My parents have always put their children and others first. They are the most giving of people.
I remember coming out of my bedroom one night when I was 18 to find a couple sitting at the dinner table eating the Spaghetti Bolognese that was left over from our dinner. They had fronted up at the church which happened to be across the road from our house, someone called my Dad and my Dad invited them inside. He fed them and found them a place to stay for the night.
These are the kinds of people that both my Mum and Dad are.
My Mum was a SAHM until I was 12. She then decided to enter the workforce as her youngest was just about to enter high school and the extra money would give her and Dad the life they had always dreamed of.
We lived in a beautiful home in the hills of Perth, they had a boat, my Dad held a very good job, only 2 out of the 5 children remained at home and they were happy.
When I was 17 my 3 older siblings had all located to the Northern Suburbs, a 50km drive from our family home, I was no longer in school so my parents decided to move house. We moved into my parent’s investment property and we sold the family home, a day that I will never forget.
When the home was first put on the market my friends would walk past and take down the For Sale sign, clearly I wasn’t the only one that didn’t want us to move.
We decided to live in this new house until Mum and Dad fell in love with something else. At this stage they had the home we lived in and 2 investment properties, 2 apartments. It wasn’t long before we spotted a home not far from where we were living and my parents put an offer in.
Over time due to different circumstances my parents sold both investment properties, they were now living very comfortably in the new family home and looking forward to their final working years.
My Dad was finding his workplace increasingly difficult due to certain office politics and regulations that were put in place, my Dad resigned to take on a role as a courier.
This is how it all started …
The next terrible and bizarre decision that my parents were to make was to purchase a café, not just any café, one in a very large chain. They both left their jobs to become business owners and hopefully become coffee connoisseurs.
The business may have worked however an extremely large fork was thrown into the road, my sister required medical attention, not just any medical attention, medical attention which would entail her flying to Vancouver, Canada and spending 6 months in a private rehabilitation centre. Medical attention which would entail my parents paying for me to fly her over as she was too sick to fly on her own, medical attention which would entail my parents flying over for family therapy and paying for my other sister to accompany them. Medical attention which was only meant to take 3 months but was extended to 6 as they didn’t realise just how sick my sister was.
My parents struggled as they tried to build their new business and pay to save my sister’s life.
They had to make the decision for my Dad to return to work as a courier as neither of them were making a wage from the café.
My parents re-financed and struggled to come up with the $15,000 per month rent for the café.
They kept their smiles through all of this.
6 months later my sister returned, hopefully a brand new girl.
My parents received the final bill for my sister’s 6 month stay … in excess of $200,000.
If they had not have made the decision to purchase a café at the age of 62, if they had to re-finance without the crippling business hanging over their heads, $200,000 would have been tough but definitely doable.
My parents struggled to keep their heads high, they struggled to accept the fact that everything they had worked so hard for was falling down around them.
After working 6 day weeks and extremely long hours they unfortunately were unable to get out on top. They were granted approval to access their superannuation early to help cover the expenses; even with this my parents had to make the emotional decision to declare bankruptcy.
This decision cost them everything, their spark for life, their pride and unfortunately their home.
My eldest sister made the decision to buy their home; thankfully she was in a position to do so. Now my parents are renting the home that they had worked so hard to buy and pay off.
I look at my parents each and every day and admire them. They both have their health; they have 5 healthy and happy children and 8 beautiful grandchildren.
I still have not come to terms with the fact that their lives have turned out this way, I struggle knowing they won’t have the retirement they one day had hoped they would have.
Life really sucks sometimes …