When Mike died 4.3 years ago I wanted to sell my house and move far, far away. I wanted to escape somewhere else because his death caused me to feel so disconnected from everything that was once familiar to me. The streets, the sidewalks, the bank, the coffee shop, the grocery store, the gas station, the restaurants … all of it. All these places made me feel nauseated because these were spots he used to go with me. Going alone to these lovely places reinforced Mike’s deadness time and time again. *Sigh.
Frequenting these ordinary shops and businesses without him pronounced his absence again and again and again. It was so incredibly hard to live in the shadows of our charmed life year after year. Continuing to live in our old neighborhood without him hurt my heart. Day after day, I felt his absence to the depths of me; and, then, a little further.
Often, I would sit alone in the parking lot crying in my car because I hated that he was dead and that I was left here to carry on living in a world where he used to be. And, sometimes, I *still* sigh as I enter our store without him. I *still* feel his absence everyday and I am not sure this will ever change. The truth is, I have forgotten how it feels to live without a dull aching and heaviness inside me… I wonder if there is ever a return to bliss once your Soul has been shattered by death? I do think I can and will be “happy” again, but I am not sure I will ever be as carefree as I once was. I suppose time will sort all this out.
Anyhow, regarding the move, initially, I wanted to be far away from all the usual spots that suddenly felt so uncomfortable and unsettling without him. But, I couldn’t leave. I had to stay because my kids had already lost their mother to grief; and, I could not let them also lose their familiar routines and surroundings too. So, I stayed for them. It was the right thing to do, but it was very, very hard for my psyche to exist in a space where my old life played out and now no longer existed. But, despite the emotional challenges, I would do it all over again. It was the right thing to do as a mother.
And, in the familiar setting where my old life played out I was able to grieve for all that I lost. I let my loss seep into my bones as I walked down the familiar streets of our neighbourhood. As I wandered through the aisles of our grocery store I allowed all the sadness his death caused to drip from me. I drove around our town and tears streamed from my eyes, day after day, as I said goodbye to the future we never got to live. It has been an excruciating 4.3 years, but I am better for allowing myself the time to properly say goodbye to my life here. I am now finally at a point in my grief where I can be at peace with the past and I have accepted that the future will not be the one I anticipated living. I can move now. I am done with this place. I have taken what I can from it and now there is nothing left here for me.
This weekend, after years of wanting to move, I finally listed my home. And, before the ink on the contract dried, I felt relieved to have made this big decision. The moment the lockbox was hung on my front door I felt free. For the first time in years, I feel like I can actually take a deep breath. And, it was only when I listed the house, that I realized how smothered I have been these last 4.3 years living here. I can’t explain how liberating this decision has been for me. I feel it in my bones, this is absolutely the right decision for me. It is time to move. The time has come to complete my last first.