Sunday, February 16, 2020

The little things that matter

For the past five months, one thing has remained constant: Little things matter a lot. They can be both positive and negative—moments, actions, memories, whatever—but they all matter. I don’t think I could have learned that until I went through this.

The negative things are probably the most obvious, but also the least significant. A photo, a random memory, reading some of my earlier Notes in this series, those things and more can make me cry. But I don’t actually need much help or encouragement to cry about losing Nigel because the searing pain of that continues, sometimes like a punch in the stomach, other times like a knife shoved through me, but the pain is always physical as well as emotional.

It’s the positive things that I tend to notice, partly because they’re so unexpected, but also because of how transformative they can be.

Some months ago, a relative was staying with me at the old house, and I was sitting in the lounge in a chair I didn’t normally sit in, absorbed by whatever I was doing (probably looking at my iPad). Off in the guest room, my sleeping relative was snoring, and in my distracted state I thought it was Nigel and for a few blissful seconds, my nightmare evaporated, and the pain and profound sadness was lifted, and things were as they were, as they should still have been.

That moment ended after only a few seconds, but it was the first time anything had completely transported me out of my grief and sadness, and, great, though brief, that it was, it also showed me for the first time that it was even possible to be lifted and transported out of my grief. It wasn’t the last time.

A few weeks ago, a dear long-time friend who lives in another part of the country sent me a couple plants to help me get my new garden started (the property has no landscaping, a subject in itself). It was a lovely and kind thing to do, but their arrival was very important to me for another reason, as I explained my friend in an email:
The plants arrived this morning in perfect condition. Better still, it gave a me a few minutes off: I spent a few minutes thinking about where I might plant them, looking out the windows for where they'd look best from inside as well as outside. It was the first time since I shifted in that I had a "normal" new house moment, and for those few minutes I was able to forget about WHY I'm in a new house. Thanks for that in particular—it was an even better gift, to be honest!
It was the second time I’d been transported out of my new reality, and while neither of these lasted more than a brief time, they both showed me it’s possible to exist outside of grief. It’s easy for me to forget that, which is why such small things matter so much.

Today I had more of the more negative sort, which is, of course, the most common by far. That doesn’t bother me because, as Nigel so often said, “no one ever died from crying.” Even so, there was something new even in that: For the first time, I felt better after crying. At the time, I felt like I’d been like a volcano releasing the magma that had been under pressure. It was tears, not lava, that was flowing, but the result was the same: Some pressure was released. While I don’t mind crying, today’s was, well, special, for lack of a better word.

Taken together, all those little things have been the first that have in any way helped me transcend my new reality, whether by allowing me to temporarily exist in a reality where the nightmare never happened, or where I could briefly be a typical owner of a new home, or where I could cry and actually feel better.

I don’t know when or why such little things happen, but I’m hoping that there are more of them, whether moments, actions, memories, whatever. They all matter, and I don’t think I could have learned that until I went through this. That little thing helps, too.

Thursday, February 06, 2020

My furbabies adapted

There’s an aspect to this new period in life I haven’t talked about in great detail: How the furbabies are adjusting. This is kind of odd, really, because one of the few things Nigel made me promise him was about that. “Promise me you’ll look after my babies,” he said. “Of course!”, I answered, maybe a little firmly. He then added, “I know you will; they’re your babies, too.”

And they are. I was worried how they’d adjust after Nigel died, so I went to great lengths to make sure they’d be okay. Among other things, when we brought Nigel home, I lifted up the dogs so they could sniff him and know he was gone. Studies have shown that dogs can recognise human faces, and remember them for years. Because of that, I knew they’d know it was him, and by sniffing him they’d know their time with him was over. It was the only thing I could think of to do because I was afraid that otherwise they’d be at the windows around 5:30 every afternoon, waiting for Nigel to come home and not understanding why he never did. It turned out they didn’t wait for him, so maybe my plan worked?

After everything was over, and everyone had left, the dogs saw me crying, and had mixed reactions. Jake looked concerned, while nothing much concerns Sunny. Leo had a sort of “WTF?” look on his face the first time I sobbed in front of him. They all got used to it.

Over time, and with more experience seeing my cry, they became nurturing. They snuggle up close to me if I’m in bed, or Leo will nuzzle me if I’m in my chair (he often sleeps in my lap). In general, all three dogs have chosen to be close to me wherever I am in the house, following me from room to room, almost as if they have to keep me in sight.

