|Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative|
No one from our old life showed up to say goodbye. I kept telling the boys how lucky we were to have a place to go. Grandma needed us. She had been diagnosed with a rare neurological condition. The boys would distract and amuse her. I could be there to provide all the help that would delay a nursing home admit. This was a good thing. This was a good thing even tho' I had no idea how long this good thing would last. Maybe forever?
While Jeff pounded the pavement hoping proximity to a bigger city would finally equal a job, I set about developing a routine for the boys and my in-laws. Several months later, Jeff noted that he had never seen his mother laugh as hard or as often as she had since we'd been with them. This is a good thing, I reminded myself. Even her doctors agreed saying her muscle strength and tone had improved since our arrival and noted how rare it was for a patient to do anything but gradually decline given her diagnosis.
|6 years later|
Jeff eventually landed a job at Lowe's. We filed Chapter 13 to give us a little more time. The filing stopped the foreclosure. We clung to hope that the unbelievable would happen which would allow us to reclaim our little house in the big woods. We faced the officer of the court. Help had never come. We explained in dry, monotonous detail how we had fallen from grace. It looked as if she wanted to say, "You only owe $6, 000 in medical debt and about as much in mortgage debt. Isn't there ANYONE to help you?" I wanted to tell her what God had told me. Nothing could stop what was coming. I figured she'd think I was crazy. She banged her gavel. Our old life was really over.
The boys and I spent our days at the park or library. When we'd leave our home away from home, I tried to erase any sign that we were there or coming back. I realized one day that it was as if I was trying to be as invisible as I felt. If I could make us disappear while we were gone from the house, it might not be so draining when we got back If we were in our car, we were praying broken prayers. Reminding God we still trusted him and were waiting on him to show us the next step. The cone of silence grew more dense as even God quit talking.
|my alter ego, Nancy|
I never said the word 'homeless' because we weren't living in our car under a bridge. Then, I read a newspaper article about the 'new homeless'. Hmmm...people like me living back and forth between different relatives. I really was a statistic.
November of 2004, 15 months into our journey thru the shadows and 4 months after they auctioned off our house, the phone rang. Ten days later, Jeff was an engineer again. We saw the end of the valley, but the shadows between us and the mountain were even more disconcerting than the ones behind us.
If you have wondered where Lemony Snickett gets his material, I must go on the record to say, I'm not your girl! Everyone has a story, and yours probably drawfs mine. I'm just the one who is taking off my mask and inviting you along for the ride. I thank you for coming. You humble me to tears because you have chosen to share my journey. If you know someone is hurting, click 'share' and tell them you know a fraidy cat they might like to get to know. See you tomorrow, maybe?