Friday, August 21, 2009

Emptying Closets

Somewhat of a rough day spent clearing out some closets and transporting the contents to the storage shed. Yesterday, I took eight bags of children's books to the resale shop. As I went through the playroom closet, I did feel some relief that at least my boys were not deprived of books or toys when they were little! I came across the random note written by my first husband and the preschool homework he had helped our oldest with. The assignment was to find items beginning with the letter "U" and glue them onto a piece of paper. Knowing that he had worked with my son on this hard letter (they used umbrella and a flag for USA) touched me all these years later. Of course I set these memories aside and will put them with my scrapbooks.

My mood throughout the day was sad and melechony. I decided to do the closets and to delay the real packing as long as I can so as not to make the house look like a disaster zone. I wish I were a stronger person who could say that moving into an apartment doesn't upset me and that a home is what you make it and all of that. But the fact is, I do feel as though I have lost a social status symbol and that I have become less of a person because I will be living in an apartment. Maybe I need to look at it from another perspective that I wasn't a better person for being able to live in a house all these years, just more fortunate than some others.

I hired a moving company and also found a short-term Certified Nursing Asst. program in the area starting for five weeks on 10/26 at an affordable cost of $600.00. I need to make a decision to register soon as this program will also fill up quickly. The thought of taking the months of Sept. and Oct. to clear out the storage sheds, organize our new home and have a period of self-reflection sounds very good to me right now. And to know that by the start of the new year I can be in a better position to find full-time employment also is a soothing thought.

The boys start school next week and it is a challenge to deal with all of the emotional stuff in moving and to keep it fairly together for them. Somedays that is what I tell myself to make it through - that I have to focus on them because if I don't, no one else will. For me, it is this aspect of widowhood that has been the most difficult - the "only" parenting. If I accomplish one thing with this blog, I hope it is to inform the general population that being an only parent is unbelievably tough. The day-in and day-out of being the only one worrying about the kids and doing the hands-on parenting. At least divorced parents share the parenting responsibilities to some extent and there is time off when the other parent has visitation. I think most people don't realize how draining being an only parent is because there is never a break and the longer you've been an only parent, the more exhausted you are (physically and emotionally!). I will get off my soapbox for now. I just know that for me dealing with this move and the sale of my home would be so much more tolerable if I were facing it with a partner/husband.

Today I am grateful:

1. For the fall-like cool weather.
2. For the tinge of red I noticed starting in the leaves of some of my bushes.
3. For the hardy mums being sold at the grocery store - I'll get a big one for the balcony of my apartment when we move.
4. For the rain today which cleared the air and made it feel so refreshing.
5. For umbrellas and our country's beautiful flag.


  1. i remember losing my home. my ex sold it out from under me while i still had our son with me, still in high school. he gave us three days to be out. my daughter came home from college to help us stuff 20 years of marriage into a storage shed. my son and i moved into a motel room. it was humiliating. my things are still in storage. it's been 4 years since i've seen my clothes, my you know the list.

    i know you hate the apartment but somehow, somewhere down the road you'll be at the grocery store and you'll look out those big plate glass windows at the front of the store. the seasons are changing. winter is closing in and it's getting darker earlier. you'll walk out to the car and think to yourself. "i'm tired. i'm just going to go home." it will be this apartment you're thinking of.

    i'm not saying it will all be magical and everything will fall into place. but it will somehow become home because you can go inside, shut the door and lock it. your sons will be there. and you'll go to bed there. your clothes hang in the closet. pictures will be around.

    yeah, it's better to suffer the hard times with someone. my Dragon and i went through some terrible times but our marriage was perfection. i only wish we could have had our life by the ocean. i only wish he were here in my apartment with me now.

    treat yourself kindly. always, peace.

  2. Thank you always for what you say to me. I know that you are truly understanding what I'm going through because as I read your reply, I could totally relate to your words. You have been there and survived and are now passing along wisdom to someone in need. Maybe I will have that opportunity in the future.

    Your situation was certainly more drastic - at least I have had some time to prepare for my move. How long did you end up staying in the motel? How did your son react? Was he able to continue going to his high school? How did you cope and get through that period? Your poor daughter too - she must have been upset! Yet everyone seems to have gotten to the other side in the end and it led you to your Dragon.

    Thank you again for being there.

  3. my first husband left me deeply in debt. he took my car since it was in his name and sold it. it was harrowing. he kept control by depriving me of state required child support and alimony. my son continued at his high school though i had to pay. we lived in the motel for just shy of two years. it was during this time that i met my Dragon. he assumed payments over my bills and it almost broke him. we met in August before THE 9/11 when it all went bad with the economy, the U.S. military, etc. he was in international finance and it went south after 9/11. he felt he owed the client so he paid to maintain his good name, his honor. that coupled with assuming financial responsibility for my two when their father dropped the ball kept us destitute. we lived in only one house, the one i write about in Rockport, by the ocean.

    my son was deeply troubled by his father's behavior. i never spoke ill of his father to him. i said that his father was upset by the divorce, that it had nothing to do with him. i coped by focusing on keeping my two safe, crying alone in the shower, and working very hard. i kept telling myself i was not being punished. it was simply life. i had food. i had a roof. there may have been a blinking neon sign out the window that said 'vacancy' but we had lights, warmth, a door that locked, Internet for the computer for my son's homework, and television.

    i was seeing the Dragon during the last two months of living in my house, so he was there to help us move. he put us in a nice placer place than i could afford. it had a loft bedroom for my son and a kitchen. my Dragon talked to the school and got them to not charge me for my son's senior year. i didn't get back for his junior yr but they didn't penalize me for losing the house for his senior yr. my son liked and grew to respect then love our Dragon. for my daughter, it was love at first sight.

    my Dragon and i married and we bounced from place to place, but, as you have put it, i did have him. when i was most afraid, or tired of the money not getting released, of the Patriot Act getting changed yet again, he was there to comfort me, to be strong for me. i never believed in the money or the deals with the world economy the way it was going, and still is, but i had faith in him. i always ate. i was always warm. i always had the necessities. and i laughed. and i was loved. his death in that motel room was worse for him not having gotten us back into a house, even a rental. having to leave him for the funeral home to come pick up and go back to that motel room with the ripped apart bed and the tape and blood on the floor was horrifying. i sat in a chair from 3:30 am until about 9 am when the office opened and i asked if i could move to another room. i just sat there and stared at the empty bed.

    he deserved far better than the life we had. but he knew no one loved him or respected him more than i do. do, present tense.

    i kept my son going by talking to him and never once confusing him with bad talk about his father. i tried very hard to keep myself as an example of how it can be done. if i can't show him how to be generous as a person well off financially, then i could show him how to be stalwart and gracious during hard times. we all have hard times in one way or another. i'm proud to say my children, though their relationship with their father suffers, it was not because of anything i ever said.

    peace to you and for you for what you are enduring right now. if you live long enough i think it all comes balanced in the end. keep telling yourself that at the end of the game, the king and the pawn go back in the same box.

  4. Bless you always for your words - I feel so honored that somehow our path's connected and you are in my life.

    I cried as I read your reply and simply cannot convey in words how your story has touched me. I hope I have a better opportunity in the future to thank you for your support. You do know what it is like to face the road I am on - and I am truly grateful for your shining some light on my footsteps to help guide the way when it often is so dark and I cannot see.