A Decade of Lessons Learned

This week marked the ten year anniversary of the beginning of the worst decade of our lives…it also marked a change in my attitude.  I am tired and beaten from this ten year carnival ride from hell; but I am also re-energized.  This will not be my life five years from now; this will not be how the story ends.  Obviously there is a message in the past ten years and I have opened my heart and my mind on how to take what has happened to us and somehow use it to help others that have been damaged by the actions of our banking institutions.

When you experience the death of, not one, but two, precious family members at the same tragic moment, compounded by losing a job and having a child serving his country in Iraq, you go through a catatonic stage where you can barely breathe.  Add to that, the complete destruction of a Chapter 13 that we had paid over $75,000 into where we ended up owing over $10,000 (thanks to the refinancing taking over 4 months to occur) more on our home than when we went into the bankruptcy in 1997.  To add insult to injury, during the 24 hours of our conversion from Chapter 13 to Chapter 7, another bank walked in and took our car, that according to the trustee report, was paid off (actually we had paid $1,100 more on the car than we owed), telling us that if we paid them another $5,000 we could have the car back.  This occurred two weeks after we buried our son-in-law and grandson.  I couldn’t believe it…and then our attorney was telling us to get over it.  I now own a $300 car, and I am good with that, because the lesson learned here is that if you pay cash up front no one can come onto your property and take it back.

As explained in my blog, An Apology to Our Neighbors, Our Neighborhood and Our City, this journey has been a long and arduous one, with no real end in sight at this point in time.  However, after a decade of pain, I look back for the miracles of our journey.

The week that the car was repossessed, my husbands birth siblings found him.  Both my husband and I were adopted when we were very young.  I was adopted within my family, however, my husband was adopted outside his.  Forty years later and at a time we needed it most, his brothers and sisters found him.  The thing that was really amazing about this was that during the funeral I had told my daughter that God never closes a door without opening a window.  How amazed I would be when those very word came true in the uniting of my husband with his siblings.

During those ten years, after the loss of, at the time, our only grandson, we have been blessed with three more grandsons.  We also have a wonderful marriage.  It’s been a hard marriage with many challenges, however, it has been a loving and respectful marriage, where we have both stood by each other and supported each other through it all.

So as you see the miracles are there, however, sometimes they were so clouded by what we were going through, that we would have to step back and look through the destruction to see those rays of light.  Our decision to stand our ground and not allow the banks to get away with crimes against us and our fellow countrymen came with consequences that we never imagined; but if I had to do it over again I would.  There is an adage that if you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.  I chose to stand for the truth; and now, that I have come to terms with all that I have been through, I believe that I have to share with those who are going through similar situations.

I don’t know if we will ever be financially strong again and I don’t know if our home won’t turn to dust before this is all said and done; but what I do know is that I will take this experience and turn it into a positive, by sharing what it is to be a mortgage forgery victim and what it is to be a small fish in a sea of sharks.  By faith, I believe that my words will help someone, somewhere to deal with the path that was thrown before them; helping them to understand the lessons I’ve learned.

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