By Teresa Cavaliere
West Palm Beach, FL, USA
(credit: Joseph J. Bucheck III)
Like so many of you, I’m a fifty-two-year-old mother with two teenage children. I started working in the beauty business at sixteen. I was an entrepreneur. I worked my tail off for the “American Dream”! Never, not even in my wildest nightmare, did I think my life would turn out like this. You see I’m one of the millions. I am you! I'm in foreclosure!
Before this happened, I talked about semi-retiring and spending more time with my children. I was pretty well off financially. At last, I was no longer a “working mom”. Two months later, my husband was let go (fired). Just like that. Oh, my God! It hit us like a ton of bricks. He went into a depression comma and I was pissed at myself for believing, for once in my life, that someone was going to take care of me for a change!
Things only got worse from there. It took about a year and a half to deplete all of our cash, savings, and retirement funds, and last, but not least, our health insurance went as well. My greatest fear was for my children. I have to keep going! They didn't ask for this.
Like a junkie waiting for a fix, I was glued to the internet and any news on what our President was going to do about the housing collapse. Something, aaaanything, pleeease God! I was scared as hell. I couldn't even live in my car because I watched the repo man drive it off at three a.m. that morning! I made hundreds of phone calls to homeowner relief programs. (HOPE) my ass! Guess what I was told? “Ms. Cavaliere, you have to be four months behind on your mortgage payments before we can offer you any assistance. You don't qualify.” Whaaat!!! It was like a shark attack. Banks and bogus relief programs screwing hardworking homeowners at their most vulnerable moment instead of trying to keep them in their homes. Those same suits were bailing out the world - but what about the little guy who greases the wheel?
I live in Florida. Unemployment is eleven and a half percent and climbing. My seventeen-year-old can't even get a job bussing tables. Try getting one when you’re fifty-two! What a mess. I kept having the most tragic visions bouncing through my head. What if one of the kids has an illness or an injury? If it were only a nightmare - then I could open my eyes and it would all go away…disappear.
Foreclosure has taken over our family like a cancer, although I believe I stood a better chance of surviving cancer. At least with cancer, there would be a treatment or some concrete plan of attack toward a cure. The dark cloud of foreclosure, however, is like some unknown entity holding your life in its hands and you not knowing when it would squeeze. Was my family going to be the next casualty?
I hired an attorney so that I could buy time to sock some money away in case we had to get out. It’s been two and a half years that we have been in foreclosure and one year in something called a trial modification that was to last only six months - except nothing was modified. Ugh, it’s like sitting on a ticking time bomb! Where does a family of four with the worst credit ever go to rent an apartment? You caaaaan't!!!!! God knows I’ve tried. I'm holding on and praying that this government starts using some common sense instead of taking over homes and turning our neighborhoods into desert towns. God help us all!
I'm working my tail off! I have so much more to live for! I will make it, but I won’t lie to you. I’m scared!
Teresa Cavaliere is on the frontlines of today’s America and reports on the curves life throws at her.