I am ecstatic – over the moon, actually.

I was so relieved that I cried this morning.

Why, you might wonder?

Because today I received my very first Canada Pension Plan (CPP) deposit/cheque.

No, it’s not much in dollars and cents as I never held very high-paying jobs in my lifetime, even though I’ve been working steadily since 1975.

No, it’s not enough money for me to retire and live a luxurious lifestyle. And no, I didn’t cry because of the fact I’ve now officially moved into the ‘old age’ generation.

I cried for one reason only.

Back in 1984 there was a lady I knew very well who was starting her plans to retire. She worked as a hotel maid, cleaning motel/hotel and cabins in the community I was born and raised in during the tourist season. Hard work because I did it for one week and decided that it wasn’t something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. (Hence my unwavering gratitude for maids and later on waitresses because those are really hard jobs!). Plus after she’d put in a full eight-hour day at that job, she’d come home and make a full home-cooked meal that had to be on the table at exactly 5:00 pm. Some nights she’d nod off sitting in a chair at the same kitchen table because the bread she’d made that evening hadn’t finished baking and it was almost midnight.

She was tired. This was to be her last year of working so hard as she would be eligible to receive the spouse’s CPP allowance the following year when her husband turned 65. Requirements for eligibility have changed since then, but back in ’84, that was the rule.

By the end of August, she went into the hospital as she was sick. By the first of September, she was formally diagnosed with incurable lung cancer. No chemo, no radiation, no reprieve. She couldn’t complete the necessary work weeks to even draw Unemployment Insurance (EIC as it’s known today) during her illness.

She died on February 13th, 1985, and never got to see even one CPP cheque come into the house with her name on it. All her lovely retirement dreams were never realized.

And now to today, August 29th, 2017, 32 years later.

All the health problems I’ve gone through in the past few years made me wonder if I’d ever get to see an actual CPP deposit come into my account. But there it was, showing up as clear as day, in my bank account when I checked online this morning. How wonderful!

Dear Mum, my first cheque will be spent in memory of you. 

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