Last Saturday I wrote about staying in place after losing a spouse or significant other. It isn’t easy to stay in a home that looks the same to everyone else, but doesn’t feel the same to the one who remains in that space alone.
But many choose to remain in place, attempting to create a new version of their previous life one season at a time. I think of my life a year ago and I know I’ve come a long way emotionally. Interestingly, I’ve recently found myself wanting to spend more time at home quietly making changes in a place that I now claim as my own.
I recall that moment when I truly understood that this home was mine and mine alone. It was overwhelming. This home was mine in which to remain, or I could go wherever I wished to. I could flee to the Florida Keys, a place that was very special to Rich and I. I could pack up and travel up I-95 North to someplace in New Jersey, my home state, and his.
There were so many options.
It’s been nearly a year and a half since my life changed so unexpectedly and it’s only now that I’m able to conjure the energy to make those changes that announce that this place is now truly my own. I find myself making changes that honor the intended plans that Rich and I made not so long ago as a long-time couple who were looking to start a new life in an easier place.
In hitting the refresh button, I began with having our large lanai (screened living area) floor painted. It was a shade of cold gray that I’d never found appealing. I’d chosen a warm taupe shade I preferred to replace it. But there was a challenge. Finding just the right type of paint to cover the cement floor was tricky, and for some reason, each time a coat was applied, the outdoor temperature would drop and a rain storm would inevitably float in, flushing away each fresh layer of paint.
But I accepted the challenge and so did my painter. Finally, after battling the weather and various product, the paint finally chose to adhere. The painter was so sorry about the weeks of uncertainty he didn’t want to charge me. But realizing that he’d faced situations and conditions beyond his control, I paid him more than he’d quoted. When others might have bailed, he stayed true, even calling an outside consultant to advise at one point.
I have to interject a bit of metaphysical humor here. During this process, I’d had a zoom reading with a medium/psychic (a topic for more posts). After a dramatic introduction which I will keep private for now, she asked, “What’s going on in your house? You’re having work done, but it’s going round in circles.”
I’d not shared my lanai painting “woes” on-line with anyone out of respect for my painter. She told me that Rich was aware of the situation and just encouraged me to keep on. Rich loved that outside area and I knew he wished the best for me as I tried to make improvements. She also asked about all the manila folders surrounding me. Just before our Zoom meeting I’d been hopelessly immersed in trying to organize myself armed with those folders. Rich conveyed I was doing a good job and to carry on. No matter what you think of psychics or mediums, one has to admit this was more than accurate, and I found it amazingly reassuring. To each his or her own; whatever it takes to get through.
I carried on in the spirit that we don’t always have the answers, and we never know where and how we will get the incentive and encouragement to keep on going even when it seems we are just growing around in circles. Eventually we will find a way forward.
Added Note: Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day, one of Rich’s favorite times to shine. I missed his positive fun-loving spirit and I had “my moments” but I’m fortunate to have many supportive people around me, it helps, and my ever-changing haven in which to “hide”. I also want to extend my good wishes to all those who are attending Camp Widow in Tampa, FL this weekend. I hope it’s a healing experience for all who present and attend. It is an honor to post for Widow’s Voice each Saturday. And on a lighter note, as a UCONN alum, I want to say bring on the March win-ds and let’s March in to Madness. Go Huskies, Men and Women. Always Dance, when you get the chance! May the best teams win.