In early January of 2010 I was doing my best to help manage mom’s finances from 3,000 miles away. I had online access to her Bank of America checking account and would sent payments on her behalf. She seemed to be physically fine when I talked to her on the phone — better than ever, actually — but she wouldn’t reply to emails or use the computer at all and was sick with worry about her long-term unemployment.

I wrote her an email shortly after she received a threatening letter because she had missed making multiple car payments.


She replied to me the next night with just three short sentences: