Foreclosure - A Grieving Process

It has now been 2 years since I lost my home to foreclosure. Wow, it seems SO long ago... Yesterday I received an email from a real estate ...

It has now been 2 years since I lost my home to foreclosure. Wow, it seems SO long ago...

Yesterday I received an email from a real estate agent who was going through foreclosure and she wanted to know how I “swallowed my pride”, as she was ashamed at losing her home even though she fought hard for over a year to keep it. In reply to her email I included where I am today, 2 years later. My life is fantastic! Is it perfect? Oh, heck no, but life is good!

I am a survivor of foreclosure. But it hurts me when I see my friends and clients going through what I went through. It is definitely harder on some people than it is for others. What saddens me most is when I see couples, and families, breaking up while going through, or after having gone through this process.

The purpose of writing this article is to help those of you going through foreclosure understand that there is a “grieving process” while going through foreclosure. Hopefully this insight will help make going through it a little easier for you.

We go through a grieving process when we lose our home to foreclosure.

Anytime we lose someone that is dear to us, we go through a grieving process. This same grieving process comes into play when we lose something that is important to us.

Grief causes Stress. You have so many conflicting feelings… sorrow, anger, loneliness, sadness, shame, anxiety and guilt. These feelings often accompany all situations of serious loss, for which a home definitely qualifies.

Shame – what will people say? For men, this is the hardest, because they feel they have let their family down. He is losing the “roof” he had “provided over their heads”.

Anxiety – where am I going to live now? People start panicking, not knowing when the bank is going to “kick them out”.

Loneliness – Although you KNOW you're not the only one going through this, you shy away from others because you don’t want the subject coming up.

AND THE LIST GOES ON…

Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross has named five stages of grief people go through following a serious loss. Losing a home IS a serious loss, so I have tweaked these five stages to someone going through foreclosure hoping to help produce a clearer picture.

Five Stages of Grief When Losing a House to Foreclosure

1. DENIAL AND ISOLATION. We deny that this is happening, and because we may be embarrassed, we start isolating ourselves from our spouse, friends and families. We “don’t want to talk about it”. We may even ignore the letters from the bank.

2. ANGER. We get mad at the banks, the real estate agent that sold us the house, the mortgage broker that got us into the crappy loan… and sometimes we get mad out our Spouses, blaming them for their part in putting us in this situation.

3. BARGAINING. I personally believe in a Heavenly Father (God) and if you do, you WILL find yourself trying to bargain with Him asking for a miracle. Bargaining also may include trying to Bargain with the banks… although if you’re not a candidate for a loan modification… this feels like just hitting your head against the wall.

4. DEPRESSION. You feel numb, and sometimes stop caring about the world around you. You may lose motivation to work. You may look to other things (like alcohol) to help dull your pain, although only a temporary fix (which I don't recommend). You still have some anger and sadness, but you’re mostly just numb… numb to the whole situation.

5. ACCEPTANCE. The anger, sadness and depression subsides. You’re “over it”, and you want to put it all behind you. You finally accept the reality, and this acceptance now allows you to move on.

Denying these feelings, and failing to work through the Five Stages of Grief is harder on the body and mind than going through them.

The grief of losing a home is horrible, but grief is actually a healing process. Sometimes we get stuck in one of the first four stages. You will go through all of these stages, but try not to stay stuck in the first four stages for very long. To get stuck only draws the pain and suffering out longer. If you hide or deny these emotions, it will take longer for healing to take place. The pain will remain until you move to the fifth stage – Acceptance.

ACCEPTANCE will allow you to move on!


While you are trudging through these 5 stages, I would like to ask this:

WOMEN
– LOVE your Man! Stand by his side, and give him your support. You know that undeniable god-given Strength in you that you have as a Woman? Use It! Break it out now Sister! Be Strong for your man and your children. Continue your Home as a Haven… filled with love, joy and thankfulness. Remember… “if Mama's ok… EVERYbody's ok.”

MEN – don't alienate your Woman. Don't take your anger, over the situation, out on your wife and your children. This too shall pass. Let down your guard and let your Woman give you the Love that you need. Allow your family and friends to rally around you. You have provided well for your family, you will continue to provide for your family, and you will one day SOON have another opportunity to OWN that “Roof Over Your Head”.

BOTH OF YOU - Don’t dwell on the negative… look at all the positive things in your life. Count your blessings. Write them down. Give this some perspective. If you are religious, keep in the Faith, knowing that God will never give you a trial or an obstacle that you cannot overcome.
You WILL be fine!


