This is a guest post by my husband Chris, reflecting on our journey through the mire of losing our home to toxic mold.
What’s happened to you is not fair. Whatever it is, a diagnosis, the way someone treated you, perhaps betrayed you, someone in authority made an unfair decision, it’s not fair and you’re hurting. And you probably tried to do everything right.
We did. We saved money, bought a house, made sure it was a sound investment, made wise decisions. We bought a home in a good neighborhood, little crime, wonderful people who lived around us. And one day we found ourselves faced with the choice of staying in our home and watching our children get sicker or getting out.
But it wasn't fair.
It wasn't fair that we had to leave it all behind. It wasn't fair that we did not one but two remediations to make the house “clean” again. It wasn't fair that my son couldn't walk without falling down because of the constant vertigo. It wasn't fair that we lost our 2 dogs in the process.
On and on the unfairness went, swirling like water down a drain.
The computers, the books I’d kept since I was a child, the rare Dean Koontz writing book, the pictures, videos, computers, iPods—it wasn’t fair that we had to close the door and leave all that stuff behind. Can’t we clean it? Can’t we just take that guitar I bought in high school?
Our insurance company didn't cover mold. We had paid the premium for a couple of decades and never had one claim.
So we sought a legal remedy. Not to get revenge, but to get relief. This wouldn't make it fair, but it would at least make things equitable. It would make them right. We had a team of lawyers willing to take the case on contingency. Both the builder and the first remediator made major errors. We had the documentation, we had the proof that things weren't fair.
But the legal action didn't work. A clause in the builder’s insurance let him off the hook. As for the remediator, his business was a dry well.
Slowly it became clear there would be no justice. This intensified the sadness and sorrow and anger. We felt violated and vulnerable and adrift on the Unfair Sea.
This is when I learned a hard lesson—and it takes a person to a different side of the brain, another door to the soul. As long as I focused on what I had lost and how unfair things were, I was looking in a rear view mirror and missing the road ahead.
It’s normal to want to hang onto my stuff. It’s understandable that I want things to be fair. But there comes a point where I realized that with every choice I made, I was moving in one of two directions: toward life or toward something less.
It was agonizing at the time to leave our things, our home, the stuff we had accumulated. Now, five years later, with improving health it’s much easier to see. If I knew then what our choices would move us toward, it would have made it easier—but the choice is difficult in the moment.
If there were a fire in the house, there’s no question we would have run. If there were a tsunami wave heading for us, we would headed for the hills, no question. But because we couldn't see our enemy, we didn't realize the danger.
Fires aren't fair. Floods aren't fair. They destroy everything in their path. Mold and its effects on a family are not fair. But moving your eyes from the rear view to the road ahead helps in choosing life. And it’s not just one choice, but many, step by step, that will lead you forward.