“To die through submersion...“
Submerge. Inundate. Engulf. Deluge.
“We’re drowning...” those words would come so swiftly and painfully, but they would change the trajectory of everything for us.
The past 4 weeks have been a whirlwind. I honestly can’t say I have fully felt or processed it all, and am likely doing most of my decompressing through this writing.
This year has been very difficult. We went from a first year business and feeling optimistic in 2017, to basic financial ruin and barely scraping by for 2018. It was a mostly silent struggle, where many didn’t know how bad things were. PJ was given a position with a landscape company that kept our heads above water this spring when overtime was available, but we were starting to sink quickly over the summer. Grass doesn’t always grow and leaves don’t always fall when you need them to.
My anxiety also reached a level that I could no longer handle on my own. From being sexually assaulted at 16, having some emotional traumas around that same time, to an abusive relationship in my early adulthood, I had been set up for failure there. I began going to counseling and started medication. I was holding it together with those and PJ’s never ending support.
Jump in to July... At this point, most pay periods we were paying bills and leaving about $20 in the account. I got very frugal with our groceries, we eliminated everything “extra”, PJ found side jobs and I did what I could to contribute with diaper studies and Jamberry. But even with all of that, it was getting to the point that I’d have to pay a bill and ignore another until next month, then swap the next round.
We had birthdays for the boys, managed to pull off volunteering for Couples Camp with our church and PJ Man Camp with church as well. All 4 events on about $30 each. That alone was truly an act of God and our parents helping to make each thing happen in their own way.
Fast forward to mid-October and I realized I no longer could “rob Peter, to pay Paul”. We were going to be two months behind on the house and I had no way to make it up. We were drowning.
Drowning under stress. Drowning with no money pay for things we needed. Drowning under the fear of one of the boys getting hurt, one of the dogs getting sick, a car breaking down. Drowning from suffering without anyone knowing the extent of it to ask if we were ok, but too ashamed to say anything, because who the heck likes talking about money?
I also came off my meds at this point, and realized I was masking the symptoms and falsely feeling better. It took a lot of extra effort, deeper conversations and re-wiring of my brain (all of which is still ongoing). I had many full meltdowns that added a whole new level of “what the f***” to the mix.
I can honestly say however, no matter the level of stress and fear that was creeping in, our marriage was rock solid. If we didn’t have God at the center, open conversations about where we were mentally/emotionally/spiritually, and constantly leaning on the other when we needed to, I don’t know how we would’ve survived. But not once did we argue, blame, resent or struggle with our relationship.
Anyways, so fast forward a few weeks into October. I see my for-real-for-life best friend, since high school, for the first time in a few weeks. (All of this mind you at my sister-in-laws bridal shower. Sorry Laur... thanks for low key handling my stress too lol)
I had gotten good at the normal “Doing alright, how about you?” response when people asked... but I just couldn’t fake it any more. When Steph asked, I said “we’re drowning”. Tears in my eyes, my heart cracking. “We. Aren’t. Going. To. Make. It. Unless a miracle happens in November, we are going to lose everything.” I couldn’t believe I was saying it out loud, but I just couldn’t lie anymore.
I had no idea what was going on in her world. But soon found out they were starting into slum lord business (kidding... but seriously they wanted to own rental property). After talking to her husband Kooper, unbeknownst to me, they had a proposal they came over for dinner that night to discuss. Move in to their current home, pay an agreed upon amount, and recoup. For one year, and then we will reevaluate/negotiate. We were blown away. Humbled. Some what ashamed. It would give us the chance to breathe, in a home more than twice the size, and get our selves on a good path again. They would have to live with us for a few weeks while they transitioned. But that was seen as somewhat of a plus, though stressful at times, for support and laughter during this hot mess express we’re all on. PJ and I prayed about it, talked about it, crunched numbers... and agreed we didn’t really have a choice, but we also wanted to move forward. So plans were set, and within two weeks from that dinner discussion, we were moving in.
So where are we currently? We still have a home on the verge of foreclosure. I have barely seen my husband except for 10ish minutes each day, for two weeks as he bust his butt to fix up our home so it will sell (thank you Scott and Mike for your help. I don’t know what we would’ve done without you). We moved almost everything for our family of 5 in two days on November 10th and 11th, and almost 100% on our own (thank you Jake and Scott for helping PJ, and then my mom for helping watch the boys). We have two toddlers and a teenager, handling this all on their ends with no understanding of what the heck is happening. Then three dogs that give 0 F***s to be honest. They’re just happy they have food, water and a tree to pee on.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a HUGE blessing and we can’t even begin to wrap our heads around the generosity of our friends. But it’s hard... we’ve moved 30 minutes away from a large chunk of our family that literally lived within a block or so. We’ve lost the only place we called home together, and that I’ve called home other than the house I grew up in. We lost the house PJ asked me to marry him in (for real, in the living room). We lost the house Christian has called home from the time that he can remember, and the house that we brought his two brothers into the world in. There are moments I’ve felt so alone and unseen while dealing with all of this, that I’ve damn near ended up on a psych hold. Money still sucks as we try to hang on to the other house until it sells. Christmas is going to be so tight I’m not even looking forward to it. I’d give a lot to have our teeny cozy house back... but it’s just not practical or possible.
So instead, I’ve hung out with my bestie/roommate and her man way more than I have been able to in a while. We’ve shared great meals, and laughs. Held each other when things have sucked. We had one family get together with PJs ENTIRE side, and mine to come in a couple weeks, which was NEVER possible in our tiny house for lack of room. Our boys have room to run through the house, laugh, scream and just be kids. It truly has been great in so many ways, it just has been harder in others.
My heart doesn’t know if it wants to swell and burst, or shrivel and break. But we’re here. We’re safe. No more utilities shut off notices. Together when we can. Better than just surviving. And to be honest, I’ve never loved and respected my husband more, than I do for leading us through this valley. I look forward to what God has planned, as I’m already blown away by what He’s done.
So I ask these two things if you’ve read this.
one, is for my family. That you pray for us. For Gods presence, comfort and strength. That our house sells for the number we need to break free from it. And for my husband to not carry the weight of this any more.
Then one is for those around you... That you check on those around you. FOR REAL check on them, especially the strong ones. That you never assume you know what’s going on in someone’s world. That person/friend/family member that is absent, a jerkface, depressed, etc. may be weathering a storm no one else can see. Give people grace and understanding, even when you’re not sure they deserve it.