Tag Archives: Moving

Today

Today was not a good day.  The further we walk down this path to home ownership, the more painful the journey.  Someone please stop this ride we’re on, I want to get off.

We got the green light that we are building a house.  The plans are complete, the finishes are picked and construction is set to begin soon.  A totally new chapter in our lives.

And then we got word today that our temporary rental has sold and we have to move.  Temporarily.  Again.  Before the final move.

I bawled my eyes out over a bag of donuts while little Fletchie kept asking me what was wrong.  I tried so hard to explain that his little life would once again be interrupted.  My heart was breaking because he finally stopped asking to go home to the Chester Street house and now calls ‘the big brown house’ home.  He’s finally settled.  And now we have to leave.

We were finally to a point where Darcy’s room was unpacked enough for her to have a friend sleepover.  She had settled in a bit.  I’m sure the idea of moving was an adventure, but I don’t think she ever bargained for this.  We’ve taken this kid out of the only home that she ever knew.  She grew up on Chester Street and has the most memories there.

I was finally starting to put away some of my mommy guilt for this whole mess that we’re in.  I was feeling like, ‘ok, we got this!’. Only now we don’t.  By a long shot.

This whole journey was terrifying enough without all of this extra crap.  It was hard enough to walk away from Benny’s home.  It was emotional enough to acknowledge that it was time for us to move forward.  And now I’m beginning to wonder if this was all a mistake?

And oh sure I’ll probably feel differently in July when this is all (hopefully) over.  And I’ll probably ‘look back and laugh’ (oh my God if one more person says that to us!).  But right now, right at this moment, I’m upset.

I’m upset that it seems like everything has to be so much harder for us.  Because the grief that we carry every damn day isn’t enough.  Because the amount of times that I question myself as a parent isn’t enough.  Because the amount of anxiety that I have in any given situation with my children isn’t enough.  ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,’ well screw that!  Enough already, I’m done!  Here I am waving the white flag screaming I SURRENDER!

I give up.  I am desperately tired of all of this.  I know that home selling/buying is supposed to be stressful, but this is beyond anything I ever imagined.

So Universe, enough.  We’ve had it.  Please back off.  Please stop making a tough situation harder.  How are we ever supposed to deal with any of our grief and make some peace with it when these other life issues rear their ugly faces?  I still haven’t really come to terms with leaving Benny’s house yet because it’s been such a whirlwind.  I can only process so much.

We knew moving would be hard.  We expected it to hurt.  Not like this though.

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Stuff

Sigh.  I don’t know where to begin.  I don’t know when it began.  Maybe I’ve been like this forever.  Maybe the grief intensified my needs.  I’m going to admit it here, shout it out loud to hold myself accountable, I have too much stuff!

There, I said it.  I thought I was doing good before the move.  I felt like I had gotten rid of so much stuff!  It’s really hard to sift through 13 years of living in one place.  Parker and I both had our own stuff and lot’s of it.  We had lived on our own before.  It didn’t seem like much until we put it together.  Then add in 4 kids and pets and a house that is busting at the seams!  It is completely overwhelming.

And that’s just life.  We all probably have too much stuff at the end of the day.  We can all feel overwhelmed by it.  First world problems.  Here’s where it gets complicated though.  Grief compounds this.

My mom died when I was 16.  You’re damn right I want to hold onto as many memories of her as I possibly can.  I have to teach my children about their grandmother because they will never meet her.  It is so important to me that they know who she was and where they came from.  Does that mean that I need to hold onto her early 90’s mint green track suit to do so?  Or her costume jewelry from the 80’s?  I honestly don’t know.

Once someone is gone, how do you make that distinction about what is important to keep?  Even some 22 years later I don’t have any answers.  I try really hard to hold myself accountable.  I try to weigh how important it really is to hold onto a physical memento.  I’ve been able to let some things go. Others have been harder.

What do you do with 10 lbs. of toddler clothing from your deceased son?  I’ve had a few blankets made with some of the clothing and I’m thinking of having memory bears made for the kiddos, but what do I do with the rest?  I was able to talk myself into donating some of it, but there is still a good trash bag full.  How about the diaper bag that remains untouched from the day he died?  Sure I’ve looked at it.  I just don’t know what to do with it now.

There’s this whole Konmari method of cleaning out where you’re supposed to ask yourself if the item in question bring you Joy.  I’m not sure these items bring me joy, but they bring me back to a point in my life that I can’t ever get back to.  When things were simpler.  Less heartbreaking.  My ‘before’ if you will.

