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Sylvia's five-bedroom house was overflowing with clothes, knickknacks and toys. So Suze came up with a plan for her to downsize her belongings and make some cash—an emergency estate sale. "That's the quickest way to get rid of things that are valuable," Suze says.

When the sale was over, Sylvia had made a total of $13,000! The money will help to cover the basic necessities for her family. "She needs to put it in a savings account. She needs it for first and last month deposit on an apartment, security deposit, money to buy food for the children, to pay the electricity and keep her life going in that way," Suze says.

In addition to the $13,000 from the sale, $2,000 per month from Social Security and the $1,000 per month from her brother-in-law Andy are helping Sylvia to get on her feet. "She's applying for jobs at haircutting salons. She doesn't care if she has to sweep the floor," Suze says. "She's going to be just fine."

Now that she is on her way to becoming financially stable, Sylvia says she feels like she has her voice back. "Before I felt like I wasn't being myself. I was empty inside," Sylvia says. "The voice is who you are, and you can't change that. I was being changed, but now I'm myself."

Sylvia plans to take her children to counseling in order to help them deal with everything they have gone through. Suze says she hopes the situation will be a learning experience for the kids. "Nothing happens that we can't learn from and benefit from and help change the world with. Hopefully for those children, they will learn to never let themselves get in a situation or a relationship for themselves [like] what they saw for their mother. They can overcome this," Suze says.

"She is strong," Suze says. "She now knows it, but she didn't know it before."
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FROM: Suicide, Lies, Debt: A Suburban Nightmare
Published on March 14, 2008

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