My name is Caden. For over seven years, I lived with my long-term boyfriend Dew, an artist and musician, in a house on five acres in the mountains of Hawaii. We had a gorgeous dog, lush organic gardens and a life together. That all ended in October 2014, when Dew had a stroke and died very suddenly. I was dependent on him due to my chronic illness, but because we weren't married, his family inherited everything. His relatives looked down on me and our relationship when my partner was alive, and this didn't change with his passing. Despite promises and without warning, they threw our dog and I out onto the streets with nothing. A few short months later our precious dog Froh died as well. I lost everything.
I spent almost a year homeless, living in a tent where I experienced Hawaii's wettest summer on record in the past four decades. Thirteen hurricane systems blew through the islands, dumping endless rain on my tent which leaked and became moldy. Over half of my wardrobe and other possessions (what little I was able to take with me when forced out of my home) were irreversibly contaminated with mold and had to be thrown out, despite the fact that I couldn't afford to replace them.
After many months of searching, I finally found an apartment that looked livable and affordable. But immediately after moving in I was forced to a sign a new lease with higher rent. It's in a bad area, I've had things stolen here and am very close to a gas station which badly aggravates my asthma. I've been looking for a better and more affordable place to live, but the overpriced tourist-driven housing market on the island has made that impossible on my budget.
Since my partner died, my physical and mental health have steadily worsened, partly because of these living conditions and the stress of having to go it alone with disenfranchised grief. I have no family to rely on as they were abusive and we are estranged, and many of the local friends I thought I had disappeared soon after Dew's death. I live daily with chronic back and joint pain, crippling digestive issues, fatigue, chemical sensitivities, anxiety, and PTSD that make my life difficult and work impossible.
I have applied for disability, but it is a very long process and I won't receive a decision let alone benefits for at least another year. I'd been trying to make my very meager savings last as long as possible by cutting back everything I could, but at the beginning of April they ran out. Now I can no longer afford to cover my bills let alone the barest of living expenses. Inevitably, I will lose my apartment and be in a much worse condition then I was for most of 2015. I very badly need help to make it through the next year. Please consider donating if you can.
Note: I discuss my healing journey as a survivor on my blog, Proudly Sensitive.