By Joanie Buettgen
Have you ever come close to losing your home? Back in 1989, my husband Mark was injured on the job. He was out of work for a year. Our life changed forever.
At the same time, I decided to quit my full time job to stay home with our three young children, and start a day care business.
I’ll never forget that day back in ‘89, when Mark came home unexpectedly. “What are you doing home so early?” I asked.
“I had a load of lumber to deliver.” Mark said. “I didn’t have a helper, so I delivered the sheet rock all by myself. The load shifted and my shoulder made a popping noise.”
We both looked at each other and wondered what the doctor visit the next day would bring. We knew it would be bad news.
After examining Mark the doctor announced he had a torn rotator cuff and needed surgery.
The procedure didn’t repair his injury, and the doctor noted that a year of physical therapy was in store for him. Because this was work comp claim, there were many lawyers and court dates that we dealt with weekly.
If you have ever known anyone who has been injured on the job, you know what a tough ordeal they’ve been through. Our major problem was Mark was the main bread winner in our family and was now unemployed. I was a day care provider in charge of 9 children including three of mine own. We had many mouths to feed on a limited budget.
After 6 months, the hard times hit. At the lowest point of this ordeal, during Mark’s rehab, there were no compensation checks for five weeks. The bills started to pile up. The kids never knew about the food shelf visits and the nasty bill collector calls. Many nights I’d hoped the kids wouldn’t hear me crying.
On one particular day I remember a phone call I will never forget. ”We are foreclosing on your home. Just send us your title!” The banker said.
My heart sank and I froze. Then I called Mark.
“They want to take our house.” I screamed.
“I’m coming home right now.” Mark said.
As I hung up the phone, I prayed that we would be alright.
As the day progressed we talked, and held each other close. Then, we asked ourselves, “Who can we call for help?” Thank God, we had his dad to help us out. That was the hardest call I’ve ever had to make.
“Dad…we need your help!” I cried out. We felt like we were failures asking for help.
“Give me a couple of days…I’ll figure something out!” He said.
Days later and many sleepless nights, he came up with the money. It was just what we needed to get current on our house payments. Then, we made an agreement with him to pay back our loan.
All summer long, I worked off that personal debt. But, I was never so relieved to have a family member help us out in our time of need.
Relief finally set in after our check was mailed to the mortgage officer.
I thanked God we still had a roof over our heads. I’ll never forget that kind gesture of a family member. Right then and there, I made a promise to myself, if anybody ever needed help, I would be there for them.
Sadly, many families today have experienced this loss of a home. We all need to help these families get their lives back on track.
I’m happy to report that we still live in our older two-story home. Yes, the paint is peeling, the plaster walls show their character with their many cracks, and our basement is damp.
We are grateful for the many random acts of kindness that were shown to us in our time of need.
I am proud to announce that we are happily married after thirty-two years and our three hard-working children live independent lives.
My prayer today is that no family should ever have to worry about having a roof over their head.
Published in: Minnesota Moments Magazine, Carver County Historical Society, Kansas City BBQ Society, Carver County News, National Barn Alliance, Ridgeview Medical Center newsletter, and ThankfulHome.tv.
Memberships: National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Toastmaster’s, Minnesota Newspaper Association, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop attendee.