Thursday, March 19, 2020

And, it’s done.

Today I went to my solicitor’s office and signed the papers to complete the sale of the last house that Nigel and I shared. I keep calling it that not merely to be precise, but also because it’s the reason this process, especially in its final stages, has been so incredibly hard on me, and man, it’s been difficult to get through.

As I said in a post earlier today, after I signed the papers, “I had a big cry when I got back to my car”. I don’t think that’s ever happened to me before, although I do remember crying one day when I was driving to the hospital to see Nigel in his final days (it was probably the last day I drove myself; the rest of his last days family drove me to the hospital because I just couldn’t cope with that drive any more, for many reasons). In any case, today in the carpark was just the start, as I knew it would be.

I was tearing up on the drive to the house, but I pulled back so I could see to drive. Then, I again started to tear up when I went to the Japanese cafe for lunch. As I’ve said before, Nigel and I probably went there more than any other cafe in the area (except one other, maybe). But this was among our favourites because we both loved Japanese food, and only went elsewhere when we felt like something else. I got through that without crying, too.

When I got to the house I got right to work loading the car with a few things the buyers wanted gone, which kept me distracted. When I was done, I turned my attention to things in the house that the buyers wanted done.

One thing I wanted done is to clean up a spot on the floor that I knew Nigel had made. I won’t be any more specific only because I want some things private to me and Nigel, and this is just one of them. I mention it because I couldn’t bring myself to clean it when I still lived there, and the cleaner I hired after I moved out didn’t clean it, either (I don’t think she mopped the floors at all). But because the spot was from Nigel, I both needed and wanted to be the one to clean it up. So, I did.

I then organised all the keys for the buyer, and made another video, this time of the empty house. That was—challenging. It was worse, though, when I wasn’t staring at my phone’s screen, and just walking through the house, because I became increasingly emotional. I distracted myself by checking all the drawers and cabinets to triple check nothing was left behind. Then, I had to say my final goodbye.

I cried several places in the house, but not much in Nigel’s office, oddly enough (maybe because my body was taking a break?). I made up for that in our bedroom because I just sobbed, so much, in fact, I had to lean against a wall to stand up. I could visualise Nigel lying on his side of the bed having a nap and, especially, lying there uncomfortably in his final days. Even the mere thought of that made me tear up.

I cried again in several other rooms, including the rumpus room, where Nigel spent his last night in the house—with the dogs and me.

The realtor asked me to drop the keys off at the next door neighbour’s house so they’d be secure. They were awesome neighbours—the best we ever had. But before I could do that, I walked around the house and said goodbye to it and thanked it, which I did mainly to give me a chance to "get over” crying before going next door.

Chatting with the neighbours, I felt myself tear up a couple times and, as I’ve done many times before (including in the solicitor’s office, actually), I changed the way I was saying what I was talking about so I wouldn’t cry. It always works, so far.

I then started my car drove out the gate open gate, and stopped to close it with the button, since I had no remote any more. I got back in my car and watched in my rearview mirror as the gate closed, something I did every time I left the house. I was keenly aware I’d never do that again. And, I cried. Then I headed out, probably still sniffling, and drove toward my new home feeling—well, not better, exactly, but kinda?

And that was it: All my work was done, all that getting the house ready to sell, enduring the marketing, and finally accepting I’d get a lot less than I’d hoped. Actually, the final thing was several days of hard physical work as I cleared out the last of my stuff. The fitness tracker on my watch was pleased, though.

Because of all this—the stress, the emotion, the hard work, the exhaustion—I realised something. Call it an epiphany. Up until now, I’ve said I feel flat, not feeling much of anything. Today I realised that’s not exactly true. I may not feel any happiness, joy, or whatever, but I often feel sad, sometimes very much so, and so it hit me: It’s not that I can’t feel emotion, it’s that all the pain I’m enduring is blocking our all the other feelings. In other words, I can’t feel anything else when all I feel is deep pain. However, it means I do, in fact, experience emotion, just nothing especially positive very often. Yet.

Half of me was ripped away six months ago, and nothing yet has filled even a little bit of that massive void in my life. Yet what’s kept me going in this work over the past six months was Nigel: I knew he wouldn’t want me to curl up in a little ball in the corner crying all day, he wanted me to be okay. It’s taken a LOT of work to get to this point, and I know Nigel would be proud of me for doing it. And, I am okay, and what do I say? Right now, okay is good enough.

Today I completed everything I needed to do get ready to move forward, to truly start building whatever my new life will be. Nothing will keep pulling me back to the place where my life shattered, because there are now no real physical ties to that time and place.

It’s done. But I’m not.

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