3 years ago I was living in sunny southern California. Ill never forget the phone call I received as my mom tried to play it off like it wasn't a big deal. She called to tell me she had stage 4 cancer! Wasn't sure what kind or how bad but we knew for sure it was cancer. Shortly after this phone call I decided to move back to Alabama to help take care of her. She was living 30 miles out of town in the middle of the country. I got a job working on a farm making crap money but I was able to take off work whenever I needed. When I first moved back, we spent 3-4 days a week in the hospital. When I was not working or not at the hospital or at a doctors appointment I was stuck 30 miles out of town in the middle of nowhere. Watching my mom in horrible shape, dying in front of my eyes.
At 25 years old, you never expect to be taking care of your mom like this. After a few month of being strong for her and the rest of the family, I began to change....I was the one who went to every doctors appointment, Every surgery, Took care of her all the time, Gave family updates etc. After months of this it gets tough on you. Obama care screwed my mom because they made her switch plans. When she switched she had a "pre existing condition" so her insurance more then doubled. I took up the slack even though I was making shit money. I was living with my mom but I was still paying on my house that I had bought 5 years prior. I came to a crossroad where I would have to keep paying on my house that I don't live in or help mom with bills and medical costs. That was a easy decision and a few months later I gave up my house and finalized a deed in lieu.
Few months later of seeing your mom suffer, sitting in the middle of no where with nothing to do and being strong for everyone else it takes a toll. I began to drink every night. I would drink on my way home from work every night so much that most of the time by the time I got home, I would already be drunk. I would get shit faced drunk, eat dinner, shower then pass out. I knew this was not the person I wanted to be but its the only way I knew how to deal with the things that were going on in my life at the moment. I was headed down the wrong path. I then decided that I needed a project car. Something that I could go out in the garage and wrench on every night. Something I could put a little money here and there in. I wanted to find the biggest POS I could find and that's when I came across my mustang. I would go out in the garage every night and work on it even if it was just to sand a body panel or something. I got made fun of for buying such a piece of shit and got told multiple times I was dumb and needed to take it to the scrap yard. People didn't know why I bought a car like that. All I saw was a long, drawn out project. Despite how shitty it was I saw what it could be. I saw Lots of hours but I saw garage therapy. It took 13 months to get it running. After that I was constantly doing something to it. There is something about going out into the garage, blasting music and turning wrenches. A lot of people will never understand that but its peaceful. Music blasting, tackling projects that you have never done. Maybe its the sense of accomplishment when your done. Maybe its just good alone time. I'm not sure but that mustang saved my life.
You can learn a lot of life lessons building a car. You will learn patience. You learn sacrifice. You will be fighting mad and want to set it on fire but somehow you get over it and keep working. You face challenges that you don't know how to overcome.
Somehow you teach yourself how to do it and get shit done. You learn that it takes A LOT of hard work, long hours an dedication. Building a car from scratch can keep your mind off of the crazy things going on around us. You will meet amazing people along the way. People who turn into friends and friends who turn into family.
It was about 2 years after I moved back home that I finally got the car figured out. We drove 6 hours to LS fest with the car not finished. The car didn't even have a motor or trans in the car the day before LS fest. We broke the motor in on the trailer the night before the race. The suspension wasn't set, car wasn't tuned and the motor had zero miles on it. We fought issues the first 5 passes, almost wrecking and putting the car into the wall. We figured out the suspension issues and went 8.29@163 on the limiter after fighting all the issues. I was in tears I was so happy. The hard work paid off but my mom wasn't able to be there for that event. The following weekend there was an event and my mom wanted to go. I didn't have the money to go but my buddy told me he would pay my gas and entry. I ended up breaking the class record with a 5.21@136 and won the event (winning enough money to pay him back and make the trip worth while) Long story short, life is a bitch. We all deal with things differently. That car has been there when nobody else is. It has made me believe in myself even when nobody else does and it has taught me to never give up. Victory might be right around the corner but you never know until you try and give it your all.