Monday, June 21, 2010

Making the move.

I ♥ San Diego!
Originally uploaded by

One long day. One big step.

This morning I flew down to San Diego. No, I don't have the job. I haven't heard anything from them, so I have decided to just let go. If they call, great, if it doesn't happen right now, then I'm prepared to take the risk, and go anyway.

Friday afternoon I informed my supervisor at work that I would be flying to San Diego to go house shopping. I wish I was shopping to buy, but will have to lease a house for now. One house that I have had my eye on for some time now has been steadily dropping it's monthly rental fee every couple of weeks, and was still vacant. I have been keeping in touch with the rental management company, letting the agent know that I would be down there soon. I had an appointment for today at 1:30 pm. I told my supervisor that if I found a house, and was able to sign a lease agreement, then I would be returning to work on Tuesday, and officially giving my two week notice. Her jaw dropped. I think everyone knew that I am serious about this, but I don't think they let it really sink in.

I know it's a risk to be making this type of move with this kind of economy. There are not a lot of jobs available, and I happen to be at the top of the seniority list at my office. There have been many layoffs during the past year, and I have been quite secure in my job. This has been kind of strange, as I really wasn't at the job for most of last year. I was home enjoying my time with Michael, then home with him while he was dying. When I returned to work in November, many people were surprised to see me. I don't think they expected me to return so quickly, but I really didn't have a choice, as I had run out of sick leave or vacation time months before that. When I did return, I remember my supervisor saying that part of her thought I would choose to not return at all. At the time I confided in her that I didn't think my heart was in it anymore, and that I didn't feel that I had the stamina to stay with it.

I feel that I really made a solid effort to get back in the groove, but after 7 months at work, I now know that I have to leave. I will miss all of my friends at the office, as many of them are now like family. But going to a job where so many people rely on me to guide them during times of crisis, it just takes so much out of you. I have done this job for 21 years. For those that don't know, I am a social worker with child protective services. Returning to work after losing Michael has been like constantly walking up hill, and I just can't do it anymore. What I am choosing to do is probably not the most financially sound choice, but it is the right choice for my spirit. I find myself going to work each day, reminding myself that when I return home, he will not be there. These thoughts play out over and over in my head throughout the day. By the end of the day I am exhausted physically, and empty emotionally.

Moving around in this city that I love is no longer what it used to be. I feel like every corner is a reminder of happier times with Michael, yet also a reminder of what I can no longer have. Of course I could stay here, and try to work through these feelings, but at this point in life I don't feel like putting in that kind of effort. Early on in my grief I had the urge to walk out my front door, and keep on walking. I had this never ending need to move. Move away. I didn't do that, as I kept feeling like I would just be running away from my feelings. So I stayed, and spent some time really working through them, and trying to understand what I truly needed. At this point I can honestly say that I am now ready to move toward something new, something different. I can't say that I am moving to something better, as I am leaving the home that I have kept for the past 17 years. I am leaving the place where I met Michael, and where we lived our life together. Yet, Michael and I had made plans early on that we would relocate to a new place. When he was diagnosed with his brain tumor, those plans had to be scrapped. I was fine about putting those plans aside, as they were no longer as important. Now that the dust has settled, I realize that I want to do what we were planning on doing, which is move toward something new.

I met the rental management agent at the house today at 1:30 pm. I had seen this house online for the past couple of months, and really liked the style of the home. I knew that there had to be some less than desirable details about the house, otherwise it would have been rented, and the price wouldn't have been sliding downward. When I walked into the house I knew that it could be home. I love it. I walked from room to room, only vaguely hearing the agent describe the various rooms, and what the owners had done to it recently. But in my mind I kept hearing a voice telling me yes, this will be a good move. I knew that the owners wanted a year lease, as I had been told that a month ago when I initially inquired about the house. Knowing that they were becoming desperate I decided it was a good time to revisit this sticking point. I told the agent that if the owners were willing to agree to a 6 month lease, that I would sign a lease agreement today. She texted the owners, and they said yes. They were a little concerned about my having two pets, but I tried to convey how well behaved our four legged family members were. I wish I could report that I have signed the lease, but time kind of ran out today. The agent needed to run a credit check, which went fine of course. She then left a message for the owner that everything was clear if they were ready to sign the contract, but she didn't hear back from them by the time I needed to fly back to San Francisco. I hope to hear from her tomorrow, and hope to secure this property.

