Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Money can't buy happiness ...

...  but it sure does help.

When I learned that I would be eligible for bereavement benefit I was very pleased.  I have always been very organised with money and planning ahead for the lean times but still welcomed a financial cushion.  I imagined that bereavement benefit is to help cover your bills while you work out how to adjust to only one income when you lose your partner.  I'd already got most of the way there, working out that if I simply work as much as I have done in the last few years, my new teachers' pension would cover the gap left by M's contribution to the household expenses.  So I welcomed the benefit as a cushion I hadn't looked for because I was not in great need of it, but would appreciate none the less.

Now, though, I understand what bereavement benefit is really for.  It's because you may not be able to fully return to work for much longer than you think.

Having just fought off the demons that were stopping me from working in the pottery I had spent a good week getting stuck in and was beginning to see how the work would unfold from here and looking forward to continuing on the following Monday.  I was then struck down by a lurgy.

There are lots of ways to understand this event and to reassure those who don't like anything too airy-fairy, happenstance is certainly one of them.  That week I had been to a pub gig where the atmosphere was very warm, it was fairly closely packed and one member of the band (just a few feet away from me) had lost his voice.  Those allergic to the airy-fairy can look away now.

I haven't had any kind of cold, cough or similar lurgy for about 5 or 6 years so for my money happenstance was unlikely to be the whole picture.  Why now?  Well, the lurgy affected my voice.  For nearly two weeks I was very limited in who I spoke to.  And what, gentle reader, have I been blogging about recently?  Why, the unusual occurrance of my not wanting to talk about things.  Hoist by my own petard, I'm afraid.  A week later and the talking about things block having cleared, the lurgy probably wouldn't have taken hold.

So there I was.  People popped up in cyberspace and in real life to tell me they'd had this lurgy for four weeks now.  I started out quite positive, reasoning that just because it took four weeks for them, it needn't for me.  But I fear it is the nature of the lurgy and two and half weeks later it hasn't gone.  I'm a lot better than I was but still have a cough, occasional sore throat and am fit for very little.  Each day I can do a little more, but I'm certainly not up to any work. 

So where does money buying happiness come in?  Today, the sum total of my morning activity being to get up to date with my accounts and make a batch of soup, I took my lunch and a book out onto the patio and didn't worry.  This afternoon I will sort out some recycling, possibly read a little more, and not worry.  My income from my work is dwindling monthly and so long as I am not producing new stock, will continue to do so - but I am not worrying.  This is because of my bereavement benefit, designed to cover this eventuality.  Not being able to work comes about not necessarily because you are too miserable to work (because I'm not) but in more subtle ways, and these are the ones that have affected me.

I would love to be able to do so many things at the moment - work, continue with the vegetable garden, walk to the shops - but I know I can't.  I can, however, feel my recovery happening faster because I am accepting what I can't do and not feeling stressed by being unable to work and that is entirely due to having a financial cushion.  I am so grateful for the bereavement benefit, admit unashamedly that I have after all had need of it and am very thankful that this particular benefit has not (yet?) been affected by public spending cuts. 

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