No, really no reason to be sorry

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.

10 thoughts on “No, really no reason to be sorry

  1. Very true Twin. As you well know that I am going thru my own financial woes and if I could file bankruptcy I sure would because it’s not the end of the world. There are so many things that are worse. I’m at the point now where I’m not even tripping about it anymore. If my mother’s name wasn’t on the house, I would just walk away.

  2. When I first met my husband he was in debt. The first thing I told him to do was to file bankruptcy…there was no way from under all of the debt. He felt a great burden lifted when it was done.

  3. It is, and was, a huge relief. Some mind hurdles to get over in getting there, but in the end, HUGE relief. Kudos to you for doing what is right, for you.

  4. Yes . . . when I was reading that you were making the decision to go through with it and that it finally went through, I felt relief for you too. Not sorrow.

    Growing up, my parents had a lot financial difficulty and debt. Our lives were so stressful. Anxiety was part and parcel of daily life. I hated to ask for things because I never knew what kind of reaction I would get . . . I wished with all my heart that they would file for bankruptcy so we could breathe again. They never did and I don’t know how they will ever catch up now that they are older.

    So yes, not sorrow but relief. I’m happy for you sis. Here’s to a fresh slate.

  5. Chi chi, the stress you mentioned is a big reason I finally made the decision to go through with it. We have been in a place where we are chipping away but it is never enough and my biggest fear really became getting older with no safety net and then becoming a burden on the kids. When I sat down and realized it would take almost 30 years to become debt free and that would mean 30 yrs of no savings for retirement, etc. I realized that while it sounds nice to do it, its not practical. In 30 years I will be in my late 60’s and the hubs will be in his 70’s. So yeah, it really is a relief as we are still young enough to rebuild our financial house. Along with now being able to take care of things like my teeth which I had been putting off.

  6. I am very happy for you and the spousal unit….you will feel great relief when the process is completely over. I have been there and done that twice in my lifetime. Once when I just behaved foolishly with credit and the next time when the housing market crashed and I was left with a huge debt that I never could have paid off…each time though I held my head up and said so be it…the bankruptcy law was enacted for a reason or reasons and I had no problem being one of them…you are right about peoples response, they look like awwwww poor thing.. so you of course are correct that bankruptcy is not sorrow…but its a new beginning.

  7. Sister I am a new reader. This is the first post of yours that I have read. Let me say that may God be with you. For such a young woman you have seen and suffered through a lot.

    There are plenty of us in blogville who will wish you well and keep you in our prayers.

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