Friday, March 20, 2020

Six months

Six months ago today my husband Nigel died. Since then I’ve settled his estate, bought a new house and moved there, and today the last house we lived in together officially became the property of someone else. To make one of the biggest understatements of my life, none of this has been easy.

Today’s time marker has been on my mind for weeks. I had no idea how I’d feel today, or what I’d be thinking—apart from the obvious. As I pondered that, mentally and emotionally, I was also dealing with the sale of that house, which, as I said yesterday, has been incredibly hard on me.

Today I had a few cries, but I was mostly okay. Then I got a call from my solicitor’s office to confirm the settlement amounts, etc., and when the call ended, so did my composure. I again sobbed. And again whenever I thought about the impending transfer of ownership. And again when the solicitor’s office rang to tell me settlement was completed.

The last big cry was when I sat down and talked to Nigel’s photo (same one as the one with this Note). That’s something I don’t normally do. It started out well enough: “Well, it’s done, Bub,” I said. “Our house is gone.” I was still okay at that point, and when I talked to him about how I knew it was necessary, and it was for the best, my emotions started to overwhelm me, and by the time I said to him, “this is NOT the thing we wanted to happen, but it has,” I was sobbing again.

And in that story is the clear reality about this: It was never about that house, it was always and only about Nigel, about losing him, and the necessity for me to move forward alone when I still want my old life back. That’s why it was mostly stuff about that house that started me crying over the past couple weeks: Symbolism is a powerful thing, and that house was the embodiment of what we had, and what I’ve lost.

It’s not just been about emotions in recent weeks: Getting ready to transfer ownership of the house meant a helluva lot of work, often very physical, hot, and exhausting work. But, then, with medication keeping me extremely tired most of the time, that work was always going to be a challenge.

My health added another challenge I faced during this same period, when I found out my health insurance claim had been denied. I had to deal with that at the same time I was dealing with selling the house.

Taken together, I had way too much on my plate, and it’s little wonder I was exhausted and vulnerable in recent weeks, and so it’s also little wonder my emotions were so near to the surface. The only thing about this time that does surprise me is that I didn’t slug some idiot who pissed me off—metaphorically speaking, of course.

Yet I did get through all that, didn’t I? I cancelled my insurance yesterday and got confirmation today that my agent had filed the form. Instead of slugging some idiot, metaphorically speaking, of course, I said nothing. And also today, the last house Nigel and I shared changed ownership. The price I paid for all that was more tears than usual, which I think is pretty good deal.

When I was having my rational moments today—and they did vastly outnumber those that were less rational or that were purely emotional—I thought about how I definitely feel less burdened than I did before today because that giant weight holding me back is gone. I’m not happy—of course I’m not!—but I am definitely feeling freer. I’m not quite used to that feeling yet.

It also helped that yesterday I took care of other important business: I signed my new Will. This, too, has been hanging over me because I no longer have a husband to inherit everything. If I died without a Will, it would be an absolute nightmare sorting out my estate, but the bigger issue for me—the only issue, actually—was my furbabies: I wanted to ensure they’ll be looked after if I die, and the possibility of dying always seemed more likely for me than for Nigel, until it wasn’t. Nigel would have understood the reason for my determination to draft a Will, and if our positions were switched, he’d have been just as anxious to draft his, and for the same reason. Now that worry is gone, too.

Six months after Nigel died, I’ve accomplished so much that it surprises even me. But getting stuff done has also drastically reduced the amount of stress I’ve felt, which will set the stage for me to begin to figure things out, like whatever it is that my life will become.

But I’d really rather not be doing any of this. I often say I want my old life back, but that’s not exactly true: I want Nigel back, and it doesn’t matter to me whether that was our old life or a new one, as long as it was us together. That was not to be.

Six months ago today I lost my beloved Nigel. Today I also officially no longer own the last house that he and I shared, a symbol of everything we had, and everything I’ve lost. No wonder I cried so often.

Tomorrow is another day, and tomorrow I can start trying to work out exactly what that means.

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