Two weeks from Friday I will be closing a door to an old life and traveling north to open a door to a new life. I will be honest, it all still feels totally unreal to me. I had no idea that everything would happen so quickly and that every door I opened would just swing wide with no resistance. So this is what life is like when you’re obedient. I kind of dig it.
I have been packing and purging and sorting and selling like crazy. I am a master mover and have always done it on my own, every time Matt and I have moved. Matt showed up on move day and did all the heavy lifting. I pack and unpack. It has always been our system. Typically when we move I’m always happy/sad. Happy for the new house, new adventures and new memories. Sad to leave all of that behind and know that another family will soon cherish this home we’ve loved. This time is no different, except that there is a lot more sad. Every where I look, I see Matt. So many things he built with his hands for me. So much love is in this house and I’m proud of that. We spent three amazing years here growing, laughing, changing, planting, tearing down, building up and loving. We spent one year here fighting for life and watching the center of our universe take his last breath. It is because of this that we cannot stay. It’s amazing how one thing…..one memory can ruin all of the good. It just wipes it out and makes it to where all you can see is the bad….the ugly….the death. The hardest thing I’ve had to do was tackle Matt’s space, his haven……his garage. I’ve avoided it for months and any time I am out there it’s like I hold my breath or something. There have been days where I go out there and just pick up his things and cry. They are all just like he left them the last time he used them and I loved that. It made it seem like he was going to come home soon. He just left for a bit, because if his things are still here, then he can’t be gone, right?
Now I have to tell you Matt comes from a long line of hoarders. I don’t mean the hoarders on A&E with piles and paths in their homes. Just a touch of the hoarding. Just enough to irritate someone like me who purges regularly. I cannot tell you how many times Matt would say “Don’t get rid of that Michelle! You might use that one day!” There were times I must confess that I would toss things behind Matt’s back………in my defense it was always crap! Ugh. And if I hadn’t done that all these years, I cannot even imagine how much harder this latest task would have been.
Matt’s garage. The only thing in this picture that belongs to me is the work out equipment….Matt did NOT work out. He once told me it isn’t manly to work out. I laughed and laughed. What in the what? Oh he made me laugh. Not pictured is a decent sized shed also full of things. All the things. None of which I can even name or tell you what they do. My job last week was to pick through it all and decipher what I was going to keep for myself or my kids and what could go. Matt’s parents helped me which was a huge help, considering I didn’t know what half of this stuff is. Then the day came for me to sell things. Matt’s things. I didn’t have anyone help me with this, because it’s so deeply personal. I had to do it myself and alone. I need to make sure nothing was sold that I wanted to keep. But how do you decided what to keep? Watching others go through his earthly possessions and barter for them was absolute torture for me. I went inside my house to collect my self many, many times that day. Truthfully, I felt like a giant asshole. Like the worlds most gigantic, most terrible, most horrific asshole ever. Selling my loves things like they are nothing. Although my heart wants to keep every single item his hands ever touched, my mind knows that this is not feasible and there are times when I have to let my mind rule my heart. It is for the best. My heart can be crazy as hell.
So I am in the middle of selling Matt’s stuff and I’m feeling so overwhelmed and emotional when a man gets out of his car and approaches me. There are several people at my house so I assume he’s here for the sale. He very sweetly tells me has some bad news for me. I see he is holding some papers and I’m a little confused. He then tells me he is here to “serve me”. I think I laughed at first, and then asked “you mean, I’m being SUED?” “Yes…I’m afraid you are. I’m so sorry.” As I open the papers I see I”m being sued by the funeral home I used for Matt. Wonderful timing. Splendid. I’m already on the brink of a nervous breakdown, so this send me right on over the cliff. Not only am I immediately angry, I am humiliated and sad and just flat out lost. Because I want to call Matt and say “Babe, what in the actual hell is this? I just got served! I’m being SUED!” Even today, he is still my go-to. Matt will know what to say. Matt will anchor me. He will keep me calm. He will be my safe place to rant and rave and yell and cuss and he will look at me with a small smile and glimmer in his eyes, because he loves when I’m “fighting mad”. Then he will come across the kitchen to me and hug me and I will feel so small against his giant body and he will say “It’s going to be OK babe. It is.” And I will be sobbing and snotting all over his shirt (and he won’t even care ya’ll because he totally loves me, even all snotty) and I will ask “How do you know?” and he will respond with his phrase “I just do.” And I will feel instantly better. My breathing will slow down. My tears will dry up. Because if Matt says its going to be OK, then it is.
But today I don’t have that, because Matt is dead. He no longer breathes the same air that I do. And I am selling his stuff and being served papers in my driveway on a sunny day from terrible people who profit off of tragedy and I just want my husband back. I need him. I miss him more than I could ever express. I still don’t know or understand how I got here. What did I do? Where did I go wrong in life? Why do I have to fight so hard? Why do I have to give up so much more than everyone else? Why is everything I do an uphill battle? Is it me? Am I creating this? I don’t know. I have no answers for any of these questions and nobody else seems to have them either.
But something I do know is this. It is time for me to move forward. Not move on…that is very different. I can never move on from Matt. He is so much apart of my fabric, we are one and the same. Saying I move on from Matt is the same as saying I can move on from myself and that is impossible. I have two choices in how I do this grief and life after death thing. I can let myself be The Widow and feel sorry for myself and never recover. Or I can be Michelle, who is widowed and still loves life. Loves her kids. Loves her career. Loves Matt…..always. I have chosen the latter….which of course is the most difficult of the two life trails. The Widow trail is easy peasy. I just give up and stay in bed. Waste away into the shadows of life. Relent. Michelle ch. 2 is the tougher life trail. It’s an up hill climb and I promise it is steep. I’m out of breathe most days and I stop often and just push pause on the journey because I’m so exhausted. But eventually, I press play and keep climbing. I have to promise myself daily that getting to the top of this mountain is going to be so beautiful it will take my breath away in a completely different way. I hope that what I tell myself is true, because today, from where I sit it seems and feels absolutely impossible.
So in two weeks we will open that door and start fresh. Although there is immense sadness there is also a lot of excitement. All 3 of my kids are so ready and cannot wait to live in “the city” Ha! They have never been able to order pizza and have it delivered to their house and it’s the first thing on our agenda. They look forward to all the conveniences and how close we will be to their favorite crazy Uncle and their grand parents. I am looking forward to how much easier my life will be. I am mitigating stress wherever I can and this is a huge one!
A couple of quick updates before I go. I am applying for NURSING SCHOOL NEXT WEEK. Mind blown. It seems like I started this journey five seconds ago and now it is here. I covet your prayers that I get in. Oh please let me get in. I have a plan B (this old gal is learning on all these steep curves) but I really want plan A to pan out. I truly cannot even believe this moment is here. All of the hard work, the tears, the major HUGE road blocks and I didn’t quit. I never gave up. I’m here. Wow. What a crazy ride this life is. Well, at least my life is a crazy ride.
My boob situation? IT IS BENIGN. Sweetest words to ever hear. Dr. doesn’t really know what it was, but he said it’s a good thing its out. I am clean and healthy and ready to put that nasty beast to bed. Good riddance. Two months of stress and the minute they called me with the results I fell to pieces. I literally sobbed thank you Jesus to the poor nurse on the phone. Hahaha. But for reals. I truly don’t have time for that. At all.
My updating will be sporadic for a bit as I move and finish up this semester and do life things. I love talking to you guys and it truly humbles me and knocks me off my feet that so many of you still read and want me to keep writing. Again….life is crazy isn’t it?