Do I need these things?  Probably not.  I don’t know how long they will remain in boxes in the new house simply because they are not items that we use on any type of frequent basis.  But still they comfort me, knowing that they are there.

I don’t know how long it will take me to let go.  Maybe never.  I guess that will just have to be ok for now.

Life Can Still Suck

For weeks now, things have been going wrong.  Ok, that’s an understatement.  They’ve been going terribly wrong.  I cannot begin to explain the amount of stress happening in our lives right now, both personally and professionally.  I just want to scream ‘Uncle!’ so that I can maybe get a break already.

I won’t bore you with the details but it has to do with moving, taking over another business and having a baby all within the last month.  The easiest part of all has been the baby, believe it or not.  She is the calm in the midst of our storm.

My husband and I want to kill each other all of the time because, well, stress.  The kids are dealing with a new sibling and a move gone so wrong and all of the uncertainty of our lives right now.  There has been a lot of crying and acting out and not just from the kiddos. We’re all just a little maxed out over here.

But every time someone asks how we are, or says they don’t know how we’re doing it, I put on my brave face, shrug my shoulders and say, ‘we’ve been through worse’. It’s true.  We have.  There’s not much worse than losing a child and all of the hopes and dreams that go along with their future.

It’s given us perspective on how bad things can get and how quickly they can go wrong.  I always remind myself when I start to freak out that it isn’t as bad as losing our son.  I punish myself, feel guilty for getting frustrated or upset at the way life is going.  It could always be worse.

I need to stop this.  I’m being unfair to myself and my emotions.  Yes, in all reality things could be worse than they are now for us.  But that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t allow myself to be pissed off or upset when things go wrong.  I need to stop the comparison and just dive in and own what I feel.

I need to stop feeling guilty about being sad or upset if something goes wrong.  Life, outside of grief, can still suck!  It’s ok to feel that way. Guilt be damned!

Today I realized how true this is and I’m done.  I want to scream out loud that it’s ok for me to admit that it sucks right now.  I want to own it and cry and yell until I have it out of my system.  Until I feel ok about it.  Until the guilt is gone.  Until I allow myself to be able to feel emotions outside of my grief and realize that that too is ok.  That it’s part of my path.  I have to stop letting the grief define me and instead begin to define the grief.

Just Moving.

Thirteen years ago Parker and I set out to purchase our first house.  We were 24 years old and living in our first apartment together.  I had some money left to me from my mom and it was fairly easy to get a mortgage back then.

We started looking about 30 miles west of Boston, but there was little in our price range.  We knew that we could handle a fixer upper and looked forward to getting our hands dirty.  Because the market was crazy at this point, we ended up looking in Worcester.  It was much farther west than we wanted, but it was what we could afford.

I remember pulling into the driveway of 72 for the first time.  We got out of the car and walked through the jungle of the back yard and I knew.  This was it.  It was exactly what we wanted.  We went inside and took in the wood paneling, shag carpeting and green metal cabinets.  Looking back, I’m overwhelmed at the amount of work we took on with this house.  But over the last 13 years we made her ours.

At first it was Parker, myself and our crazy pack of cats and dogs.  We celebrated Christmas’, birthdays and hosted numerous parties.  Parker proposed to me in that house after we lived there for a year and a half.  We had our wedding rehearsal on our front lawn.  It’s where we began our marriage and started planning our future.

We found out we were expecting our first child within those walls.  I had so much fun setting up a nursery and spent a year painting a barnyard mural.  Teriffied as all new parents are, we brought home a little baby girl.  She got to spend 8 years growing up in that house and playing in that yard.  She learned to walk on the hardwood floors in our living room and spent numerous Halloween’s trick or treating around our neighborhood.

Once you have kids is when you really begin to meet your neighbors.  We were lucky to have some kids move in over the years and be able to form a close knit community.  Some of these people have become our closest friends.

Because our daughter needed a sibling, we had a son.  Suddenly we were busting at the seams, but in a good way.  There was so much laughter and love.  Such noise and chaos that can only come from 2 kids, 2 dogs and a cat.  Life was good.

When my son died right outside that very house, I thought that our world was over.  I could not imagine how we could move forward.  At the hospital, my sister asked me if we wanted to go home or would we rather stay at a hotel.  I paused for a moment, but decided I wanted to be home and sleep in my own bed.  I didn’t know it at the time, but I was making a very monumental decision.

That aside, our community came together to take care of us in numerous ways.  These amazing people that were our neighbors took care of us and held our hands during the hardest time in our lives.  We were so lucky to have this support system.  These people took care of us and showed us so much love.  It helped us to be able to grieve.

