Please forgive the disjointed combination of thoughts below. I began writing this post about 9 months ago but I was never sure how to finish it. So it sat in my drafts folder while I wrote about other things and while I wrote nothing at all. Occasionally I would add to it intending to finish, but never able to find the words I wanted. I’ve decided that now is the time, whether I find the right words or not.
I think I mentioned that I sold the house that Chad & I shared. If not, well, I did. I didn’t see the point in keeping it when I moved. I didn’t want to be a landlord and have to deal with all of the hassles of a renter while being over 200 miles away. And houses tend to deteriorate quickly when they’re not occupied.
I had been approached in the fall of 2010 by a gentleman who was interested in buying the property. At the time I wasn’t planning to go anywhere. When I told him this, he asked that I keep him in mind if that ever changed. I agreed, and then proceeded to forget about it altogether. A couple of months later I had just accepted a new job and was trying to figure out everything that had to be done in about 4 weeks. The list was pretty short: resign old job, find new house, buy new house, pack, move, start new job. Oh yeah, and sell old house.
I had mixed feelings about selling the house – our house. I was attached to it because of all of the memories contained in those walls. All of the laughter and tears, good times and bad. A lifetime in too few years. But that was part of the reason I needed to get away too. The weight of those memories was slowly suffocating me. And realistically I knew I couldn’t handle two houses. So I contacted a friend of Chad’s (who had recently started selling real estate) to list the house. He was great to work with. Since I had never bought or sold a house before I had no idea what I was doing and he spent as much time as I needed going over things and was always available to answer all of my questions. A day or two after I listed the house the gentleman who had approached me called and wanted to know if I was really selling my house. I replied that I was and he asked about doing a private sale without including my realtor. He wasn’t pleased with my negative response, but agreed to handle it the way I wanted. Editor’s note: I was trying to protect both parties involved by including a realtor. This way everything was handled properly – all of the i’s dotted and t’s crossed. If I had to do it all over again, I’d do it the same way.
A couple of months passed in a flurry of activity. A new house was purchased. Everything in my old house was gone through and packed, thrown away, given away or sold. My family made trips on consecutive weekends to load up and move my stuff from one house to the other. Many boxes were unpacked as I settled into my new house and started my new job. And lots of emails and phone calls were exchanged with my realtor as I rejected, countered offers, and sold my old house. I drove back north to sign the last of the closing papers and pick up the last couple of boxes that wouldn’t fit in my car on previous trips. It was done – I was the owner of just one house again. Six weeks later I was standing in Menards when my cell phone signaled an incoming picture message. I opened it to see a photo of a pile of boards and dirt where my old house used to stand and the words, “Thought you might like to know,” from my former neighbor and brother-in-law.
The new owner had torn the house down to make room for a new one. I knew that was his plan all along – he told me as much when he first approached me about buying it. But seeing that hole in the ground reminded me of another, smaller hole that I had looked into just 18 months before. That hole had marked the end of a life. This one seemed to signify the beginning of another. But it still made me sad to see that photo. It made real the fact that I had chosen to relocate myself away from all of those friends and family, favorite locations, and memories. It was sad, but it was a relief too. I could finally leave the “widow” label behind and focus on just being me again. Being a widow is part of who I am but it’s not the only thing I am.