By Dawn Thompson
We usually don’t talk about family business, especially if we are in a fragile state. Sometimes I think it’s because we have a lot of pride. Other times I think it makes us vulnerable. In any case, not talking about things just kept us at a stand still. And that was okay for a while. We needed time to be still and recover, not only from a family crisis but also from financial disaster.
Years ago my husband and I were looking at houses and found one way out in the country. It was slightly higher than we could afford, but boy was it beautiful. Set on two acres of land bordering N.H., a pond full of ducks and more firewood than dear hubby could ever burn in a lifetime. It had a shop (perfect for my sewing studio), a long driveway and an old picket fence. The farmer’s porch had two wooden swings and it was simply charming.
We moved in, filled our house with brand new furniture from the savings we had and hosted many cookouts that fall!
Two months later we learned our little boy had Neurofibromatosis. A progressive disorder that causes tumors to grow anywhere, at anytime.
From that very moment, nothing seemed to matter anymore. We had three teenage daughters that were devastated and scared. It was a frightening time for everyone. The next three years went by in a whirlwind.
And when things seemed stable, our mortgage went up nearly $500.00.
It was an adjustable rate mortgage that couldn’t have adjusted at a worse time. We decided to put the house up for sale and move back home. We packed up the house and took whatever would fit in our new two bedroom apartment and left everything else behind. My daughter went away for her first year of college and it was our new beginning.
Even though we lost our house, we were peaceful. We were in a much more affordable situation and it was a good place to be. We have been back here three years, and just recently we’ve started to talk about everything and are moving forward.
We learned so many IMPORTANT things:
Never get into a situation that is not comfortably affordable (not even if you’re certain things will change for the better).
Always keep a savings or reserve account if possible for unexpected expenses (we’re still working on that one).
Get involved in community service.
We are just learning that there are so many programs that can help families rebuild and rebound. You just have to be willing to put a lot of time and effort into it! We are attending financial counseling and hope to buy a house again someday. This one will not already have the porch swings and pond, but with enough sweat equity it will be just perfect!
Remember that you are not alone. Well, at least you do not have to be.
My grandmother had a print hanging in her room that read, “People are only lonely because they built walls instead of bridges.”
We were blessed to have the love and support of family and friends to help us through. I could not imagine being alone. For those who are struggling and don’t know where to begin, start building bridges. Make friends, join a church, club or group. Find resources. Search community listings and ads. Get Help. Do what you need to access these resources. Be organized and diligent. Give back! A lot of these programs are not state funded and need volunteers regularly.
For our family, the most useful help we received was becoming educated. In the long run the information we’ve obtained will be priceless. Be creative, be resourceful, and most of all, be patient! Little steps in the right direction can take you a long way.
Cheers to new opportunities that allow us to continue to be independent!