Over the course of the next year I struggled with our home, the driveway mostly.  I refused to step foot where the accident had happened.  I closed the door to my son’s room and didn’t go near it for a good 3 months.  His toys were still all over the house and the baby gates were a constant reminder of what was missing.  It was awful.  But it was still my home.

Even after all that had happened, it was still my safe place, my bubble if you will.  After the accident, I was teriffied of going out, being anywhere where ‘something’ could happen.  I mean if an accident can occur right outside your home, then surely much worse can happen out and about.  I felt safest in that house.

Over time, I slowly put my son’s stuff away.  The baby gates disappeared.  Toys went into his closed up room.  We remodeled some of the house and these projects got me excited about the house again.  They gave me something to focus on, something to change.

We began to heal in that house.  It didn’t happen overnight, but slowly over time.  Like a catepillar in a cocoon working towards becoming something beautiful.  Let me tell you, it was a lot of work and a lot of therapy.

A year after the accident we decided we were ready to try again.  We were willing to give the Universe another shot and give our hearts again.  I miscarried in that house.  I think I was more angry than sad at that point.  I was so pissed that we could lose something more.  At that point I wasn’t scared, I was damn determined that we get another shot at love.

We brought Fletcher home to that house nearly 9 months later.  It was hard having another boy, especially one that looked so much like his brother.  We struggled.  I had no choice but to accept the driveway as it was because this little boy had to be carried to and from the house in his carseat safely.

Eventually we made the decision to move Fletcher into what was his brothers room.  It sucked at first.  I rocked him in the same chair where I last sat with his brother, looking at an almost identical face.  I added Fletch’s name to the wall, right below his brothers.  It was as if they were sharing a room.  In some ways that was true as all of Benny’s clothes were still in the dresser, same as the day he died.

We raised another boy in that house for 2 years.  We held our breath until he was older than his brother had been when he passed.  I panicked over every sickness and accident and would google myself into a frenzy.  We spent 15 months of sleepless nights with that little guy as he settled in.  Those walls somehow held me together.

When we found out we were expecting again, we knew our days in this house were numbered.  We were crammed in there and had eeked out every available square foot of living space.  We hemmed and hawed.  We loved this house, but it was time to go.

I was ok with the idea as an abstract.  Maybe it wouldn’t sell.  Then we’d be stuck and have to make it work.  Well it sold, and rather quickly.

Then I was excited.  We were moving!  A new house to decorate!  A fresh start.  Then it was ‘we’re moving forward?’, ‘moving on?’.  Nope.  Just ‘moving.’

Just moving.  Leaving our home behind.  Taking our kids out of their house.  Walking away from where we raised and lost our son.  I can honestly say that I haven’t cried this much since my son died.  And this was our decision!

I’ve had a few months to really think about this.  I am heartbroken to leave my house.  It is the longest I have ever lived anywhere and there are so many memories and so much of my life tied up into this one house.  Not one room has been left untouched, we have spent countless hours making that house into exactly what we wanted.  Our home.  I am absolutely devastated.  Just because we decided to leave doesn’t make this any easier.

This house is where Benny lived.  It’s where he took his first steps, said his first words.  It’s where he’s real to me, where he exists.  This is so hard to walk away from.

It’s also where he died.  It’s the last place that I held him.  It’s where our lives completely changed.  It’s taken me a very long time, but in this process of moving I’ve come to realize that I finally made my peace with it.  I feel ready to move because I’m ok with this house.

I cannot describe how freeing that feels to be able to say this.  I never imagined a time when I could feel this way about this house, I didn’t think it was possible.  Maybe it’s because we’ve redone the house since Benny’s passing, or because I’ve brought other babies home here.  Whatever it is, I’m so glad that I chose to come home the night of the accident.  It allowed me (forced me) to deal with the reality of everything.  It was a massive part ofy grieving process.  It’s just taken me a long time to figure that out.

Thirteen years almost to the day that we purchased our home we said good bye.  Someone else is living there now.  God, it pains me to say that.  I’m broken up even as I write this.

We said good bye to our house and our community and it is killing me.  I have brokenheartedly had to say good bye to some of the most loving people we have ever met.  Sure we’ll still see them, but I will miss being outside and waving and chatting with everyone.  It’s just not the same.  So much of what made our house a home were the people that lived around us and supported us.

We won’t go far, but it is so much further out of my comfort zone.  My bubble is gone for now.  It’s time to make a new one.