A New Beginning: Asking for Help

Friends, family (of blood and of choice), colleagues and clients, fans and stalkers:

Rave and I find ourselves in the position of the Tarot’s Fool; on the edge of a cliff about to start out on a new chapter of life’s adventure. In August, I separated from my spouse and ended our ten year relationship due mostly to his repeated infidelity. Rave found herself struggling with the longest stretch of unemployment since she entered the workforce. Together, we happened to be in a place where strengthening our four-year relationship and uniting forces made it easier to face the dark uncertainties ahead.

We have been blessed with the assistance of friends and family as we struggled to get on our feet. At first, our friends Spark and Fuego gave me a place to stay so I could move out of my spouse’s house immediately, and were supportive when my health situation intensified, requiring Rave to spend more and more time with me. Rave and I decided to move forward together, and now we live in our friend Shane’s house temporarily while it is on the market.

Rave has secured a job in Frederick that while not optimal, covers her expenses. I’ve reached a spousal support agreement that keeps me from being hungry and homeless, but doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room. It’s worth noting that neither of us were prepared for this radical shift in our lives, so we’re making due with what little we have and the kindness of friends.

This has all been complicated by a quick deterioration in my health. In August, a CT scan showed two fairly large, infected abscesses in my abdomen along with a lot of infected and necrotic tissue. I have had two stays in Johns Hopkins Hospital to treat the emergent effects of this, including having to have one of the abscesses drained twice after the empty void left from the first effort refilled with pus. The infection is wreaking havoc on my entire body, and if left untreated would eventually kill me. This is not an exaggeration.

So we’re left in a place where we’re both juggling more balls than we can handle. We have to locate a more permanent place to live that meets our fairly specific needs, find the funds to afford a deposit (first/last/security is pretty standard), move all of our belongings from our old abodes into storage (which our friend Karl has been gracious to provide) or into our temporary home. At the same time, my doctor’s appointments have doubled (all the ones I struggled with before with the addition of the ones related to the current infectious issues). I have to undergo a risky surgery where I will be an inpatient for a month or longer, and Rave has been my medical proxy and “assistant” in helping to schedule appointments, help me find transportation, filling my never-ending prescription needs, and in general taking over as my primary caregiver. Don’t even get us started on all the mental and emotional roller coasters we’ve been dealing with, on top of our everyday struggles.

We have plans to move out by January or February, but things have proven a little difficult.

I am now on a fixed income, and Rave has a job but it just barely pays the bills. We recognize that we are not destitute, but we do have some looming financial challenges ahead, and we are asking for your help.

This fundraiser is for two things:

1. I am having a potentially dangerous surgery at the end of December. I have lovers and friends who deeply want to be present before, during, and after my surgery. Most of them are also living hand-to-mouth, which makes finding money for travel and lodging difficult. I don’t want anyone who feels a need to be physically present and supportive of me to feel like money is an obstacle in their quest. I will also have some expenses related to the surgery that I will have to struggle to fulfill. My health insurance, although pretty damn good, does not cover things like wound care supplies and other necessities in order to achieve the best possible outcome.

In that vein, we would like to raise a little bit of money so those who wish to see me or be there for me during this time can do so without having to go broke in the process. In specific, we’d like to be able to make a contribution towards their travel expenses (gas, plane tickets, etc) as well as have a hotel room near Johns Hopkins for the day of, and a few days after, my surgery, so they can have a real bed to sleep in but be close by should their presence be needed.

Also, as I mentioned, I may need a little extra money to cover some expenses that insurance won’t. Parking at JH is expensive, and Rave would appreciate some help so she doesn’t have to weigh how much it costs with her desire or need to be there for me as often as she’d like. Also, being in the hospital can be trying/depressing, and although I’ll have wifi, I may want to purchase some books for my Nook or get a little outside food when I’m allowed. Finally, I will have follow up appointments for months afterward, and I pay someone to drive me to and from these appointments, so having a little cushion to cover some of that expense will make it easier for me to get the care I need.

2.In order to move in Jan/Feb, Rave and I will need, at the very least, first and last month’s rent, with the possible addition of security deposit. We don’t have enough time or resources to save all of that up before the move is necessary. Although we’ve been told by our current host that we can stay as long as we like until the house sells, Rave and I want to reach a place of independence where we aren’t relying on someone else’s good will for something as fundamental as shelter. We have already started looking, and we know we can likely find somewhere that both fits our unique needs (my disabilities limit what places are suitable) within our means to pay rent. It’s just having that lump sum up front that we are struggling with.

That all being said, we are asking for your goodwill donations in order to assist us in these goals. People who know me, know that it is very hard for me to admit when I have a financial need; I have been blessed for most of my adult life to fend for myself, and I do not have the parental safety net that many of my peers do. (My mother is on SSDI and lives with my sister, so moving home and/or borrowing money from her is not an option.) I am always wary when someone on the Internet asks for financial assistance, and with that in mind, I can provide you with references to people who know me very well and will attest that the money will absolutely go to these things. If by any wild chance we end up with overage, it will be used to replace many of the things both Rave and I lost in our subsequent separations (she moved out of the place she shared with her ex as well, and with separation is the loss of shared property that the other party wants/needs more) or to cover other expenses related to the move, such as hiring piano movers to move my piano.

