Building this house has been a long hard road. It wasn’t a choice that we made, it was a corner that we got backed into. Our illness made other living situations impossible at the time. Believe me, we tried, but all of our efforts were in vain and in 2005 we broke ground for the little house. We did our best to make the most of a difficult situation. We tried to be cheerful and we were deeply grateful, but we still struggled a good deal, all the same.
All of this time, we’ve been carrying the mortgage on the old house. We can’t sell it because we did the right thing and had it tested. And now we know. We know the connection that it had to our illness. It is documented all over the place. And even if it wasn’t and we wouldn’t be considered liable, I could never, ever knowingly expose someone else to such a health threat.
So, we paid our mortgage every month and at the same time drained our savings account to start building a house that we could actually live in. And then from there we kept running off of credit. Our debts kept accumulating until we were basically carrying the equivalent of two mortgages. And that’s just not sustainable. And even with all of that work and time and money being spent, we are still so, so far from being done. We have almost no siding and very few interior walls; inadequate insulation under the house and no plumbing; electric in only a small section of the house and on and on. It would take us years and tens of thousands of dollars that we don’t have to finish this place.
Earlier this month we declared bankruptcy. And getting by is still a struggle. With no credit to put towards the task at hand, we’re looking at a solid decade before we get even basic plumbing. And that is if nothing else goes wrong (she said while trying to ignore the strange sound that the refrigerator has been making, the groaning of the water pump and the hot water heater that’s on the fritz at the old house, and the car that we just dropped off at the junkyard).
This lifestyle is not an easy one and there are times that I feel on the verge of a nervous break-down and I do feel quite certain the Steve is working himself into an early grave. Meanwhile, the tasks of a day are so numerous and so all-consuming that we feel like the respective childhoods in progress around us are slipping away while we are both busy just trying to keep life going.
My dentist says that I’m wearing the teeth right out of my head with unconsciously clenching them and my muscles are so tight that they strain and twitch. Steve has had a herniated disk in his upper back for years now. It aches at it’s best and greatly pains him at it’s worst. He’s been told that his only option is surgery, but that he wouldn’t be able to do any lifting at all for several months afterward. We can’t get by that way, so he lives on in pain. Our bodies all wear the strain of years of illness, struggle and strife.
I love this land. Three out of four of my children have known no other and the remaining child doesn’t remember life before here. It’s been blessed with our blood, sweat and tears. It’s been the setting and the source of many stories that are sure to be told over the years, rich in familylore. It’s a good place. I’ve given birth to babies in both houses on this land. Each drew his/her first breath by the fire of what we called home. It’s been the scene of joyous reunions, heartrending sorrows and lots of everyday living in between. This house has been our salvation in some of our darkest times and I often feel that we quite literally owe our lives to it’s existence.
Thanks to this house, we are now well enough that we have the possibility of going out into the world to find housing we can tolerate. But it’s still scary. It’s scary on a lot of levels and for a lot of reasons. The truly terrifying part is that we risk reversing all of the strength and good health that we’ve gained being here. There is a chance that we may again have to watch our children suffer as our health deteriorates. We are going to do our very best to protect everyone but in a situation like this there is a certain element that has to be left to chance.
As my dear, sweet husband put it, “It is awful and it’s going to break my heart too and my blood is literally in that house but we can’t do it anymore. We’ve done an amazing thing the past four years or so but I think it’s time to try to live more normally again.”
And so we’re abandoning this house that we’ve worked so hard and sacrificed so much to create. It’s a very difficult and emotional decision, but I do believe that it’s where we need to go from here.
Cautiously we move forward, with heavy, yet hopeful hearts and many little prayers, in hope of a better life for us all.
My heart is breaking for you and the dreams you're having to move away from.
We've been in terrible hard times too and I know it is not easy.
I'll keep you and your dear ones in my heart and prayers.
I am so srry you have to leave that You are your family are in my thoughts. <3
i can't begin to imagine how difficult this must be for your family. my thoughts are with you.
I'm so sorry to hear about your family needing to leave your house. It's so hard to leave dreams behind – I'll certainly be thinking of your family during this transition!
Oh, it must be SO hard. Not being able to continue, but having to leave so much love and work behind.
You will be in my thoughts as you continue on your new path.
I am so sorry to hear you are having to move from your home you have struggled so hard to build.
I spent my teen years livinig in a home that was partially built(bigger, but like yours in so many ways) using what little money I got from my father's SS benefits I received to help keep a roof over my mom's and my head. As bad as it was in a way I'd take that house over where we are now…owning/working to own what I live in vs renting and living somewhere we really don't care for and just are not suited too.
You are in our thoughts and prayers and I do pray you find somewhere that will not bring back the illness and allow you to breath a bit and heal at the same time.
Oh my, Melody I am so sorry to hear of this!
You are an inspiration to many people, you truly are. I have been amazed with your strength which shines through in your blog- the hard work, the love in your family, the beauty in your life.
I wish you luck as you moved onward, and will certainly keep you and your lovely family in my thoughts!
I have been a reader of your blog for sometime now, but have only commented a couple of times. I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family as you move on.
Oh Melody, this must be such a hard time for you and your family, leaving behind what you have worked so hard to build. I will hold you all in my thoughts, and send wishes out for a warm, beautiful healthy home for you and your famly in the future.
I'm sorry. Huge hugs and many wishes that you find a wonderful, healthy place to live.
That is heartbreaking. It must be so frustrating when you work so hard at something like you obviously did. But… you will survive. This will be a distant memory some time. Your family is strong, your love abounding. This is not the end but the beginning of something new. Blessings to you and your family.
Oh I am keeping you & your family in my heart. Thank you so much for sharing and explaining this painful situation. Keep your spirits up!
I'm so sorry that y'all are having to make these decisions. I will be praying for your family.
Melody: one thing I'm sure of is that your efforts at building and maintaining this home were not in vain. Both you and the land are changed for the better because of the time you've spent there, in the ways that really matter. Though it will be challenging, you'll take what you've learned and use it for good in a healthier environment. We admire everything you've accomplished and know you'll settle into a new situation that's nurturing for your family. We're thinking of you!
Anne (and Tony)
Thinking of you Melody, and wishing you peace.
We had to sell the house we built as newlyweds and that my girls were babies in too – it hurts a lot.
Good luck as you move forward… I'll miss the little home, but the blessings come from you, so thank you for sharing them with all of us!
An MDC friend here (so hard to believe the babies are already 8 months!) – I love checking in on your blog and being so inspired by your family and your crafts and your home. So it is with much sympathy and sadness that I read this post, I can't imagine how hard it must be for you to let go of the home you've put so much work and care into. I really wish there was some way we could help, or that I was rich and could be your benefactor. But all I can offer is my blessings and hopes that you and your family will continue to be strong, healthy, and full of love, wherever you may be.
You are such a wonderful mother, and you have been such an inspiration to me. Thank you for blogging and letting us share some of your life – I am keeping your family in my thoughts! Good luck!
What a difficult decision to make. Life takes us on such journeys – I hope this experience will ultimately bless your family and I hope the transition is as smooth as possible for all of you. You'll be in our prayers.
i'm so sorry melody. i imagine things will be *okay* in time… but i know it doesn't feel that way now. i don't know what i have to offer, but you know i'm not far away. please let me know if i can help you in any way – even if it's just meeting for a day and going for a walk in the woods to unload and unwind… xoxo
I'd like to think of it as an energy exchange with the universe's life force. You are in the stream and you all will be taken care of because of your will, dedication and love.
Bless you all!