They coped well with my bringing them to Hamilton and back to Auckland so often, apart from Leo who tends to get car sick. But their reaction to their new home? That surprised even me.

Maybe it was because I didn’t bring them here until the movers had left, and the house was filled with “their” stuff. They sniffed, ran around, but otherwise settled extremely quickly. Since then, it’s as if they’ve always lived here, totally relaxed and peaceful. Whenever anyone in the family comes round, they all notice how at home the dogs are.

During this time of upheaval, emotional distress, and depression for me, the reaction of the furbabies is literally the ONE thing that makes me happy, because they’re so clearly happy and relaxed. It’s hard not to feel that way whenever I look at them.

And yet I’m neither happy nor relaxed, and not even watching them can change that. It’s kind of cute and touching when one or more of them tries to comfort me when I’m crying, but the truth is, it also makes me stop precisely because they’re so adorable. Maybe that’s their intent.

But the biggest reason this makes me happy is that it means I’m keeping my promise to Nigel: I’m looking after our babies, and they’re happy in their new home. I can no longer do anything for Nigel, but keeping this promise, while easy, is one thing I CAN still do, and that makes it matter to me quite a lot.

Our babies are happy. Promise kept.

Up top is a photo of Leo in his bed in our new home that I shared to Instagram early this evening. The photo at the bottom of the post is of Sunny and Jake all snuggled up together, which is a little unusual for them. I took it a week ago tonight, but being taken at night means it’s not as good quality as the photo of Leo. Nevertheless, equal time, and all that.

Monday, February 03, 2020

Under new skies

So, here I am in Hamilton. It’s way too early to call this the start of anything except, maybe, the start of the start. Despite all the work I’ve completed and gone through over the weeks, there’s so much yet to do, and all that is before I can truly start whatever it is this new life will become. So far, though, it’s been exactly what I expected, both good and bad.

Anyone could have predicted the parts I think are good. I’ve had impromptu visitors for the first time in years, I’ve been able to get together with family members several times since I moved in, and I even welcomed my first overnight guests. I can go see family whenever I want or need to, and none of them in Hamilton are more than 15 minutes away.

At the same time, whenever I need to go to a store—the supermarket, the home centre, whatever—it’s only a few minutes away, not 25 minutes like at the old place. That’s handy, but it also saves me a lot of time, especially when I’m in the middle of a project, and there are a lot of projects in a new house.

So, there are a lot of really good things about this move, things I really wanted to happen. I’m really glad about them.

And yet…

Hanging over all of this is the reason I moved here. While Nigel and I talked about moving to Hamilton “someday”, I doubt we’d be here together right now. I’m only in Hamilton because he’s not, and that reality rushes through me every day and sucks all the air from my life. The clouds block out the sun and make it hard to see the pretty day all around me.

In most respects, I’m pretty much just going through the motions, acting like I’m living rather than actually living. There’s nothing that anyone else can do about that—it’s something that I have to find my own way through, and I need time to do that.

After my first weekend in the new house, I hit a really bad patch, and I realised that there were two reasons for that. First, after all those months and all that work, I was finally able to to breathe. And second, that for the first time, I truly had time to properly grieve. And, did I ever—several crying fits later, and I reached another sort of stasis.

That everyday ordinariness is based on profound grief. That’s my reality, and it’s virtually all there is of me right now. In a real sense, I’m not Arthur, I’m his temporary robot replacement. The evidence of that is everywhere.

Over the past few months, I’ve shared a few photos of me, and whenever I’m “smiling”, it’s empty. “Fake” is too strong a word, but those smiles are barely more than painted on. My eyes show that. It’s something I realised only recently when I was looking at some current photos of me posted on Facebook.

This hollowness is one of those times when I’m faced with something I don’t like, but it’s also something I can’t do much about, and something I’m worried about. Will this end? How soon? Will it drive people away?

And yet…

The reason I’m aware of all this at all is because moving to Hamilton gave me the space—literally and figuratively—to figure it out. Understanding what’s happening to me is an important step toward whatever my new reality will be. All of which means that even the bad aspects are still made better by my move to Hamilton.

Here I am in Hamilton. I’m under new skies, but there are still clouds overhead, sometimes blocking out the sun. But I still believe that better days lie ahead, because moving to Hamilton has been exactly what I expected, and it’s the start of a start.