Like everything else about this move, today didn't go exactly as planned. In times past I might have been tempted to see these occurrences as an omen, and think twice about making this move, but that was the old Dan. The new Dan says "what the hell, let's do it anyway. Really, what do I have to lose?" When you have already lost the love of your life, everything else is a piece of cake. Chocolate, I hope.


  1. i hope you get this home. since it will be your choice, the move should provide nothing but excitement and a rising of your spirit. i look forward to hearing that it all goes your way.


  2. Good luck with leasing the house and that it works out. Sounds like the place felt good. That seems to be my own criteria these days -- how it feels to me - first impressions - atmosphere - energy - things like that. I use that even when choosing places to camp when I'm traveling in the back country.

    As for going forward with this plan. Well, you probably know how I feel as I have pretty much done what Don and I had intended to do when he retired. Frankly, from your description about how you are feeling about your work these days, it sounds like you're getting a bit burned out and could use a change of scene. Also, although I know that some of us feel good about living in a place which is familiar and charged with memories, for myself, that just didn't work. I have a very photographic memory and remember very fine details about most things in my life. I can remember almost word for word what my husband and I were talking about as we paddled our canoe along the shore of some lake, or while having a rest break at a lookout along a trail. It was quite painful for me to keep revisiting those places when I was back at the farm last summer while selling the place. I would walk into a space - a familiar launch point along a shore, or a trailhead somewhere - and it felt like I was walking into a room where Don should be waiting. I would look around and feel like there was something wrong and there would be that familiar jolt as reality struck - no, Don would never come back to this place to hike or canoe with me again. I found that so incredibly painful that it was good to be on the road to anywhere else. Some may think I'm avoiding reality, but I live with enough reality each day, that there's no danger I'll ever forget and leave my grief behind. It's a backpack that I carry with me wherever I go - no matter how far. It's just more manageable when I am in control of the time and place to feel grief, instead of constantly being hit over the head by it. (-:

    Oh, I have to say that those last couple of lines about having nothing left to lose making decisions easier - that has been true for me too. Last week, the guy who moved my stuff kept saying, "Aren't you scared to live here? Aren't you scared to travel the way you do?..." I said no a couple of times to his questions, then finally stopped and said, "When you have been through what I've been through over the past three years, there is nothing left with the power to scare you. Nothing." That's how I feel now, and why I seem to be able to do the things that I choose to do.

  3. I can relate to some of what you felt with your job. I too, left my counseling job a year after my husband died. People don't realize the amount of energy it takes to work in that type of environment, constantly nurturing/caring for others. I realized that I couldn't do it anymore because of the grief I was having to get through. There wasn't enough emotional energy left for my clients.

    I wish you all the best, the hope and anticipation that comes with a new beginning and fresh start. I have also reached the point where I contemplate whether picking up stakes would be the best for me. This is such an exciting move for you and I really am happy and maybe even a bit envious too! Loved your closing comment about chocolate cake. I'll have to remember that one. You always have such a great way with words.

    My thoughts are with you and I look forward to hearing of the new developments!

  4. "When you have already lost the love of your life, everything else is a piece of cake." I said something very similar in one of my recent blog posts.

    Hope everything works out with the new house, and I wish you all the best for your move.

  5. ditto, again. "When you have witnessed your partner breathe in, breathe out, and breathe no more, it is hard to care much about the daily list of things to do."