}

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Highs and Lows are predicted

The process of losing someone important to us can be described many ways. I’ve called it a rollercoaster, but it’s also like a weather forecast: There will be highs and there will be lows, but the specifics—like if they’ll give good or bad weather, or even when they’ll arrive—are all guesswork, things no one can ever know for sure. The same is true of the grieving process, something that I’ve once again demonstrated.

Last week, I talked about good things that happened as well as some things I’ve learned along this journey. That’s must’ve been some sort of cue, like a rain dance or something, because the next day it all came crashing down around me.

I’d arranged for my sister-in-law and her two sons to come round on Saturday to help me stage the house for sale. She’s had experience doing that, and since I’m not allowed to do anything too strenuous, I knew I’d need help to get stuff moved. It was the logical solution.

We began looking around, and she offered suggestions for paring down the lounge, which I wasn’t too keen on taking because I’d still have to live here while the house was on the market. That was one thing, but what happened next shook me. We got to my office and suddenly I froze: “I can’t do this,” I told them.

This hit me hard because it was so very unexpected, and I couldn’t figure out what caused it. After all, I have no particular affection for this house, and my office was just my stuff, no real connection to Nigel. It should have been easy.

Only later did I realise what the problem was: I may not have attachment to this house—the building—but paring down and getting stuff out of here meant disassembling our HOME, something that obviously goes way beyond the building. It turned out that I wasn’t emotionally ready for it. On the plus side, I did get a nice afternoon just visiting with my sister-in-law and nephews.

I was planning to leave for Hamilton on Sunday to spend a few days with family, and after what happened Saturday, I briefly considered cancelling. Instead, I went anyway. I think I knew that I needed to be around family, and also away from what was upsetting me.

When I arrived, the first thing I said to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, the folks I stay with when I come to Hamilton, was “I’m here to use you”. I then told them about what had happened, and they knew that I needed to be with family.

We later went to some real estate open homes because I was still considering selling the house I live in to start the process of buying a house in Hamilton, rather than building. But that wasn’t clear sailing, with timing a problem. It was likely that all my stuff would need to go into storage, and I’d need to stay at my brother-in-law’s house for maybe weeks or months, though fewer than if I’d built a new place according to the original plan. Still, building wasn’t off the agenda.

The next day, my brother-in-law and I drove around (in the rain…) and looked at sections I might be able to buy to build on. We rang the house building company we’d met with about one section I liked, and she said it was sold, and then told us about others in another development that were becoming available. I found one there I really liked, with neighbours on only two sides (the third faces a wetland area designed to catch stormwater run-off and purify it; when we were there we saw a heron and two ducks using it, and the plants aren’t even mature yet). It was also less expensive than many of the sections I’d looked at, and quite a bit less expensive than some.

She wasn’t sure if the section was available, but she said that when the developer, who was out of town, returned on Wednesday, she’d find out and let me know. She rang me yesterday afternoon to tell me the section was “earmarked” for me (because it’s not quite ready to be sold).

Today we met with her again to go over some details and she showed us a standard design she thought could be adapted for what I want—and at a good price point, especially since the section was less expensive than I’d originally planned on. The next stage is that she’ll do preliminary plans, which I’ll then look at and revise, before some real plans are drawn up. Ultimately, once that’s all done and the building permits are issued, it’ll probably be February before work starts, which means I’ll be in the new house sometime in Spring of next year (Spring begins September 1).

Nothing is set in stone yet, and there will be hurdles to jump, but this is the most progress yet: I’ll get the house I want, in a location I want, in a setting I want, and at a price I want to pay. To make all that happen, I had to work out a way to keep the house I’m living in, putting it on the market only when the house is nearly built.

That matters because then I can stay in this house and work through the purging and paring down at my own pace, as I can face it, when I’m ready to face it. It also means that I’ll be able to shift from here and move directly there, which is important to me—my stuff won’t go into storage, and I won’t have to live with anyone before I move in to my new home. It was the perfect solution.

I’m definitely impatient to get to Hamilton, in part because it means I can truly begin my new life. I have absolutely NO idea what that new life will look like, but I can’t work that out while living in limbo, betwixt and between. None of this was ever in my lifeplan, and I absolutely don’t want to do this: Instead, I want to have my life with Nigel back. But that’s not the way these things work, which is why being able to move directly into that new house, and being able to take more time getting this house ready to sell, will help me so much: I’ll be able to better deal with the inevitable emotional strain, and certainly do so much better than if I had to sell this house quickly, as the original plan called for.

All up, this trip turned out to be very productive, and great progress.

And in this way, a Low was turned back into a High. I’m sure this won’t be the last time that happens. And when it does, I know the family will be there to help me weather the storm. This past week has once again demonstrated that.

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