The photo above is of the sky above my house early this evening.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

The annual number increase happened

Last week I added another year to the tally. I didn’t care. Since I’d chosen to move out of my old house that day, there was never going to be time for a birthday, much less a birthday post, and being without real Internet since that day meant I’ve been somewhat limited in being able to post anything at all, much less special posts, however traditional they may have been.

So, my birthday last week was a bust, not doubt about it. The stress and strain of that day, along with the fact that I can’t deal with frustration right now, led to a bit of a meltdown—but my birthday was never part of all that. Still, in light of the way the day went, my missing my own birthday dinner was just in keeping with how badly the day went.

The next day—my birthday in US time—was the day I moved into my new house, which meant it started out a better day than the day before. Plus, I got the yummy birthday cake my mother-in-law had made for me.

This year, my birthday was pretty much a non-event. It was vastly overshadowed by the events around me, and this year I didn’t care about it, anyway. Maybe next year will be different, maybe not. Right now, I don’t care about that, either.

But maybe next year I’ll at least be able to blog about it.

Here’s my annual birthday selfie, this one taken on my birthday, as the movers were doing their thing:

The Illinois Route 61 sign is a public domain graphic available from Wikimedia Commons. The road runs in western Illinois (in the bulgey part of the state). I doubt I’ve even been on the road.

My Previous Birthday posts:

2019: Another 'Big Birthday'
2018: The annual increasing number: 59
2017: The annual increasing number: 58
2016: The annual increasing number: 57
2016: The annual increasing number: 57
2015: The annual increasing number: 56
2014: The annual increasing number: 55
2013: The annual increasing number: 54
2012: The annual increasing number
2011: The annual increasing number
2010: The annual increasing number
2009: Happy Birthday to Me…
2008: Another Birthday

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Change and no change

I’m in a new house in a new city, and so, in a totally different situation. And yet, things are both different and the same, something I think will be repeated many times in the months ahead as new experiences and routines take shape, even as the old ones linger. That’s just the way it works.

The move itself was stressful and exhausting, and gave me a sore back from both what I did and that much of the time I had nothing to do. I moved around a lot of boxes, often at a fast pace, and the rest of the time I sat around, often in places with no back to rest against. Combined, that meant backache.

The problems started on Monday when the packER showed up: It was supposed to be a team to pack up most of the house to be finished the following morning, and then the truck loaded. However, because there was only one person packing, all that was completed that day was packing most of the ground level (my office, with all our books, the laundry area with its massive cupboard, and the rumpus). That left, basically, the entire rest of the house to be packed on Tuesday, with the truck to be loaded the same day. That was always going to be a big ask.

Tuesday morning I checked Facebook as I got up and saw a notice that a couple people had posted on my timeline. “What for?!” I wondered to myself. People usually do that to check on me because of an earthquake or volcano in this part of the world, but in this case it was, of course, birthday wishes. I’d forgotten it was my birthday, and I didn’t care.

It wasn’t all that long after that I had a meltdown, triggered by my inability to get everything from the fridge and freezer into the chilly bin because, it turned out, I’d put two of the frozen blocks the wrong way round. After my meltdown, I went back into the kitchen and re-packed the chilly bin, emptying some bottles and jars that wouldn’t fit, and then rinsing them out. When I was finally done, and the chilly bin was latched closed, I took the newly empty bottles and jars up to the kerb and put them in my still unemptied recycling bin.

By this time, I was calm again—but still totally exhausted. I’d later describe the day as “the second-worst day of my life”, because that’s how bad it felt at the time. Dealing with the death of a close loved one and moving house are two of the most stressful things a person can do in life, and I chose to go through them so very close to each other, the second because of the first. Clearly I was a little bit nuts.

A team of four arrived a little after that, and they got right to work. I finished packing up Nigel’s office (having taken down his computer already), then I gathered together some bits and pieces as I found them, especially in the master bedroom, and put it all in the en suite so they could totally ignore that room.

My original plan had been to take a carload to Hamilton on Monday, but the packer didn’t finish until 6pm, and I was so dog tired I decided to stay in Auckland. That threw my plans totally off kilter. My brother in law stopped by on his way to a meeting and took me out for a birthday coffee, then we put some stuff in his car—some of the stuff I was going to take because I wanted to be able to find them as soon as I got to Hamilton.

I put stuff in my car to fill it up again, but I took stuff I’d planned on taking that day, not the stuff I’d planned on taking the day before, and that meant I left behind some things I actually needed or wanted right away, but didn’t have.

The movers finished packing the truck at 8pm, so I didn’t get to Hamilton until after 9.30pm that night. I hated the trip down because I loathe driving at night, but the worst part was that I missed my own birthday dinner.

