I am writing this letter to let you understand what I have been through.
To Wells Fargo – I know that you are a nameless, faceless entity and there is no one person who will read this or care or feel any sense of responsibility. But I need to write it. You have no idea the pain you have caused me and I know that this pain is multiplied by the thousands in others.
Last July 6th my home was sold at auction at the Chatham County courthouse. I did not know this was going to happen. I didn’t know that it did happen until the next evening when I happened to call Wells Fargo to check in with the loss mitigation department and the lady I spoke to told me my home had been sold. When I got home later that evening there was a note on my front door from the investors who had bought my home. I did not expect this because when I spoke to a lady at Wells Fargo on June 23rd about not qualifying for the HAM program, I told her that I could make my payments and all we needed to do was to figure out a way to catch up the past due amount. She said “No problem”; she would reschedule the foreclosure sale by ten days (to July 16th) so that we could look at some other options for me to come current with my mortgage.” I believed her. And, I know she did this because two other people at WF have since told me that they could see the e-mail from her requesting the sale be rescheduled. If I had known the sale was going to go forward, I could have borrowed money from my boss to pay the past due amount and prevent it. He has told me he would have loaned me the money.
I will be typing up the sequence of events that led to this in a separate document. I want to try to focus on my feelings in this letter.
I felt numb with shock, sick to my stomach and then an overwhelming sense of panic. Over the next two months as I worked (unsuccessfully) to try to repurchase my home, I was depressed, crying and sometimes considered suicide. Some days I spent all day in bed, sleeping to escape the nightmare situation. Some days I spent all day at work crying. Some days I had to leave work early because I couldn’t stop crying. I still have panic attacks where I feel like I can’t breathe.
This has left lasting trauma with me. Can you imagine waking up one day to find that the house you thought was yours, the home you had made, was no longer yours and you had to leave it? I cannot express the feeling of insecurity, loss and panic I still have.
That house was my home for 11 years, for over one fifth of my life. I spent hundreds of hours taking it from a boring, bland house to a warm, beautiful home. I painted, repaired and cleaned and I replaced fixtures all through the house. I spent thousands of dollars replacing the vinyl and carpet with tile and wood flooring. I spent hundreds of hours working in the yard, landscaping and planting trees, bushes and flowers everywhere. That house was a work of love, aside from my children, my greatest work of love. Now, I don’t have a house to work on or a yard to work in. Sometimes I can’t even watch Home Depot commercials because they make me feel so bad. I feel intense jealousy of people who own their homes. I can’t watch home improvement shows on television. I feel such a sense of loss and hopelessness, of no future. I can’t even begin to bring myself to change my address on anything – bank accounts, credit cards, etc. because it hurts so much to think I don’t live at that address anymore.
I don’t know how I will get through this spring. I love to plant, to garden. I love to plan what I’m going to plant where and to smell the dirt when I plant and to see the results of my labors. It is unbearable to think that I will miss seeing and smelling the jasmine on the back fence outside my bedroom. I would leave the bedroom door open at night in May and June to smell the jasmine and the gardenias while I fell asleep and when I woke up. I can’t believe someone else will see my umbrella rose trellis with the pink miniature climbing roses. And, I miss all of the cut flowers I could have in the house – especially the roses. I worry about the plants and the trees. What if they didn’t get enough water and since no one lived there to water them, they died. What if whoever buys the house doesn’t know or care about plants and they let them die.
That house was the only home my youngest son had ever known; we moved there when he was one year old. The street we lived on was a small cul-de-sac where all the families knew each other. We had regular neighborhood parties and events like movie night, sports contests, Easter egg hunts. My sons grew up with several friends in that small neighborhood. Everyone watched out for each other’s children and you fed who ever showed up at your table for lunch or dinner. The kids ran from house to house to play. You might not have known whose house your child was at but you knew he was at a neighbor’s and you didn’t worry about him. They all went to the school bus stop on the corner and rode the same bus to the same school. And, the adults all helped each other when help was needed. One elderly couple in the neighborhood had both had health problems at the same time and all the other neighbors took turns making them dinner each night for several weeks. There was a sense of belonging and security for all of us. I can never give this back to my children and I may never have it again either. I feel I have let my kids down so much. I can’t even begin to express the guilt I feel about this.
