POVERTY KILLS by Syndi Holmes
I have cancer and although that may be what I end up dying of, it is not what will have killed me.
What will have killed me is the poverty of being a working single parent. I worked as a nurse and I was often working per diem because there was no daycare available on weekends and holidays for people who have to work holidays and weekend shifts but per diem work has no benefits however we had enough money to get by on. Even when I did have insurance I was not able to use it as there was no support system in place to help me with my sons or sufficient funds to tide us over, if I could not work because of being sick. So I have worked until I can no longer work and now have advanced cancer.
My grandmother, a poor immigrant woman who was an immigrant coal miner’s wife died from the same disease –poverty that precludes adequate health care. Her story and my story are just two in a litany of millions.
Our stories are testaments to the lack of care that this society provides to its most vulnerable.
My story is the story of millions of women who end up being single parents, like me, through divorce. They are working mothers who have a lack of social networks to fall back on and are often viewed as pariahs by family, friends, society and the church. They work and fall through the cracks for any other help, their children are latchkey children and when the children have problems it is because they come from single parent families; every day of our lives we have had to face the prejudice of stereotypes.
And still we along with the elderly, the poor, the mentally ill, the homeless the unemployed and those living on marginal wages suffer with the blatant stereotypes that fuel the lies of politicians who want to cut social services so the rich can hold on to their extra millions.