The movers came pretty much on time Wednesday, a little while after I’d emptied my car. One of my sisters in law had taken the day off to help me, and arrived a little bit after me with some milk, and some ice to keep it cold until the fridge was brought in (we needed to be able to have coffee and tea!). Another sister in law came round to help when she finished work, and then my brother in law arrived, too. He noted that there was still room in the garage, and the movers could have put a whole bunch of boxes into there, so he moved them there for me. “You need to have the house more like your home,” he said, which was actually the entire reason I had the movers put all the boxes in the garage in the first place: I didn’t want to trip over boxes.

We all went over to my brother in law’s place for some fish and chips, and I finally got my birthday cake. My brother in law took me and the dogs back to my house, and stayed there the night so I wouldn’t have to be alone the first night. The dogs, meanwhile, ran around and sniffed everything, but with the house filled with our stuff, they settled right away. They especially loved running around—and peeing in—the yard. They had no trouble sleeping that night, though I did: I kept waking up for some reason.

Thursday I wasn’t originally going to leave the house, but I wanted to get baby gate to stop the dogs running to the front door—and potentially out of the house—every time someone came round. Nigel and used to have one that was metal, with an actual gate that swung open when unlatched, but that broke as we were moving from our previous house, so we threw it, and an extender, away.

I went to the home centre and bought a new gate, similar to the one we’d had before, calculating which one would fit the best the opening that I hadn’t actually measured (because I left the tape measure in Auckland) and not require semi-permanent installation. I brought it home and set it up—and it was too short. I’d need an extender, like the one we’d thrown away nearly three years earlier.

I also went to the supermarket to begin restocking the fridge and pantry.

Thursday evening, the sister in law who’d taken moving day off, stopped by for a visit after she finished work. She was my first impromptu visitor to the new house—and, I’m pretty sure, the first one since Nigel and I lived on Auckland’s North Shore.

Yesterday, Friday, another sister in law came to help me for the day, and Nigel’s mum came by, too. A lady arrived to give me a quote on window coverings, and the sister in law who was coming specifically to help me choose coverings arrived a few minutes later. We selected, and agreed on, options (though I’d have stuck to what I wanted if I wanted something different). They said it would take about four weeks.

The sister in law who is my decorating consultant helped the lady carry stuff out to her car, and then, she later said, she “pulled the dead husband card” to try and get the lady to do everything she can make sure my window coverings are installed in four weeks. She explained my story, that I’d recently lost my husband, and I’d just moved to Hamilton to be nearer to family, so I’d been through a lot already, and it was important that they tried to stick to the promised four weeks. My brother in law also played the widower card on my behalf when I put my offer in on this house, so this isn’t unprecedented. I think it works much better when someone uses it on my behalf, actually, and so far it’s helped, maybe because it’s been used so rarely.

After that, we went out and I got the extender for the baby gate (and it now fits perfectly), and something to give me some drawers in the en suite, since the vanity only has doors. After lunch, we went back at the house, we unpacked a little bit more, and then my sister in law headed back home.

My mother in law stayed with me for a while longer, and I ended up making us scrambled eggs and toast: AFTER I found the toaster. And a whisk. And I read the instructions for how to use my new induction hob (stovetop). So, appropriately enough, the first meal I made in my new house was one I made for me and my mother in law. Under the circumstances, it was about as elaborate as I could get.

Today Nigel’s cousin (my cousin in law?) came round to help me, and we ended up going to Auckland to pick up a carload of stuff, much of which is stuff I planned on having here already, mainly Nigel’s computer and mine, plus some other stuff. I feel better having it here, even through there’s a bit more still to move down here.

And that’s my story about moving. Now, the aftermath.

I didn’t feel weird being alone (apart from the dogs…) in my new house like I thought I would. Partly, I’ve simply been too tired to feel much, despite finally getting proper sleeps, especially because the dogs are with me again. But I also realised that I feel calm for the first time in months. That figures: All the hard work is now done, my stuff and my furbabies and I are now in Hamilton, close to a lot of family, and in a new location. Pressure, largely self-inflicted, is now gone.

Having said all that, I felt a little weird leaving the old house after it was all packed up and I was about to leave as its resident for the last time. I walked around to all the empty rooms, and first I talked to Nigel. “Well, bub, this is it,” I said. Then, for no particular reason, and despite the fact I don’t believe in anything supernatural, I talked to the house. I thanked it for giving us shelter, and safety, and a home, and I said my leaving wasn’t the house’s “fault”, it was because I couldn’t stay there any more. I just couldn’t.

