Tuesday, December 13, 2011

200 Days and the 5 Stages of Greiving

I just looked at my residency count down ticker and we only have 200 more days.... yeah!!!! Good thing I opened up my blog to look. I've had a great week visiting with my grandmother and mother. It has been so good. We are now on round two of family visitors, this week it is the in-laws:-) I am sure I'll have more to blog about soon.

My intention as I signed on to blog tonight was to follow up on my previous post, the vomit or cry post. I've come to the conclusion that I am grieving and I have nearly passed through all the phases.

First: Denial. How could this be happening to us? We do the right things, we are good people, we are financially responsible, this can't be happening!!!!

Second: Anger. This is the stage I was in when I wrote the post:-) I was mad at everyone. Why do I have to pay for other peoples mistakes? I know of people who could afford their mortgage who walked away from them just because their home had lost so much value. Is that right? I know it might not feel good, but if you can afford that house you agreed to buy, and there is no reason to move, pay what you agreed to pay and get over it. If I didn't have to move I would stay here and keep paying my mortgage. How much worse has this housing crisis been made by those people who decided that it wasn't fair that they were now the owners of an investment that lost value. Not everyone can be a winner every time.

Third: Bargaining. I think I even tried to bargain with the realtor. It went something like: I can't just walk away from the closing table with nothing. We have spent all our savings fixing this house up so we could sell it. I can't just give it away. I have to walk away with something, even if it is less that I would like, but I can't give it away. After all we have done we deserve something, anything! What do I have to do to make sure that happens?

Fourth: Depression. We aren't ever going to have any money are we? Just when things start to look good something happens to slam us back down. I am tired of fighting this uphill battle. I am tired of doing what I think is the right thing only to wind up on the losing end of every situation. I just want someone else to take care of this and I want to forget it ever happened. I don't want to own a house again for a long time, and certainly not until we know we will never move again.... because apparently that is the only way owning a house makes sense.

Fifth: Acceptance. And this is where I have found myself. You know what? It doesn't make any difference how I feel about this situation. So, I am the loser again. I am not the only one. So, I am feeling sorry for myself.... is that really new? Is it really that bad? NO.

It always helps getting some perspective from your family and from history. When I picked up my grandmother and mother from the airport I was telling them about the awful day that I had. It was the same day I met with the realtor and the contractor, bad day.

When my grandparents married 62 years ago they lived in an old railroad car. My grandpa worked for the railroad and those were the living quarters they were assigned. They lived. Not only did they live, but I doubt they really ever complained about it. She said that no matter where they were, as long as they had each other it felt like home. I am sure having recently lost her husband she would gladly live in that railroad car again if he could be with her.

My grandparents made and lost a fortune not just once, but a couple of times. In all the time I've been with my grandparents never once did they complain about what they had lost. In fact, I didn't even know they had lost so much. They didn't dwell on the past, but just moved forward. My grandparents didn't have anything to speak of when my grandpa passed away this year, and she still doesn't have much. But she is one of the happiest people I know. It is just money.

One of my favorite lines from the movie (and it's probably in the book, too) Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is when one of the grandparents says that there will always be more money but there will only be one golden ticket. I am paraphrasing, but every time I hear that it speaks truth to my soul. Money is not as important as we think it is. I give money too much power over me.

This weekend we visited some historical sites. There was a time in our country's history, not that long ago, where a group of people were persecuted beyond anything I am able to comprehend. An extermination order was issued in Missouri in 1838 authorizing the legal murder of a group of people, men, women, and children who were found in their state. They were given warning and forced to leave or face death. The federal government did nothing to prevent that order, and provided these people with no protections. They were forced to leave their homes, their property, and their possessions. Not just a few families, hundreds.

As they crossed the country one mile at a time they buried infants, children, husbands, wives, parents, grandparents along the way. Not just a few, but too many.

Being in the place where they set off across the Mississippi River made me feel rather silly and insignificant.  It's just money. It's just a house. I have a place to live. I have children that are not starving. I have good health. I live free of persecution. No one is trying to kill me. I am good.

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