I am a Widow… It’s not an unusual situation for a woman in her 70’s to experience. I’m not the first and I won’t be the last, but every time it becomes a reality, it is painful.
Two short years prior to this happening, we had moved to another community in another state to be near my daughter. We were ready to down size and she found us a totally handicapped accessible one-story cottage on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Yes, I had heard all of the pundits take aim at Arkansas, but we had visited her on several occasions and realized it was a lovely little city.
My husband and I thought we had prepared quite well and had many of our ducks in a row. Unfortunately, the one thing we had done to cause this not to be true was move to a different state, sell our house in Colorado, buy a house and lose the funds we planned would be available for all these situations. Our equations had included two Social Security checks every month and now there was only one. It wasn’t an immediate concern but one that needed to be addressed in the near future.
Reaching financial security
We thought the answer was to refinance and lower the mortgage payment. But the brutal truth was that we had not paid long enough on this new residence to balance the debt to value and it would be almost unrealistic and impossible to refinance to a lower payment.
With my daughter and my financial adviser’s assistance we came to the conclusion that our only recourse was a reverse mortgage. I had seen the TV ads but did not at all understand how it worked.
I swear that the most important thing you should do is find a representative whom you like and trust. He walked us through and explained everything in minute detail.
The advantages now would be just what we needed and at my death could be easily handled by my daughter. She also would have options.
I was depressed
With that worry and concern behind me, my next task was to sit in my easy chair and watch the plethora of birds devour the seeds in the feeder. I spent hours at my computer, creating items that will probably never be read, but filling some of the hours of the day.
I swore to everyone that I was not depressed or lonely. I didn’t miss activities that I had enjoyed in the past. But after a couple of months walking through the cottage, touching items that prompted memories, I had to admit, I was depressed.
A few weeks later, my neighbor who worked from her home, popped in a for brief visit, to bring me something she had cooked or had plucked from her garden. She also had an invitation for me to join her, that very evening for a group she got together with every month. Professional women who met in one of their homes, sipped wine and swapped ideas.
I was reluctant, this threw a wrench into my sitting alone and watching TV, but she insisted, persisted and I agreed. The women shared hosting. Offering some of their best finger food and a comfy setting in one of the lovely homes that lined up around the lake.
After spending the majority of my career directing public relations for nonprofits, I felt I fit right in, and I was meeting women who also juggled a life and career.
I had been introduced as an author, which I was, and several shared that they liked to write but the family was tired of listening to their work. I was well aware of the problem.
Within a month, a group had organized to meet once a month at a favorite furniture store, where we had a selection of soft seats.
We each brought something, a portion of a longer piece we were working on, short pieces about a specific time in our life, poetry, humor, a plethora of words. We even shared where we might pursue publication of our creative endeavors. I always returned to the cottage invigorated and excited to prepare something original for the next week. I had friends who called, who stopped by, and who made me laugh.
– Isobel from Hot Springs, Arkansas
* The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the Finance of America Reverse (LLC).