The top three most stressful life events are divorce, death, and moving. Handling them all at the same time, well now that should be considered superhero training. The divorce was already in motion, but I didn’t see the death of my brother coming and I certainly didn’t expect to be putting my house on the market just days after his passing. The American Dream didn’t seem possible at this point.
You know that saying, “God won’t give you more than you can handle”? Well, my God promises that this life will bring trouble, but He also promises that everything works together for the good of those that love and serve Him. 2019 was more than I could handle, so I didn’t. God carried me and sent me lots of angels to hold me up during the toughest parts.
It was September 9, 2019. I was sitting in my car in front of the mediator’s office, waiting to begin my third mediation. This time it was court ordered. The last ditch effort to settle the divorce case before being put on a trial calendar. I hadn’t slept in several nights anticipating my brother’s impending death. My phone rang. It was my brother, Russell. My chest tightened as I answered the phone.
“I can’t do this, Russell.”
“Yes you can. Just clear your mind and do what has to be done.”
“You have eternity at your doorstep. I only have uncertainty.”
“Debbie, you have everything you need, to do what you have to do.”
Russell was diagnosed with lung cancer (environmentally caused) in September, 2018. His fight was valiant, but his body was done. He chose to stop treatment and die on his own terms. Time was running out and spending the day at a mediator’s office rather than with him was torture. But, I marched in that office and walked out eight hours later with a settlement.
Russell passed into the arms of Jesus 2 days later. Although I grieve the death of my brother, I cannot help but to celebrate his homecoming to the King of Kings.
A week later, I met with a real estate agent and began the process of putting my home on the market, per the divorce settlement agreement. With two children and four dogs in the house, the showings, which happened fairly often, were all consuming. Rapid clean-up, put dogs outside, scoop up the kids and head out to somewhere…anywhere, until the showing was complete. This was the routine until February, 2020.
Being a seller in the market went well, but being a buyer…that would prove to be far more challenging. There just isn’t enough inventory for the amount of buyers. Not only does that drive the prices up, but it also makes for a very competitive market. There wasn’t one home on the market that would fit all of our needs…that was in my budget. We bought a camper and plopped it on a family members property until we could make our next move.
But wait, there’s more…PANDEMIC 2020 – Covid19 began and the world turned upside down. As you can imagine, those that could pull their homes from the market, did. Now there was even less inventory. And, the banks tightened their loaning because of the shutdown.
A single mom, self-employed, with a short work history since I had been a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom for the past decade. Not a great profile to get approved for a mortgage during a pandemic or any other time for that matter. But, my credit score and my down payment from the sale of my previous house gave me the push I needed to get over the red tape.
The search began, but the options were bleak. It came down to compromising my needs and wants to narrow down the best options. Did I mention we were staying in a camper. Time was of the essence as my sanity was waning. 3 minutes worth of hot water to shower, having to go to a laundry mat, and do you know what the black tank is for on a camper? Yeah, I won’t go there.
“Hello Donnie. Go ahead with an offer on that 1-acre house.” As the words fell out of my mouth, reality fell on my shoulders. Could I handle this? Financially, physically, mentally…could I handle being mom, teacher, provider, business owner, home owner? It was a legit question that made me pause for a brief moment. A very brief moment. I heard Russell’s voice again, “You have everything you need to do what you have to do.”
And here we are. Finally in our new home after more than six months in the camper. The American Dream is still a thing. We still have a lot of work to do: fencing, landscaping, some cosmetic changes, but I only take one day at a time. I don’t think too much about the pressures of tomorrow, because today has enough for me to handle. I dream about the potential of tomorrow, but the weight is not for me to carry.
My brother, Michael gave me 100 hours of labor & skill for my birthday. I’ve already used up a few getting my ice maker water line hooked up and his list of to-do’s is getting longer by the day. New space, new place, same goal. Do the very best we can with the next right thing on our plate. School starts today for us…FINALLY. So, I gotta run and wake up the boys.
Divorce, death and moving, may be the top three most stressful events in life. I don’t think they were thrusted upon me by a mean God. I believe life throws us troubles and we always have a choice of how to look at them. That was just one season. Now, I’m beginning a new one. I survived the divorce, I celebrate my brother, Russell’s life and the move is complete.
Life goes on and Life is good.