Janice's Story:

I walked into my office that day as if it was any other day, said hi to co-workers along the way, stopped to chat with a few and then sat down at my desk eager to dig into the pile of paperwork I needed to get through.  I was thinking as I sorted through the mound on my desk that life was pretty good. I had left my husband and had bought a new house for the kids and I just 6 months earlier. I was navigating quite successfully in my new single life and I was enjoying my freedom and space. My ex and I were getting along fairly well and I had a job that paid well and I enjoyed. Not Bad! My thoughts were quickly interrupted when my boss turned the corner and asked me to meet with him. I followed him into the conference room and in one foul swoop my good paying job that I enjoyed was gone. They were moving my position overseas. However, Lucky me, since I had been with the company for 7 years they had a great severance package for me. Still, I was devastated. I went home and sat on my couch and thought about what was going to be next. I no longer had the income I needed to support the new single life with my kids I had grown to love. 

Over the next few years I did everything I could to keep things together. I worked hard and was licensed as a mortgage agent and struggled to keep commission income coming in the door. It was 2010 and the mortgage market in our area was difficult at best. Agents who had been in the mortgage market for years were starving and I really didn’t stand a chance. I decided to go back to school. 

I wanted to be in career where I could get my paycheck again. I decided in these difficult social times the best thing for me to do was become a social worker. I continued to work on mortgages as I could but put my heart and soul into school. I graduated with honors and with a great new job thought I was back on track. 

I came home from work about 3 weeks after starting my new job as one of the housing co-ordinators for a local social service agency and opened my front door to black smoke billowing out at me. My house was on fire. I called the fire department and they came and put it out, however the house was destroyed. The fire had started in the basement. My fresh start was burned beyond recognition. I had lost almost everything. How could this happen I had just gotten things back on track? Chaos was the order for the next few weeks. To top it all off 3 weeks after the fire I went to work and was informed the region had cut funding for our housing program and because I was the last one hired, unfortunately I was first one laid off. There I was again, no job after all that hard work and living in a 2 bedroom hotel with 4 kids. 

Six months and a nightmare later the kids and I moved back into our home. It was beautiful, fully renovated and felt like another fresh start. I continued to apply for work and work whatever jobs I could to keep the bills paid. I made sure the insurance funds I received were used wisely so I could keep things afloat for as long as possible as I was still unemployed. I worked odd jobs like delivering pizza to make ends meet while I applied for anything that I could make work.  I even rented out my basement to cover the bills. Things were difficult but I was making it work. 

One year after moving back into my newly renovated home another house fire robbed us of everything.  I was in the emergency with my 13 year old who had, with my 10 year old son, been in a car accident 3 days earlier. I received a phone call from a friend and neighbour that the fire department was at my house. I told her it must be something going on nearby. Shortly after that call I received a call from the fire department saying they were at my property and my house was on fire. My exact response was “that’s not possible my house has already burned down”.  The apologetic fire chief told me he knew that he was there 2 years ago and asked me to come home as soon as possible. I left my son in the care of a nurse who was also a family member  Cont'd At Right...


called my ex-husband to meet them at the hospital and went home to find the back half of my house in flames. Again I was devastated. At this point I just wanted to crawl into a hole and pretend the world no longer existed. I sat and cried on my front lawn.

The thought of going back to the hotel was overwhelming for me. I couldn’t live that way again. No kitchen, take-out food all the time, and no space for any of us. My good friend opened up her house for my kids and I to stay. Over the next few weeks I found myself lost often. I would drive and end up going in the wrong directions completely, I couldn’t remember anything and I had no clue how to put my life back together. I was more than depressed I was defeated.  I needed a plan, I needed to start from scratch……Again!

I decided at that point I wasn’t going to wait around for a job anymore. I had applied and done everything I could to gain employment in the Niagara region and it wasn’t going to happen for me at this time. I decided it was time to do what I always wanted to do with my career but never had the money or time to accomplish. I enrolled in the licensing courses for Real Estate. 

Over the next six months I changed everything about my life. I stopped feeling sorry for myself and started to take control. Enough was enough, no one could make this change but me. I was determined. I completed my Real Estate courses and paid all the licensing fees. I had to borrow money to do it but I did it. I sold my burnt down house to a developer and used that money and the insurance money to buy the kids and I a new home. I was blessed to find a beautiful home in my budget that is absolutely perfect for us. 

Settled into our home it was time to focus on my career. I joined Royal Lepage Niagara Real Estate Center and got to work.  I knew it wasn’t going to be easy and Real Estate is a hard profession but I was determined to make it work. 

As the money started to come in I began to believe that it was all worth it. I have an amazing home, a job I love, an income that supports my family, and I did it with the help and support of my incredible friends along the way. Without the support of my friends I never would have been able to break through to other side. My friends are my only family in the area and I owe my life to them.

My kids are happy. They have learned resilience. Since things have balanced out and come back together I have had the opportunity to take Brandon to Cuba, Kaitlyn to Disney and I will be taking Aiden to Cuba shortly. We have learned the value of working together as a family unit to overcome the devastation. We are truly blessed. We are all healthy, we are all happy and all things have turned out in our favor. When I think of what could have been and how much worse things could have become I am forever grateful. 

Find out more about Janice by visiting her website, connecting with her on FacebookLinkedIn


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