Two years after losing my home.... where am I now?

While it continues to be a struggle, I am thankful to be able to stay in the real estate business representing buyers and short sale transactions. Our family's property management company has tripled the number of homes we manage.

I am blessed that my family and my wonderful children are all healthy, happy and well. Although today I am sporting a missing front tooth (my cap broke)... I, too, am healthy, happy, and a lot less stressed.

Almost a year ago, I was fortunate enough to have an uncle help me buy a house on short sale. We made an offer and then we moved into the home and rented it for $1,200 a month during the short sale process. Four months later, we closed escrow. (The home I lost was a 3600 sq' ft home, built in 2005, owing $460,000 and had an interest only payment of $2,800. My taxes were $6,000+.) My NEW home, built in 2005, is a 2500 sq' single story, 5 bedrooms, 3 baths, upgraded tile, granite counters, pool, spa, on a 17,000 sq' lot that backs up to a beautiful hill, at the end of a culdesac, with a park to the right of me, and my parents living in the house to the left of me. Purchase price $235,000. My taxes are $3,200/yr.... my full PITI payment on a fixed 30 yr loan is $1,500. (Next year I hope to be able to qualify to take over my uncle's loan.)

Do I believe that when God closes a door, he then opens a window???? ABSOLUTELY!!!!! That DOOR really hurt when it closed.... but could I have been any more blessed with the WINDOW that was opened???

Your Door may close, but know that in time that Window will open. The universe must maintain a balance. Hang in there!



A Few Snippets of Wisdom

“When God closes a door, He opens a Window.”

Refer to Ralph Waldo Emerson's “Law of Compensation” wherein the universe must maintain a balance. A negative must be counterbalanced with a positive. A loss must be replaced with a gain.

The only constant is change.
When one path in life is blocked,
another path is opened up.
Such is the nature of balance,
and balance is the state
the universe will always ceaselessly be seeking.


“There’s always a rainbow after the storm.”


This Too Shall Pass

If I can endure for this minute
Whatever is happening to me,
No matter how heavy my heart is
Or how dark the moment may be-
If I can remain calm and quiet
With all the world crashing about me,
Secure in the knowledge God loves me
When everyone else seems to doubt me-
If I can but keep on believing
What I know in my heart to be true,
That darkness will fade with the morning
And that this will pass away, too-
Then nothing in life can defeat me
For as long as this knowledge remains
I can suffer whatever is happening
For I know God will break all of the chains
That are binding me tight in the darkness
And trying to fill me with fear-
For there is no night without dawning
And I know that my morning is near....
Helen Steiner Rice

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Post a Comment

  1. Great article Cynthia. We are in the process of probably going in foreclosure after a 1 1/2 trying to work with the bank. They only wanted to give us an $8.00 difference in LM. Slap in the face. Fortunately we found a brand spanking new home and purchasing it we are walking away from this upside down property. Still the five stages you mentioned I am experiencing it's been a ride. All the money we put in here our credit will be gone Thanks to the bank not wanting to work with us. Oh well live goes on I need to concentrate on my business and our new house. Still depression sucks! At least we are fortunate to buy a brand new house half the size of what we have in cash. No more housepayments. We FD the bank:)

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  2. I would also like to add to think and consider your animals when you leave your homes. A lot of these poor creatures are actually LEFT at the house instead of being taken to a shelter. I can't believe people just walk away and leave them. Also, I hope all pet owners bring their dogs inside now that winter is coming up and keep them protected from the cold and rain. Also, in Riverside County it is against the law for animals to be outside without any protection from the elements so neighbors, if you know what is going on, please contact the animal shelter and help protect these little souls. As far as people losing their homes, my heart goes out to them. So sad.

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  3. Good comment about the animals, that is totally cruel to leave your animals behind. We had several neighbors here who have done so. At least our animals are coming with us and yes, we take good care of them since they are family. It breaks my heart everytime when I see a stray dog or cat.

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  4. I wrote a comment a few days ago about the home page on the retreiversandfriends.com website about animals in the home and it was never printed. Do you just delete comments that you don't want to show on this website? I thought everyone's opinion counted but maybe I was wrong. If that is the case I won't be checking out this site again.

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  5. Dear Anonymous on October 21st,

    Nope, I have absolutely no capability of deleting any comments. All comments are automatically posted to these articles once you click "post comment".

