Saturday, March 14, 2020

A chapter is closing

It’s not often any of us can say this, but: A major chapter in my life is about to close. Last weekend, I accepted an offer on the last house Nigel and I lived in, and yesterday the offer became unconditional. One week from yesterday the sale will be completed and the property will change owners. And that chapter will be closed.

I’ve been in limbo for months with that house looming over me: I couldn’t live there anymore, for all the reasons I’ve talked about before, and so I needed to sell it. But there was one challenge and expense after another, and the sale sometimes seemed impossible. I needed to persevere because selling the house means I can focus on my new house and life in Hamilton, and, most importantly, I’ll no longer be pulled back the place where everything changed.

I won’t go into specifics, of course, but suffice it to say that the offer was substantially below my original asking price, and quite a bit below my reduced asking price, so I’m getting less money than I wanted. While I’m not exactly happy about that, obviously, I’m nevertheless glad to be getting this off my plate, and the fact that the purchasers were able to complete the sale next Friday definitely eases the sting (seven days is incredibly fast).

The reality is that the house has no good associations in my mind, despite the happy times Nigel and I had there—up until September of last year. So, when I think of that house, I remember those good times, and how happy and (mostly) content we were just being together in our little family, but after Nigel died, the house itself became a symbol of everything I’d lost. Little wonder I couldn’t wait to get out of it, and rid of it.

With that house sold, I’ll be able to direct my energies to settling in here, in this new house and new city and new life. My garage here is still mostly boxes, stuff I have to go through in order to get this place to any sort of normality—whatever that means these days. However, the fact I’ll be able to focus on this house means I can actually make some progress on the mountain of boxes.

The lack of the distraction from the old house will also mean that I can focus my attention and energies more generally in this city. It’s not just about finishing this house, but also truly learning to live here.

There’s one final thing about this, something I’ve been completely aware of ever since the offer was first submitted: Settlement (completing the sale of the house) will happen six months to the very day since Nigel died.

I know that Nigel would be pleased that I managed to accomplish so much in six months—maybe a bit surprised, shocked, even (that's an old Nigel & Arthur joke), but happy, and even proud of me. This is one of those times when having a clear focus and strong determination has paid off. I’ve been helped every step off the way by friends and family, and, partly because of them, I wasn’t afraid to change direction completely when I needed to—and I did need to, several times. Maybe it was just a little bit easier for me because I knew that Nigel would want to see me settled into my new life-to-be as soon as possible, and I also knew I could make that possible. He knew that, too.

After I got the news, I walked past the new "Nigel Shrine", and I looked at his photo next to his ashes, and I said, “well, we did it Bub.” And then I walked away so I didn’t start sobbing yet again. Family was on their way over for the dinner I was making, and I had several things to do. My new life-to-be was waiting for me to join it, and I did. Actually, we did it, Nigel and me.

I often say that the only reason I’m here is because Nigel isn’t. By that I mean in Hamilton, but it’s also true that I’m in this new life-to-be because Nigel helped me be stronger than I knew I could be. He got me to this point through two and half decades of his love, support, and belief in me when I had none. Sure, I pushed this agenda, and I worked very hard to get to this point, but even though I was only doing it because Nigel wasn’t here, the fact I was able to do it all was because Nigel had been in my life and heart and, in fact, still is.

So, yeah: We did it, Bub.

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