I often said that everywhere I went in that house I saw Nigel—not literally, but merely because I’d seen in him in every room, some more than others, so I couldn’t pass a single spot without remembering him being there. That meant that every single day I was reminded of my great loss, and my sadness was renewed, in the sense of a wound being re-opened when a scab is ripped off. Those constant reminders of the life I’d lost, combined with my loneliness and isolation, meant leaving that house was the only rational thing to do (even if talking to the house perhaps wasn’t…).

So, the work of creating this change is now mostly done, and I’m slowly manoeuvring into position to begin whatever my new life will become. I’ve managed to bring about so much change in such a short period of time, and I feel really good about that. But the underlying sadness and depression of grief is still there, of course, and my learning to live with the reality of having lost the love of my life is nowhere near complete. But now, in my new home, I feel for the first time I might be able to begin to learn to live again. And that would make Nigel very, very happy. I hope one day it does that for me, too.

Yesterday, January 24, was the eleventh anniversary of the civil union ceremony and party that Nigel and I had (we also celebrated my fiftieth birthday that day because Nigel didn’t want to be the centre of attention all day). It was a good (and very) hot day, and while it was later legally superceded by our getting married, that civil union ceremony was the time we publicly made our committent to each other with family and friends watching, and it will always be special to me for that reason.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

That rollercoaster again

Back in October, I described this grieving process as being like a rollercoaster. While not a perfect analogy, it was proven to me yet again this week that it’s a pretty good one.

Yesterday was a very, very bad day. As usual, I couldn’t think of any particular reason for it, except for everything, of course. But miserable as I was, and in between crying fits, I worked out what was actually wrong, and it was something I mentioned Sunday when I said my inability to accomplish much packing was because it had “something to do with the finality of it all,” and that’s it exactly: Even though neither Nigel nor I loved this house, leaving it will mean ending the last vestige of the life Nigel and I had together, and, it turns out, that’s incredibly painful.

In a sense, it’s kind of like saying a final goodbye to Nigel, were it not for the fact that I carry him with me wherever I go: He has a permanent presence in my heart and my memories. However, this house was the last place we shared life together—our last memories, good and bad, were formed in this house, and it was even the place his body spent the final night before cremation. This house, then, doesn’t have emotional resonance by itself, but as a symbol of our life together, and the end of that life together, it’s incredibly powerful. The thought of leaving it makes me feel like I’m saying goodbye to Nigel all over again—and doing so day after day after day.

Today I drove a carload of stuff to my new house, and there was a moment I noticed something. I started driving up the Bombays (a hill range at the southern edge of Auckland, basically separating Auckland from the Waikato), and suddenly I felt better. This is because I know that where I’m going will make it possible for me to move forward, it will be the start of whatever my life after Nigel will become. It will be a place the dogs and I can just be, and also enjoy the company of family. It’s a very positive thing.

But to get to that positive thing, I’ve first had to endure some pretty bad times, and yesterday and this morning were among the worst. The truly good news for me is that those particularly bad days are drawing to a close. One week from today, the moving truck will leave this house with all the stuff I have. Part of us both will always be here, but the very best parts of us, those I managed to pack and move myself, in my heart.

This tale, then, has—or will have—a happy ending. I’m just not there, yet.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Rehoming myself

It always breaks my heart when I read about people needing to re-home beloved dogs or cats because their circumstances have changed. I’m about to “re-home” myself due to changed circumstances, but in this case it’s the best way to help heal my broken heart.

On Friday, I took formal ownership of my new house. It was the culmination of the work I’ve been doing over the past several months to lay the groundwork for my new life, and to fulfil Nigel’s wish that I’d be okay. As I put the key into the lock for the first time (photo above and, of course, I shared the photo on Facebook…), I was keenly aware that it was sixteen weeks to the day since Nigel died. And—I was okay.

In the days leading up to the event, I wondered how I’d react. Would I burst into tears? Would I just be sad? I knew I wouldn’t be happy, as such, due to the circumstances that lead me to buying the new house, but maybe I could be just a little glad? I kind of was, but more in the sense of being relieved that the long, hard, stressful work to get to that point was finally over. And that was okay, too.

There’s still one more hurdle to get over, though: My move into my new house. That, too, has been a big effort.

