Some Good Came Of It.

My maternal grandfather worked very hard all his life, true to his generation.  When he passed away, he had a house in his name and some modest assets.  He was not a rich man, but a respectable one.  He left all he had to be split between his two daughters and, to a lesser extent, my brother and I.  Because my mother was on Medicaid for her nursing home care, she could not receive her inheritance.  There is a rule under Medicaid that while you may not have assets above a particular threshold, you may have a trust set up for certain aspects of your care.  It can be used for vacation, specialized medical equipment like wheelchairs that Medicare won’t cover or experimental treatments, for example.  My grandfather set up such a trust in his will, but the trustee did not see fit to utilize any of my mother’s money on my mother.  My grandfather’s will also dictated that whatever funds were left when my mother died would go to her children.

My husband and I bought our first home at a time when the market was flooded with cheap houses and you could get a mortgage simply by having a pulse.  We bought a reasonable house 40 miles from where we grew up because we liked the scenery and the houses were cheaper there.  A few years later, the four hour daily commute wore on my husband and my two hour commute wasn’t winning favor with our then toddler.  We had all had enough of country living and we were ready to sell.  Unfortunately, this was in 2009 when the market and the economy had completely tanked.  We were trapped.

Week after week of showings went by but we didn’t get any real offers.  There were so many houses for a family to look at and ours was just another one to pass through.  Discouraged, we lowered our price.   Regardless, traffic was dying down because we’d been on the market too long.  We had one offer, but it was too low.

My mother lived her final 8 years and 2 months in a nursing home.  That last year was spent in and out of the hospital with disorienting infections and several bouts of sepsis.  The last time I spoke to my mother, the day before she lost consciousness permanently, I knew I’d never speak to her again.  With each passing day, her body shut down organ by organ.

I kept in touch with my realtors mostly to let them know we couldn’t show the house.  They let me know the low-ballers were still interested and raised their offer slightly.

My mother passed away on April 22, 2010.  Thanks to my grandfather, we were able to accept the offer on our house that was now $1 less than the price we paid for it.

That day, on multiple levels, changed everything.

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17 Responses to “Some Good Came Of It.”

  1. we are now renting our first house out because of a situation just like this, got in at a time too good to be true, tried to get out well, the year the glass slipper broke :) love how his legacy allowed you to move forward. what an amazing story!

    • We were hoping we would be able to come out ahead on the house or at least recoup some of the funds we put in on upgrades, but I guess being able to sell at all during that time was still a win. I doubt we would have been able to get someone to rent it – it wasn’t in the right location for that. What a stress. I’m sure for you too.

      I think my grandfather would be happy to know how much he helped us.

      Thanks for your kind words!

  2. Kathleen says:

    Your grandfather would have been so proud to know how he helped you and your family and brought you some relief after the painful loss of your mother.

    It never ceases to amaze me the struggles and hardships people face and overcome.

    • It was a very stressful time, but I’m glad I could focus on something other than grief while we moved. It was surely a difficult time though. Thanks for your thoughtful comment!

  3. IASoupMama says:

    What a difficult and bittersweet set of circumstances… Many hugs…

  4. carrie says:

    What a brutal time for you. Selling a house and losing your mother slowly. I’m glad you came out the other side at least with being able to sell your home, but I’m so sorry for you loss.

  5. Larks says:

    Oh, man. It’s so brutal when clouds have such game changing silver linings. And that comes across so clearly here.

    I’m sorry for your loss. And I’m sure your family are glad the money could have been used in the way it was. ((( hugs ))) Love the sparseness and honesty in this post.

  6. Kianwi says:

    So sad, yet such a blessing at the same time. So glad you were able to get out from under a house you didn’t want.

  7. A bittersweet story, well told. I’m always amazed when a painful experience also delivers a blessing. I’m sorry for your loss.

  8. Joe says:

    Money and death, why do those two things have to go together?

  9. Michelle, glad you were able to get out from under, although not at the ideal price. Real estate is so scary (to me)! But your grandfather’s hard work has lived so far beyond his time here, and I think that’s amazing — also that you are thoughtful enough to pay tribute to him in your writing.

  10. Jester Queen says:

    Wow. Your mother’s slow decline must have been so difficult to watch, but the gratitude in escaping that horrible mortgage couldn’t have been anything but a blessing. Upside down on a house is the worst thing. We were upside down on ours when we sold, but we had gone in expecting that and had been able to save to cover the difference (which was still cheaper than renting for the 5 years we lived there would have been). I’m glad the trustee was able to save the money for the heirs.

  11. Cathy Morton says:

    I have known many people in similar situations and it is such a tough thing to go through. So glad you made it out OK.

  12. So sorry that you had to go through both the death of your mother and taking a loss on your home investment. It is interesting how those two seemingly disparate things were tied together.

  13. That sucks. It’s horrible. So much for the American Dream, right? I am bracing for my parents’ health to decline, but I can’t never be ready. Thank you for telling your story.

  14. Wow! Life is brutal, complicated, and in the end generous. Ellen

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