A Nova Scotia family is still digging out after their house was swallowed up by a sinkhole a year-and-a-half ago.

The house has been knocked down, but the mortgage is still standing, and they're still paying.

The Strickey family says their former home at 9 Mountain View Dr. in Falmouth was their dream home, but it turned into a nightmare.

“It's kind of remained a hellish journey for us,” said Chris Strickey.

Their house was swallowed by a sink hole in September 2017. Initially, Heather Strickey had thought someone was breaking in and as she huddled with her one daughter awaiting the arrival of police, a 9-1-1 operator broke the news. It wasn't a break-in, it was their home was collapsing.

They were optimistic at the time that insurance would cover them. They would later learn that their contents were covered, but not the home.

As a legal battle continues to resolve the claim, the Strickeys are still paying the mortgage on a home that no longer exists.

The family has faced on-going financial strain and an emotional struggle to cope with that fateful night and more loss.

Heather Strickey says the toughest part was losing her mother in-law days after learning their claim was denied.

“The darkest day would be when we lost Linda,” Heather Strickey said. “You've lost your home, you've lost a loved one, just having a few losses compounded on each other was definitely our darkest time and probably the second was seeing the house being ripped down.”

The family is getting some much needed support from their workplace, King’s- Edgehill School in Windsor.

After three moves, they moved back into the same residence on the school's campus that they called home when they were first married and had their two daughters.

“There's been very difficult, challenging times, but also absolutely put the spotlight on the kindness and the empathy of a lot of our friends, neighbours and colleagues,” said Chris Strickey. “It's been very positive; if there's any positive, that's been a positive in the whole situation.”

CTV News reached out to the insurance company and they responded with this e-mail:

“We do not publicly comment on the specifics of any claim, nor do we discuss matters currently under dispute, especially when a policy holder has chosen to be represented by legal counsel.”

The Strickeys say they will press on, but know unless insurance covers them, they will never be able to own their own home again.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Marie Adsett.