on January 22, 1959. He died on June 11, 2019. We were both born in 1959. He was my Irish Twin.

I was devastated. For the past 29 years, I had been Ed’s primary caregiver. He became mentally challenged in November of 1984. His mental health declined rapidly for the next year. In November 1985, my father and I were finally able to get him help, as we became co-conservators for him.

Our father mostly handled Ed’s care alone until his death in 1990. After his death, it was my turn. I didn’t realize there was medication to help Ed cope with his paranoid schizophrenia diagnosis. He had take Haladol, Geodon, and was finally on Abilify. I learned that by trying different medications Ed could become functional, but there was no cure for his disease.

His illness was brought on by smoking marijuana laced with angel dust (PCP). Mental illness is one of the negative traits on our DNA and those drugs were the triggers for Ed’s decline. I didn’t understand what Ed was going through, but as time went on, I sought to understand. With the introduction of the internet, I was able to get to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI.org). Finding that organization was a godsend. With their articles on Ed’s illness, I was able to understand him better and to understand my role in helping him to live his best possible life.

Before his illness, Ed was a loving father, provider, and the special uncle everyone loved. In his illness, Ed needed patience, love and stability. At first, I didn’t understand that and he would have flair ups. I had to hospitalize him in a mental institution three times before understanding how to manage his care. However, once I got it, I got it. I attended or had my family to attend, every medical visit, every hospital stay and walk with him through whatever his illness brought on. We were armed and ready to fight this debilitating sickness! This disease would not easily take our loved one from us.

In 2005, he had a stroke that almost killed him. In 2015, he had a bacteria infection that ate part of his spine. Ed’s life was not easy, but it was memorable. Laying my brother to rest has disarmed me. I was not ready to arm myself with his memories in place of his presence. I will never forget the times we spent together, the laughs we shared and the love we showed each other. He was more than my big brother….he was my lifelong friend.

Ed was well known before his illness. But, after he became ill, he became a memory for most people. Every day he tried to sift through what was happening in his head. He’s at rest now. He looked so peaceful and relaxed. All of the stress and worries he had endured are gone. Thank You God for allowing me to be an advocate for Ed. There are so many things I have learned from him. These 29 years have given me enough memories until we meet again. Rest well, Ed.

Handling Uncertainties of Income Disruption

Street.com cites, “The current shutdown affects approximately 800,000 government employees. Among them, more than 380,000 have been furloughed and another 420,000 continue to work without pay.”

In 2013, I was told my services were no longer needed. I had recently bought a new house (yes, in 2008 during the housing crash), was going through a divorce, and did not have a Plan B. I was mortified! Like many Americans facing the government shutdown, I was one paycheck away from complete homelessness.  It’s Day 25! This shutdown has me reminiscing those days between jobs and needing additional funds.

I had to take time to create another Plan A. When you are going through income disruption, solutions are what you need so here are a few from my time of facing that income disruption.

1.    I reviewed my talents and skills to determine what marketable skills I possessed. I have always had writing skills, so I started writing business plans, professional documents and creating resumes.

2.    I became clear on exactly what my needs were; it is amazing how much I had that I didn’t truly need. I streamlined my life and sold those things I didn’t need nor wanted at that moment. Decluttering allowed me to think.

3.    I only wanted to talk with people who offered solutions. I had no place or time for pity. I needed results so I limited the amount of time I spent with rehashers, complainers and the pity party. If you could give me a lead or a referral to making so money, I had nothing but time for you.

4.    I talked to creditors to work out short term plans so I could spread what money I had out equally. It also gave me more money to work with towards earning more money. I looked-for short-term investments or purchases of items I could resell to make money were available?

Hopefully, this shutdown is a temporary situation and they will be back to working for pay very soon. You never know just how resourceful you are until you have to use them. I also opened my business consulting firm, LSMB Business Solutions, LLC, during that time. I want to help people find secondary and even tertiary incomes, that is why I am also hosting “Vision Boarding For Multiple Streams of Income Goals,” on January 26 in Chattanooga. Having multiple streams of income is absolutely essential in combating income disruptions in these unsettling political times. My hope is for you to find the help you need to get you through. All the best to you.