Big fat dirty tears of despair are running down my face. It’s the kind of ugly cry that I never want to be seen in public, yet here I am. Standing in the Community Welfare Office with my husband, trying to figure out how we will manage while he’s temporarily laid off over the Summer months. The Welfare Officer shifts in her seat, embarrassed. I turn and push the buggy away from the window that separates (protects) the staff from the public. Eyes sympathetically follow me as I wrestle a tissue out of my pocket, push the buggy with our 2 year old with one hand and blow. My pregnant bump on show, my hair askew, and tears streaming down my face.
Himself has turned a deep shade of cerise, bordering on purple. We had no choice but to look for help and this feels like a betrayal of everything he believes in. He wants to provide for us, but can’t.
‘Don’t tell anybody about this’ he whispers fiercely once he’s finished at the hatch. He’s angry; not with me for crying, he feels like crying himself I’m sure. More angry with the world. The anger nearly spills over to rage when we leave the bank later on that day after imploring them to be patient with the mortgage.
As the toddler snoozes in the car oblivious to the world around them, I retreat into my thoughts as his unspoken ire hangs like a storm cloud between us.
The baby kicks defiantly, startling me out of my daydream.
‘If only the bank had given us back our tracker mortgage last year when they were meant to.’ I say tentatively, trying to break the ice but instead contributing more fuel to the smoldering fire he is carrying around.
Determinedly he stares down the road ahead and says ‘Best not talk to me right now, I can’t handle this’.
This little life inside of me, just 3 months from taking their first breath is depending on me to hold it together. The toddler’s gentle snores in the background are like an insult to our mounting stress.
‘I’m buying a Lotto ticket on the way home,’ I say, ‘I need to have good dreams tonight.’ But we needed milk instead and my dreams that night feel like they are drowning me, just like our money worries.
I wrote the piece above nearly 6 years ago now at a time when we were struggling with the mortgage. The fact that we had been refused the return to our tracker mortgage a year previously was making matters worse for us. It was an extremely dark time, a time when I could have been getting excited about the soon-to-be born baby, but where I felt smothered by the worry about money and the future.
Yesterday (4th April 2017) we got an update from the bank and as promised I’m sharing it with you. It has been over 3 months since they wrote to us to tell us they were putting us back on our tracker rate, 6 and a half years after they first refused it to us. They’ve still not fixed the estimated €40,000 (forty thousand Euro) overcharge on the mortgage that they expect us to pay interest on. We’ve not been offered any compensation. They’ve not redressed our mortgage account. I’ve scanned it and I’m posting it below so that you can draw your own conclusions from the letter we, and hundreds of other affected customers, received in April (not in March, apparently being written to in March is vastly different to receiving a letter in March).
More tears have been shed. It’s nearly 7 years and counting now. We just want to move on.