In October 2009, during a time when the American economy took a nosedive, and people were being laid off by thousands and thousands every day, we lost everything. Our home, our jobs, our friends, and ultimately the city we had lived in for so many years.
We were never rich or wealthy, but we had a very comfortable life. A great home, an acre of land, two cars, and everything else we had set our little hearts on. Road trips and jewelry, art on the wall, crystal in the cupboard, silver in the drawer, a stamp collection and other mostly useless collections, rooms full of great furniture, brand-name clothes and shoes, even a storage shed full of holiday decorations and my beloved riding lawnmower.
When it happened, we did everything wrong a couple can do wrong.
Looking back now, years later, I am glad we did what we did. I am proud of us, and I stand by our decisions. There was an ocean of tears, and fears that caused me to have anxiety attacks. There was laughter as well. What could have been the saddest time of our lives, became an adventure. We made it! We were houseless, almost homeless. We didn’t have a pot to piss in. An American saying I always disliked a lot but in our case, it was almost the truth.
Maybe we all have to go through a valley of tears sooner or later. It breaks us, or makes us! We swim or we drown! We grow, or we shrink!
When it started we had around $10,000 in the bank, and a few credit cards to our name, three months later we had $135 left and all our credit cards were maxed out. Our once perfect credit score was now so low, I was surprised to learn it really does go so far down -and so quickly.
Still living in our home, the bank used the words Foreclosure and Eviction for the first time. The electricity company threatened to turn the lights off, and the water company had already set a date to turn off our water supply. We were two adults who loved each other dearly, four dogs, and one big car parked in the driveway which could be repossessed any minute. My car was already gone.
We were like deer in the headlight. We were standing still, eyes wide open in shock, frozen by a reality we didn’t want to see, waiting for impact. We were scared out of our minds. We should have talked with someone, or perhaps even should have asked for professional help, but we didn’t. Where do you go when your world starts crumbling?
We dealt with it privately, just the two of us. We made the dumbest decisions, just because we didn’t know any better. Some might call us ‘stupid’ or ‘ignorant’ and while they might be right, please don’t judge too harshly. We did what we thought was the right thing to do.
We were simply overwhelmed by a reality we never thought could happen. We didn’t deserve this. Does one ever?
How did we get there?
After six years of blogging, I have decided that now might be a good time to tell my story -our story. I still shy away from sharing pictures or my full name, and I am asking for forgiveness in advance. I am just not there yet -perhaps never will be.
Social media today scares me more than ever but then, I don’t think my name or a picture of my cute wrinkled face would make MY STORY less, or more interesting.
I was thinking about writing it all down for a while, until I realized that I am not an author, only a storyteller. The pandemic has brought many in a similar situation. Many people will face similar circumstances, and while I can’t offer help or advice, I might be able to give them a glimpse of hope. There is a light at the end of the tunnel -there mostly is, even if it seems far away and very small.