What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest post is by Marleea.

In the fall of 2011 we lost our home… it was auctioned off at the county court house. Obviously, I did not attend the auction, and honestly I spent the entire day in fear that the sheriff was going to show up at my door and serve some sort of papers to kick us out. But that day went by, the same as all of the others had for the last 2 years that our home had been “in foreclosure.” No sheriffs. No new owners coming to look at their newly acquired property. Nothing. Just me, living in the same familiar fear that had become part of my emotional stability over the past two years. The only difference was that now I knew what I had been so afraid was going to happen, had happened… we no longer had a home. And, for some reason, even though the future was still completely unknown, the fact that our home was no longer our home somehow gave me some relief to the all consuming fear. The worst thing had indeed happened… and we were going to have to deal with it. We did not have a choice.

Losing our home was the outcome of several things: bad decisions, bad market, bad economic period mixed with an older home that needed a great deal of work. We had moved into our home 12 years earlier. It was our dream home. The house we always wanted, but never thought we would own. It was perfect for our family and for our lifestyle… large living area for entertaining, a bedroom for each of our kids, a spare bedroom for visitors, a beautiful yard with a swimming pool… a “master bath” that was amazing… There was not one day during the 12 years that I lived there that I did not thank my God for allowing me to be in that home.  

Over the 12 years that we lived in that house our children graduated high school and began to move on with their lives. We hosted two rehearsal dinners and one election celebration. We had thousands of family gatherings, endless pool parties, and an open door policy for all of our children’s friends. We prepared food and decorations for three weddings, and had at least a dozen shrimp boils. Our daughter got married while we were living in that house… she also graduated from A&M while we were there, so it hosted one ring dunking party and one college graduation party… Our granddaughter was born while we lived in that house… her first time in a pool was in our back yard and she took many of her first steps in our family room…The walls in that house are full of my family- our voices, our laughter, our tears… we REALLY LIVED in that house…
As I faced the fact that we were losing the house that had been our home for twelve years, the loss was not what consumed my mind, my heart, or my thoughts…Instead I was consumed with fear of how this was going to affect my husband, my sons, my daughter, my son in law, my grandchild and her mother…my family… I felt I had to do everything I could to protect them from the pain of this situation… So I tried to make sure that my reactions to everything were never negative or sad. I tried to make sure that in no way, at all, did I show any sadness, disappointment, insecurity..I had to be a strong, happy, confident front.
In the end, I was not able to protect anyone from the emotions this situation brewed. We each had to go through it, some of it on our own terms and in our own ways, but most of it as a family, and that, the family thing, is what carried us through. I eventually (thanks to words of wisdom from my brother, the first person I opened up to about what we were facing) realized that I had to talk about what we were going through with my family and my closest friends. I tried to respect the way that Cody was dealing with the situation and I tried desperately to make sure that he felt my love and respect. I worked hard to partner with him on how we dealt with this with our children and our granddaughter and I tried to respect the boundaries of silence he had set up. However, I also had to realize that I was going through the same hell as he was, and I had to, for the sake of my mental stability, go through it on my terms, as well. While I worked hard to not “force” Cody to handle things the way I wanted to handle them, I also learned that he had very little right to demand that I face them in the same manner that he felt was the most comfortable. I finally had to break his “code of silence” and actually talk to someone about what we were going through. I talked to my brother, my mom, my sister and two of my very best friends. They all helped to keep me grounded. Their support gave me comfort and strength.

Even though I was afraid we were never going to find anyone who would agree to have us for tenants, we actually were able to rent a house. And by the grace of God, we were able to rent the house that we really wanted. And we were out of the house before the Sheriff came to serve us papers … so I never had to open the door to find a deputy on my porch. (Silly, I know, but it really was one of my greatest fears.) The papers were served, but they simply left them tucked in the front door. I retrieved them while visiting my neighbor one day.

My children lived through it, but even with all of my protection, positive attitude, and smiles, they were still sad. My husband still had to cope with everything husbands who have gone through this have to cope with…( he isn’t much of a talker, so I am still not sure how he felt) But our family remained strong, and happy.

What I want you to know about foreclosure is that it does not mean you are losing your home, it means you are losing a house. And as with any loss, there will be sadness and there will be fear. But you can come out of it stronger. My faith, my marriage, my family, and my friendships were strengthened during this time. We still have a home. And even though it is smaller, it is still where the family gathers for meals, games, football and shrimp boils.

Foreclosure can take a long time. And it is frightening…however no one can ever repossess your family. The old saying, “Home is Where Your Heart Is” rang true in my life two years ago.

We have downsized. ALOT. We worked hard at getting 11 years of “stuff we don’t need” out of our old house and into storage, or into the “trash” pile. Our old house is cold, it is a mess, it makes us all sneeze and cough. It no longer holds all of my most treasured “things” and does not look like the place where all of my “memories” are…in fact, as I sat in it, I tried to imagine what it looked and felt like four short weeks ago…it was a hard memory to call up, unless I closed my eyes.

What do I love the most about moving? Getting homesick at our old house for our new house; walking into our new house today and giving thanks to God that we were home! Watching my granddaughter play in the Tupperware cabinet and run around the house like it is the only one she has ever known; having my kids, their friends, our family and friends all here at the same time…enjoying “down time” with my husband; having my daughter curl up on the chair and watch t.v. while she is visiting. What I love the absolute most about moving is realizing that what makes us special is our family and our love for each other and everyone else.