    Please try to re-send it. Or, actually I would encourage you to write a short article on the subject and send it to my email: Cynthia@TeamDadAndDaughters.com... and I will post it as an article for you. It appears by the above posts that this is a subject that should have it's own "spotlight".

    (You can easily verify my inability to delete comments, by looking at some of the mean comments people made on my first foreclosure article... If I had any inclination to stop freedom of speach (which I don't) and if I had the power to delete comments (which I don't)... I surely would have deleted some of those!)

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  6. Hi Cynthia
    I never met you until I read your columns in 24/7 Your thoughts are very informational. You have been a great property manager.

    Your clients at Heritage Lake

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  7. Amen Praise God!

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  8. We run a locksmith company and re key alot of foreclosed homes..always say a prayer for the family as its always sad....good post...we also rescued 4 cats that where left behind at a house here in Menifee..kept the oldest two and found homes for the kittens....

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  9. Hi Cynthia,I am the single parent of two beautiful children and will probably be facing a foreclosure soon if the bank is not willing to modify my loan. Talk to a real estate agent a few weeks ago about doing a possible short sale, but this has been a very difficult decision for me. I know that financially I can no longer afford the home, but the thought of giving the home back and staying with a family member is not the easiest thing to do at this point in my life. After reading your post, it gave me a little hope about my sitution. A house is a material posssesion that I can always get again. Right now my focus is on my children and trying to get my daughter ready for college next year. Just wanted to say thank for you the post and the encouraging words.

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  10. You are welcome... I'm glad to have helped.

    Keep pushing for that loan modification. If they reject you the first time, try it again.

    If it still doesn't work, the next best thing would definitely be a Short Sale. Effecting a short sale will get you back into the game a lot sooner than having a foreclosure.

    And you HANG IN THERE! (From one single mom to another.)

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  11. Cynthia, what is the name of you property management company? We are going to be needing to rent soon?

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  12. Thank you for asking. I am with Diamond Property Management.

    You can visit www.Menifee4Rent.com for a list of homes that we can show you.

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  13. If your having trouble with your bank and loan mods, check out this website and see what happens.

    http://www.occ.treas.gov/topics/dispute-resolution/consumer-complaints/index-consumer-complaints.html

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  14. We are about to lose our home after a long year of fighting with our loan servicer (Ocwen). I have learned one thing from this whole fiasco and that is, the chips are stacked against you if you are trying to work out a deal with your loan servicer. The truth of the matter is the banks have already been compensated on the lose of your home, thanks to AIG, the insurer for the risk the mortgage holder. All of this was brought to the surface by an intriguing documentary entitled, "Inside Job". The other day I met with a young lady distraught over a recent bankruptcy filing. She looked horrible since I last saw her two months before. She felt hopeless and embarrassed after drowning in so much debt. She told me how losing her job set her back. To add insult to injury, she said her interest rates shot through the roof, making it impossible for her to keep up the payments. She mentioned that she tried to work out a deal, but they were not having it. After losing everything the only thing that mattered to her was her credit score. " A damn credit score!", I thought. I told her how the chips were stacked against her from jump, how legislation had been put in place soon after President Bush [43] took office, legislation that toughen the rules for those seeking relief through bankruptcy. I told her about my situation and the millions that have treaded down the same road I am on. The best we can do at this stage is start over. My wife and I make good salaries, our income has not changed. A property manager recently reviewed our financials and was shocked that we were in the mess we are in with the mortgage company. I each hour that passes brings me closer to the unknown. This hose will have new occupants and my family and will soon occupy what appears to be a foreclosed property as renters...no property taxes, no dangling with the loan servicer. The he'll with them and the Banks! - [by faith....Leap]

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  15. If you two make good salaries, then why are you in this mess? Didn't you know that your loan was variable? If it's a fixed loan, then how did you get into this mess? I would totally feel sympathy for you if one of you lost your job, but if not, then why is it the bank's fault for your loss? You need to take the blame. Sorry for your upcoming loss, but take responsibility for your budgeting.

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  16. I belive no one truly knows how this process can damage your entire family, unless you are a survivor or going trough a similar situation. I pray to God daily to keep me strong for my son adn husband specially kids. I know everything pass and time will tell but it hurt, really hurst. The banks are in this country to make u suffer. The wont do nothing to help. Its so sad, no bodycares. The sacrificies we made are gone but at least health is with us and we can try again>

    ReplyDelete

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