Lillie’s home was built in 1947. It has been a place of refuge for her family, and it was passed down to Lillie when her mother passed away. Lillie, who just turned 82 and suffers from osteoarthritis, has a hard time doing what she likes best, gardening. Determined to keep moving, Lillie tends to pots full of plants on the side of her home that are a bit easier for her to reach.
Just as Lillie’s body is growing older and weaker, so is Lillie’s home. Lillie lives on around $700.00 a month in Social Security benefits and that is not enough to make the repairs needed to replace the sagging floors and the old carpeting that covers them. Those same sagging floors are causing the kitchen sink to pull away from the wall and the tile that used to brighten the back splash is now slowly loosening and falling away.
Lillie says the house is damp because there was a huge wildfire that ravaged the area several years ago and in an effort to stop the fire, brush was pushed into a nearby creek. The water in the creek was diverted towards her property.
Lillie, who was born in GA, was married to a military veteran who passed away many years ago. Lillie has outlived most of her siblings and some of her own children. One of Lillie’s daughters, who lives about 45 minutes away, does all she can to help, but she has her own life challenges.
While waiting for the Ellens or Oprahs to step forward with donations for materials for projects like this, we also have to have licensed contractors who will figure out how to permanently fix those sagging floors so Lillie can walk in her own home without a fear of falling. I’m talking about some serious sagging going on in that house! She also needs someone to help her install a drainage field that will divert the water from going under her home and causing so much dampness. Did I mention that of the $700.00 in income she pays almost $300.00 of that in electricity, water, and sewage each month for her 1900 sq ft house?
You may ask, “Why doesn’t she just find another place to live?” Well, I did ask. Her reply was that this is her home and it was given to her by her mother. It is important to Lillie to spend the rest of her life in this house. Will this mindset change with the next generation? I really believe that when it’s time for me to give up my home and move into an apartment that I will be okay with that, but I can’t predict the future. I can only hope that I learn from the stories I hear on a daily basis.
The good news? Shepherd of the Woods Lutheran Church has offered the manpower and materials to build a huge wheelchair ramp for Lillie in the next few weeks. At least she now looks forward to getting outside safely to tend her flowers without the worry of stairs!