Moving from the apartment where I became widowed has had a lot of competing emotions. Taking down the photos that Clayton hung up and seeing just my dog Roan standing in our empty apartment hit me hard. Real life becomes more real in some pretty harsh, unexpected waves and ways. Worn out carpet where Clayton passed from room to room and partially painted walls because, as he would say:
“No one will see it so why bother to paint it?”
What we didn’t know was that all those little things would one day be long lost messages that would return the memories to me. Who knew an apartment could speak such volumes so loudly?
Some of the messages made me smile. Some of the messages made me cry and some of the messages hit home in ways I didn’t expect. Unpacking in this new home, I found his interior design portfolio and in it I found the note I left him wishing him luck on his first day of work. I wouldn’t have had to write that note had we not moved here. That’s still something I struggle letting go of. I could hold back and not share that I still feel guilty we moved here. I’ve told myself time and time again that it was fate and not my fault. It was the infection and the poorly monitored medication increases by the doctors that his liver couldn’t handle but, to be honest, part of me still thinks if we didn’t move for my job then Clayton wouldn’t have gotten that infection to begin with.
At the end of the day I know that it wasn’t my fault but part of my growing through grief is authentically sharing the feelings as they come regardless if they are actually true. I found that having an open conversation with myself helps me validate my feelings (which I need) and allows me to weed through the thoughts that really have no basis in truths. The fact that I choose to focus on is that Clayton kept my note. He saved that message, which made its way back to me after all these years to remind me that we moved here together. Although things didn’t unfold as we had hoped, I still know in my heart that we were living life together. It’s those memories I need to focus on. It’s those messages that hold the real truth. It has taken me time but I’ve learned to filter out the fiction…