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