Saturday, January 28, 2012

Nothing Yet

The realtor called earlier this week. As expected, there are little to no homes to look at. In short: nothing yet. Apparently, houses should be on the market in the next few weeks. Nothing yet.

The mind is compassionate. It must be. Mine allows me to feel nothing when I picture happy places. Sometimes I will sit still and force myself to imagine last summer, in the backyard that week after school started. We bought a 500 water balloon pack; blue and green to represent the Sounders and the Seahawks. The weather was 90+ degrees and I can see Ed going into some Zen state while he filled 20, 30, 40 balloons, tossing them into the kiddie pool for Reese and Jack who would destroy them in five minutes.

I can see the scene. But, I don’t feel it. I feel nothing. It’s why I don’t feel much when I’m in the most pitiful places, the places that I used to avoid at all costs, even picked careers around. Like being the last person at school on a Friday. Since I was in middle school nothing brought on instant depression more quickly than still being on school grounds when no one else was. Same was true for high school, for college, and then for my teaching career. So, I hardly noticed that I was one of the last people in the building Friday afternoon. They shut the big front doors of the building so I had to go out the back. I didn’t pass a single person on the way to the parking lot.

Here’s the thing, I know I’m still processing. I know that the worst of the reality check will come in a few months and then maybe again next year. I know my mind has me on the slowest of I.V. drips of emotion so I can survive. It’s why I question those hopeful feelings – because I know they are based in something else—something not fully truthful—something that isn’t this new life. I know my mind hasn’t let me feel the fullness of the nothingness left behind when Ed died.

But I know hope resides in this fact: the flipside of nothing is a blank slate. I think that’s why I’m okay moving forward with the home hunt. While finding a home represents so much of what our family was and who I was, it also represents a new life, a blank slate, a richness of life waiting to be fully realized.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

One Place: The New Reality

I met with a realtor on Saturday. I gave him our basic requests: a house close to the kids' school, three bedrooms, two baths, a backyard. What I didn't tell him was that I can vividly remember the vision board Ed & I created in 2008. The one that sat next to the desk in our two bedroom apartment in Admiral (hidden a bit because we felt a little silly). The vision board that had us paying off enough debt to work towards a downpayment on a house.

Honestly, the dream of owning a home was nearly a joke. There was no logical reason to believe it could happen anytime soon considering the amount of debt we had accrued while also collecting substantial college loans. If we were smart, we would have expected to buy a home in ten or fifteen years. But that was too long. So, I found a picture in a magazine of a house that looked nice to us, cut it out and put it on the bulletin board. Somewhat randomly, we picked FALL 2012 as our target and wrote it in big letters, cut it out and put it beneath the picture.

By August 2011 we could -amazingly- see possibility in our fall 2012 goal. We couldn't see exactly how the downpayment would happen, but we had worked and planned toward 5% down. We knew it wasn't exactly prudent, but we had good jobs, good credit, and a dream, dammit. We set a date with our good friend, a banker, to discuss turning our goal into reality. We were going to meet on November 5th.

Plans change. Ed crashed to the ground while coaching Jack's soccer team. He died before noon on Saturday, October 8th, four days before our fifteenth wedding anniversary. And. Everything. Stopped. Then, it was all different.

"They" say not do make any major changes the first year. I would argue that NOT continuing the momentum towards finding a home by this fall would actually count as a major change, at least that is what my gut tells me. So, I'm looking. I'm looking for that one place that alluded us for fourteen years while we established a family identity, pursued academic and professional goals, learned how to be an amazing team, and scratch the surface of moving beyond surviving to thriving.

I plan to log the search. I realize there will be a tension related to finding a home that logistically and emotionally suits this new family of three as I'm working toward a goal represented by our old family of four. In many ways, the search will mirror the grief process. It's hard enough, so why not include kitchen layouts in the process?