Dear Mindy,

Thank you for taking a moment for me. Sorry this is a bit long, but I need you!

I am 32, my husband is 27. We recently bought a home, we made this purchase 1 and a half years ago. Three months after moving in, his sister (my best friend) and her husband, and their three kids moved in with us. They are undergoing financial stress and we have persuaded them to go for a college degree while they live here rent free.

In August of 2015, my grandfather passed away. He was in the Air Force for 23 years, a strong, awesome, man. The best man there ever was on this planet. His wife, my grandmother, is severely handicapped. She got the flesh eating disease from the military base hospital, unsterile equipment. She lost her left arm, is on a vent, and is bed bound.

Now that he’s gone, I take care of her. We also still care for my sister in law, her husband, and their 3 kids. I also have care over my father who is mentally ill and in and out of the VA mental ward in Reno, NV. He doesn’t live with us, but I have to stay on top of his care.

To Top the Cake, I am a teacher for a special education class and I’m working on my PhD. My husband works 3 jobs and is working on his bachelor’s in accounting, all while doing National Guard duty.

We are burned out, our finances are struggling, and our house is full. I have no extra time, I have no breathing room, and I’m about to hit a road block.

I’m almost out of student loan money (because my ex-husband pulled money without me knowing it while we were married). Once I’m out, I’m out. I’ve applied for scholarships with no luck. I’ve tried applying for military scholarships, cancer survivor scholarships, caregiver scholarships, Native American scholarships… nada, nothing, zip.

I literally might also have to lose my PhD hopes. I want to scream, I want to kick the wall, I want to curl up into a ball and cry.

I refuse to put my grandmother in a home. I refuse to kick out my best friend and her family – this is their last chance for a good life for their kids. My husband and I are already working so much and we are now looking into doing Uber or Lyft on weekend nights.

What do I do?

Grandma helps with some of her military retirement pay. My sister-in-law works, but after bills they have (I have seen the checks and break down of bills) 20 dollars a week left over. They aren’t going partying, they aren’t buying random things. They help clean the house, cook for everyone, and she does help buy groceries.

What can I do? Is there anyone I can talk to? I wish there was a scholarship that I could get to help me finish college. I’m not asking for any institution to pay my bills, I just want to keep going.

I’m autistic, I’m learning disabled. I want to get my PhD in special education and work my way up to Washington D.C.’s department of education and make some positive social changes for future generations.

Thanks,
Burned Out Teacher/Caregiver/PhD Student/Military Wife/Auntie/Going Insane