“Where are you now?” She asks, concerned.
I'm sitting on the 110 Freeway in rush hour traffic on my way home from work. I am a sight to behold as I cry like a child filled with despair beyond comprehension... my face contorted into a twisted mess of anguish. Eyes blinking through the haze of salty tears as I try desperately to 'keep my eyes on the road.' My bottom lip quivering as I try to hold the tsunami back.
“I’m in rush hour,” I blubber and somehow she understands.
I'm only going five miles an hour, I try to reassure between gasps and sobs. I’d been holding this back for a while. Months, maybe. But it all came bursting forth once everything became real. It was official. Countrywide, we just learned, was accepting the short sale offer and we have 30 days to be out of the house. For real. It's no longer theoretical. It's happening. We have to move. We have to pack up our house, our beautiful house that we love so much and move. But to where? We don't know.
"You can always live with us," Mom says. And this thought makes me incredibly grateful. I can't imagine what it would be like without the safety net of my family... offering a place to crash, to regroup. As long as they were there, we'd never be on the street. Moving back to my hometown to live with my family isn't in this moment what I want. It scares me. I'm afraid of how I'll feel. Missing life here. Missing our house. Going backwards in time.
Going back home for a few weeks, however, might be good. To regroup, to decompress, to mourn the loss of our house- our "foothold" on the American Dream. Visit with family, friends. It might be just what we need. For a few weeks. A month or two. But I don't want to get too comfortable there. And I think that's what scares me. Loss of forward momentum.
Mom understands this. She gets it. She tells me that it's perfectly normal for me to be feeling this way. She lets me cry. She tells me that the next few weeks are going to be really hard while we pack up our house and say goodbye and figure out where we'll go... but that once we close the door and let go, things will get better. They'll be easier. It won't be so hard once we've moved on.
I know she's right. But I really don't like this part.
"I know," she tells me, "I don't either. And there's nothing I can fix right now. All I can do is listen."
This makes me cry more. Out of gratitude.
Thank you, Mom. Everything you said was just what I needed to hear. Thank you for letting me cry or, as you said, have my 'moment.' Thank you for trusting us and not being afraid for our future. Thank you for believing that the moment would pass. As it has. I don't know what I'd do without you.Now that it's been several days since my 'moment,' I can see both the victory and the opportunity. Our goal was to avoid foreclosure. And we did. (fingers crossed that we make it through escrow) In this crazy mess of our lives, it is something to celebrate. On May 19th when we close we can say with certainty: We did it! We avoided foreclosure.
And we found a buyer who truly loves this house. He will take care of it. He'll be a good neighbor. He'll enjoy living here as much as we have. I know. I could see it in his eyes when he was here. He's already mentally moved in. This is a good thing.
As I write this I listen to the sounds of our house-- the irrigation system, birds chirping and the distant hum of the 5 Freeway. This has been our life, our home and now it's not. We've loved here, and we've hurt. We've come apart and back together. We've been wounded and healed. We've become better people. We've learned big lessons. And now we're ready for what's next. Whatever that may be.
We may be starting over, but we're starting over with so much more in our 'arsenal.' We take these lessons with us. And as Bob said the other morning while we were taking Pablo for a hike in Elysian Park:
"Wherever we go... we'll improve."