On Thursday, I accepted the quote from the movers, and the schedule is that they arrive to start packing on the Monday, come back the next morning to finish the packing, load the truck, and then take it to their depot for delivery at the new house on the morning of the third day. I’ve never actually heard of it being done that way, but I understand because, as the agent put it, “it’s a big job”.

Unlike cheaper movers, they carefully pack things like flatscreen TVs, mattresses, and even sofas in special protection. They also take away that special packaging at the new house to I don’t have to get rid of it. That, and the fact there’s so much to pack and move, is why it’ll take so long.

My new house is a three bedroom with an open plan lounge/kitchen/dining. My current house is four bedrooms, and has a rumpus room. The ground level is where the fourth bedroom (used as my office) and rumpus are, and I’ve seldom gone there since Nigel died—mainly just to laundry, which is also on that level. The reality, then, is that I’m basically living in a three bedroom house already.

I’d originally been looking for a larger house, one similar in size to my current one. I said at the time that Nigel and I worked too long and too hard for me to go backwards. And yet, I realised that what I was actually looking for was a house we’d have enjoyed together, and that wasn’t sensible: It would cost more (easily 10-15% more), and I’d end up looking after a big house that would have just me and the dogs there the vast majority of the time. I only need one office and one guest room now, so three bedrooms is enough. And, as it happens, this smaller house means a larger yard than any house I’d looked at in Hamilton. The dogs will thank me. Well, if they could talk, I’m sure they would.

However, I have furniture for a larger house, and not all of it will fit into the new one. My plan has always been to sell what I don’t need (or to try to…) and donate the rest, and for a couple years (at least) I was telling Nigel that I wanted to sell our sofas and matching chair for something smaller, but he seemed less interested in that than I was. It definitely will be too much for the new house.

I thought about selling some stuff before moving, but our next door neighbour pointed out that our area is “In the middle of nowhere”, so I’d have an easier time getting people to pick up stuff from Hamilton than here, and that means I’m more likely to actually sell stuff in Hamilton. I think she’s right—but it means I’ll have a lot of stuff to sort it out once I’m moved. I’m okay with that.

I said some time ago that the family and I packed up the garage, and I planned to go through and sort out the stuff in Hamilton. That was based on the plans I had at the time, that I’d put all that stuff into storage, but my plans changed a few times afterward. I also ended up deciding to delay going though things in the rest of the house, too: All the boxes (and a bit of excess furniture), will go into the garage to keep the new house as uncluttered as possible. And, waiting until I get to Hamilton before paring down will definitely be easier one box at a time than one whole room at a time.

There’s another reason this sorting later is a good idea: I’ve found it extremely difficult to actually deal with stuff in the house. I want to, and I’ve actually managed to pack up a bit, but it’s extremely hard for me. I’m not entirely sure why that is—probably something to do with the finality of it all. Whatever the cause, I’ve spent a lot of time not sorting and packing. If I’d been able to deal with stuff, I probably could have packed up the entire house and saved myself a fair bit in moving costs. That wasn’t meant to be, I guess. I spent my energies on getting a new home, instead, and I think that was a good tradeoff—stuff is just stuff, but a new house means the start of a new life.

My inability to pack stuff up has been a huge source of guilt and disappointment. Many people in mourning feel guilty about what they said/didn’t say to the person they’ve lost, or what they did/didn’t do. Not me. Nigel and I made sure we said everything we needed to say, so I’m okay with all that, but what I’ve done or not done since then, particularly to get ready to move? That’s a different story. I know that once I’m in my new house, all this guilt about how little I’ve done (from my perspective) to prepare for the actual move will be gone—though I’ll probably then feel guilty about not going through things fast enough! Some things don’t change.

So, as the fog from all this work finally lifts, I’m looking forward to having a smaller and easier to take care of house, one in which I’ll live in most of the space, all on one level, with plenty of room for the dogs to run around, and for me to begin whatever my new life will become. All that depended on me finding the right house, and now I have. In this case, “rehoming” myself was the just the biggest step in that work.

And it’s also the best way to help heal my broken heart.

My original Facebook caption for this photo: Having a little beverage to celebrate completing the purchase of my new house, because it’s what one does. In my case, thanks to medication, it’s “alcohol removed”, meaning it has a tiny amount (about as much as orange juice). But it’s also the nicest non-alcoholic bubbles I’ve yet found. The realtor gave me what looks like a nice bottle of tawny port to celebrate my new house; I’ll eventually even be able to have some! 😁