I have had offers from friends who, upon hearing of my husband’s indiscretion, to help in an financial way. I am officially cashing in (pun intended) on those offers now, but here’s what I really hope:

If I have given you a divination, facilitated a ritual, had a conversation, taught a class, or maybe just wrote a blog post that in some way benefited your life in some fashion, this is your chance to show me in a tangible way that you appreciate all the things I do for the community, often without any financial benefit on my behalf.

If you enjoy reading my blogs and want me to continue writing quality content that is both educational and insightful, this is my “tip jar”. I know I have many subscribers and readers, because I check the site stats often, and even if most of you could spare $10, it would add up to a healthy sum.

If you have experienced a partner who has cheated on you, or in some other way violated your trust, and you are now in a position to help someone else rebuild from that experience, I can promise you this will go to a good cause. You can be of assistance to someone else who has been forced to rebuild their life due to someone else’s choices.

If you have felt like you wanted to do something to help me or cheer me up due to my medical situation, this is obviously the best time to do so.

If you have ever found respite with me; been the recipient of crash space, emergency funds, food and/or clothing, or just a supportive friend who was there for you in your time of need, consider this a request so I can continue to do those things for people in the future.

How To Donate:

Our preferred method of donation is through WePay, because I am not a fan of some of Paypal’s practices.
You can donate directly at our WePay page here: Del and Rave’s New Beginning

However, if donating via Paypal is easier for you, you can send us a “gift” (please be sure to label it a “gift” and not a “donation”, as Paypal requires you to be a 501c3 in order to receive donations though their site) to delandrave@gmail.com.

I have also begun an Amazon wishlist that has many items that I think I will need post-surgery, as well as some items that would make life a lot easier (like a shower chair, or a new winter hoodie). I also added a few comfort items, like the shower cream Rave and I like. I figure this gives people the option of providing items directly instead of making a financial donation. The wishlist can be found here:
Del’s Post Surgery Wish List .

If for whatever reason, a financial donation is beyond your means, there are other ways you may be able to help:

1.You may come visit me while I’m in Johns Hopkins. I will be there for at least three weeks, if not a month, and that’s an eternity in “hospital time”. Even if we aren’t super close, just having someone to talk to and hear what’s happening in the outside world is useful to me.

2.We will need strong backs and large vehicles to help us move from our “squat” into our new apartment once we locate it. Rave will be doing this on her own, as I will be in the hospital or too weak to be of assistance. We have a fair amount of stuff, some of it in Hagerstown and some of it in Brunswick. We would also accept help in setting up the house and making sure we have all the necessities, from toilet paper to frying pans.

3.If you live in or very near Baltimore, you can offer crash space to people who are coming in from out of town to visit, or lend them a car so they can fly in and then drive to and from the hospital on their own.

4.Rave will be very stressed while I am in the hospital; it is difficult to work full time and then spend every single evening in the hospital/staying overnight. Offering to take her out to dinner, or do something else fun and relaxing while another person visits me, would go a long way to helping her stay sane.

5.We will be selling items, including furniture, that the person who owns the house we live in left behind and does not want. You can help spread the word, and help us find people who need the things we have to sell. In that vein, if you are a whiz at Ebay or Craiglist, we could use your help in figuring out how to make a little money from this stuff.

6.We have very specific needs in a place to live: We need to find a place within a 5-30 minute driving distance of Frederick, MD. We would highly prefer two (or more) bedrooms, but can compromise if the place has one bedroom and a den/living room. It either needs to be all on one floor, or at least have a master bedroom, full bath, and preferably also a kitchen on the same floor. We really don’t want to live in a complex or share walls with neighbors if we can help it; we prefer places that have character, and are willing to live in a “fixer upper” as long as we don’t have to do the “fixing”. Our dream place would be handicap accessible (a wheelchair ramp to the door, wide doorways without lips or jams, and grab bars in the bathroom), have a yard or other outdoor space to hang out in, allow dogs (we very much want to get one), and would be on the first floor or have a very small amount of stairs involved. It would be lovely if it had its own washer/dryer and some sort of storage space (attic, basement, spare room, etc).

The catch is, we most we could pay would be $1000 a month, and even that would be at the very tippy top of our limit, so we’d want it to be as close to perfect as it can be and include most, if not all, utilities. We’d be more comfortable at somewhere around $800.

7.When I come home from the hospital in mid to late January, having Del safe (mostly no carbs, no soy, no legumes, high on animal protein and vegetables) microwaveable or shelf-safe food will make my transition much easier. I will still be on large amounts of bedrest when I am released, and may be laid up for another month or longer.

8.If you wanted to help keep my expenses down, you can volunteer to take me to doctor’s appointments. They are always during workday hours, but I can be somewhat flexible on what day of the week they fall on.

Please spread the word about this fundraiser; I know there are many people whose lives Rave or I have touched over the years, as well as online friends who find our journey compelling. We also know the power of internet philanthropists, who can spare $5 for a stranger in need.

We will be keeping an accounting on how all the money is spent, and that accounting will be made available upon request. We want to make sure that you feel safe that your money is going for the things we have outlined, and not just an attempt to use our situation to splurge on items we don’t really need. As I stated before, Rave has opened a separate bank account for this so the money will be delineated for these needs and not accidentally spent on frivolous items.

If you have any questions, offers of help, or in any way need to contact us, you can email us at delandrave@gmail.com.

Thank you, from the bottom of not only my heart, but Rave’s heart as well, and my other lovers, family, and friends who will be able to be present for me during my trial due to your generosity. I also do hereby promise to pay this forward; when I have the financial means to assist someone you know, all you need to do is let me know about the opportunity and I will be happy to send or do what I can.