What began as the American Dream for millions of families across America has segued tumultuously into the American Nightmare because they’ve lost their homes to the scourge of foreclosure. The constant anguish…the inexorable progression of the legal teams…the devastating separation of family and home…these events have turned many former homeowners into disenfranchised individuals who are without a roof over their heads to call home.
There’s a family somewhere who understands exactly what I’m expressing because it happened to them. I don’t know who the individuals are yet I stood in the very place they used to call home yesterday when I went to look at the foreclosed property. My feet stood in the living room they used to gather in. The kitchen they cooked in.
Trash was strewn about and the home was a decrepit, unkempt fiasco. It reeked of rancid urine and mildew. The moist, clammy atmosphere left an unpleasant feeling over me. Where did the family go? How long have they been gone? I’m certain they would have preferred to remain while all I wanted was to get out. Quickly.
My stomach weakened: empathy overcame me. I couldn’t help thinking of the family’s embarrassment. Their vulnerability. Everything was left behind—seized by the authorities. The family probably left with their clothing on their backs, whatever possessions they could gather in their hands, the memories in their minds, and the pain in their hearts.
Soon, though, none of this will matter. Someone will purchase the property and gut it, renovating it and placing it on the market for someone new. Nobody will remember the former residents, much less care. Life will begin anew for whoever occupies the property and they will establish their own traditions, record holidays on their iPads, invite friends over for get-togethers, place garbage curbside, and do whatever life dictates. They may stand in the living room for a time, as I did, and remember that some unfortunate souls used to live there. They may even care. Despite that, they’ll resume their new life in a home that once belonged to someone else.