My mom is my only family left. My dad and my brother died several years ago (my brother died in that house). She lives by herself but she is severely handicapped by arthritis and in a wheelchair all the time. We had made my house somewhat handicapped accessible by installing a wooden ramp in the garage, widening the door to one bathroom and installing a grab bar next to the toilet. I can’t do these things in my rental house. She can’t come to my house – not for Thanksgiving or for Christmas. She tries very hard to be independent but it is getting harder and harder for her. She will need to go into a nursing home at some point. I could have slightly remodeled my house to have her live there instead but now I don’t have any option like that. And, I think about how I am letting her down, how ashamed I am to have disappointed my father because he always told me that my job after he died would be to take care of her.
I even feel that I have let my dog down. The home I lost had a fenced yard and we could just open the back door and she could run around the yard or rest in the sun and smell everything. Now, she can only go outside on a leash. She can’t chase squirrels, our cats or birds. I feel so guilty that she has lost all of this.
To the investors that bought my house – I realize that you two are the faces of what happened to me; that Wells Fargo doesn’t have a face I can blame or hate. I also understand that people rarely do things to others, that they do things for themselves. I know that you will rationalize what you did by saying that you are investors, this was nothing personal, this is just business for you (I remember you telling me that). And, I’m sure you tell yourselves that if you hadn’t bought my house at that auction, someone else would have. I have to tell you that the way you make your living is crappy. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Maybe I have just been lucky enough to always have worked in an industry (homebuilding) where we build something for someone, make a dream come true for them. But, I know enough about myself that I know I couldn’t do your job. The profit would not be worth the shame for me. I couldn’t make money by taking something so precious from someone. I hate you both. This has been my mantra for several months – I say over and over again “I hate you”. I am not at all a vengeful person and I can’t think of anyone else I would say I hate but I am having a very difficult time getting past my feelings of hatred for you. I have wished you would die. I don’t wish you would die anymore. Now I wish that somehow you would lose something precious to you, out of the blue; something so precious that it feels like the death of a loved one so you could feel something like the pain I’ve felt. I hate you and what you have done to me so much. I hope you rot in hell for all you have done to people.
I have thought many times of killing myself. Sometimes right after I lost the house, I would think that maybe if I killed myself and did it the right way so the insurance company didn’t know it was suicide, my kids could take my life insurance proceeds and buy the house back. Now, I think about getting into the house and killing myself there so that you would know why I did it. Last Friday I was so upset that I couldn’t go to work again. I thought all day about driving myself to the emergency room and telling the people there that I was suicidal. I didn’t do it because I don’t want to scare my kids or to leave them alone. And, I worry constantly that I will lose my job because of my depression and then we will be homeless. I have no husband and I have no relatives to help me. I am not an unbalanced person. I am by nature analytical, not very emotional and don’t fall apart easily. I have never had anything affect me like this has. Even losing my father and my brother didn’t affect me in exactly this way.
My doctor has explained to me that since she has counseled rape victims in the past, she knows that all the guilt I feel, the depression, the vulnerability, the sense of hopelessness are feelings of a victim and that I need to get past feeling like a victim and start feeling mad. I never understood before why rape victims would want to commit suicide and why they don’t want to prosecute and face their attacker. I understand now. Many people have pushed me for months to file suit against Wells Fargo; I haven’t been able to go forward with that. I don’t know if I can bear reliving all of this again. And, I don’t know if I can handle the intense anger and maybe further depression. I have tried to move on and I thought I was but I wasn’t. I finally felt like I could write this letter for the first time within the past few days. I don’t know if this will help me move on but I don’t know what else to do. Maybe this will bring me some peace. I hope so because I really don’t know how else I will find it again. That house was my sanctuary, my serenity, it was the center of my life, it was the stability I gave to my kids, it was my creation, it was me. And, it’s gone. How do I ever get that back?