Today, the Spousal Unit and I got up early to drop the last of the paperwork and fees off to our attorney for our upcoming bankruptcy case. In delivering that paperwork to his office it felt like a shift in my personal universe and my soul exhaled deeply. The decision to go bankrupt was not an easy one and I imagine the next few months will be interesting as we navigate a process entirely unknown.
In recent weeks I have received numerous emails from many kind readers suggesting alternatives and while I am deeply grateful that so many people care, I will say for as much as I do share on this blog, there is more I don’t. I will just say the processes that lead to this decision are part of a larger journey that has been ongoing for many years. I rest easy knowing this is not an easy way out and that we tried our best but that we are simply at a point where this is a business decision, nothing more, nothing less. After all businesses go bankrupt every day and there is never a moral judgment attached to it, yet often when individuals make the same choice, it becomes a matter of personal responsibility. In our case my husband is a business as a freelancer, sometimes businesses do well and sometimes they don’t.
Despite my choosing to share with many strangers the decision to go bankrupt, I have only shared the news with a few personal friends. In part because I did not want that uncomfortable pause followed by the inevitable I am sorry that almost always seems to follow. Today, I finally broke down and told one of my close friends as we were en route to yoga of all places. He expressed sadness and in that moment I found myself thinking of all the possible calamities that can befall us, filing bankruptcy is not even remotely the worse.
Looking back on the past decade of my life and the ups and downs, I can say sorrow was an appropriate reaction when 8 years ago this summer, my beautiful vibrant and young mother called me to tell me she had lung cancer. Sorrow was watching her pull through radiation, chemo and lung surgery to return back to the land of the living, only to learn weeks later the cancer had spread to her brain. Sorrow was that call on Christmas morning from my Dad telling me something was up; sorrow was the day after Christmas getting the call requesting I come home. Sorrow was arriving home to see my Mom, a shadow of herself; sorrow was bathing and dressing the woman who once had done these things for me. Sorrow was making decisions and not knowing what the outcome would be. Sorrow was watching her survive brain surgery only to die 7 weeks later because we live in a country where insurance companies have limits and seeing your mother end up in a shit ass nursing home because she exceeded the limits for rehabilitation. Sorrow is reading your mother’s death certificate and seeing she died basically of dehydration because some underpaid overworked human did not keep her hydrated. Sorrow is watching your father become a shadow of himself, sorrow is your little brother having to couch surf for a year after you gave all you could to help him out in graduate school in a foreign country. Sorrow is losing the person who helped you navigate the aftermath of your Mom’s death because they had no support and committed suicide leaving you a clear road map that looking back you can see they had planned it. Sorrow is losing your grandmother 6 weeks after giving birth and effectively making you the matriarch of the family at 32. Sorrow is a 4 year period where it started to feel like every time you answered the phone it was news of yet another passing, another loss.
Turns out realizing you cannot possibly pay back all the debts you have in a reasonable time frame despite your most valiant efforts is not sorrow at all. It is relief, relief that we live in a place where second chances are possible at least financially. Relief that I have learned a lot on this journey and that I carry that knowledge into the future, relief that I can instill in my kids lessons I never learned about money. So please if you know someone in such a situation, you don’t have to express sorrow as of someone has died, most people who get to this point are relieved.