Several months into this story, Mum was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Given that she also had MS and osteoporosis, she decided not to pursue treatment. We supported her in that decision.
This new development made it even more urgent that I get the money situation cleared up as quickly as possible.
Phone calls weren't working, the Internet was a dud. Because I was having passport difficulties, I couldn't go to the States in person.
I finally decided to go the old-fashioned route.
I wrote a letter to the Head Office. And I pulled out all the stops. It was personal, it was heart-breaking, it was completely unprofessional.
One Saturday morning, when I was running our then food shop, I got a phone call from a lovely woman, Lynn, in the Head Office of US Social Security. Her words brought me to tears.
"I first want you to know that I won't rest until your mother's benefits are reinstated."
She had lost both of her parents to cancer within a year of each other.
I had to fill out twenty pages of forms. And have the head of the nursing home sign an affidavit declaring my mother Alive, but eventually, a cheque arrived and my mother was a regular recipient until the day she died.
Which was a good thing, because we needed the money to pay for her medicinal pot.