Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Home Alone

Home Alone 1 Macaulay Culkin
Originally uploaded by

Just when I thought I could donate no more, I managed to fill another truck load. I have an SUV, which holds quite a bit. I was sharing my strategy of giving away half of what I own to a coworker today. She thought this was a good, and wise, way of moving. I realized tonight that maybe giving things away is becoming too easy. Many of these things that occupied my house are now meaningless to me. It's not that I don't value them, but I have become so immune to loss, so losing more doesn't really phase me.

All day the reality of my decisions were really making me sad. Throughout the day my coworkers would come up to me to ask if I was excited about my move. Up until today I always smiled and said yes, quite enthusiastically. Today I would just nod, and say that it is what's best for me. I couldn't help but think that none of this should be happening. I never would have expected to leave my job, or to leave the Bay Area. Then again, I never really prepared myself for losing Michael.

I got home from work about 5:30 pm, and got right to work. I spent the first hour loading up my SUV with things. Every time I turned around and looked at the save pile, I would go through it once again, and make myself put more in the car. I stopped when there was no room left. I then came upstairs and had a bite to eat, and watched a little bit of "Home Alone" with my son Remy. It felt quite surreal. "Home Alone" in July? It's a Christmas story. After my meal break I got busy packing the kitchen. I did this until 9 pm, then decided I needed to stop. As I came down to my room the tears started. The weight of my decisions, and the emotional toll of all this work has taken a hold on me. This is an enormous task that I have taken on. Yesterday I traded Facebook messages with my sister-in-law. She was telling me that she and my brother are also busy packing to move into their new home, so she sympathized with me. I couldn't help but think about how they are sharing this responsibility, yet here I am doing all this alone.

These days all I can think about is how alone I am. I don't mean to forget my lovely children, but the alone I feel is that of being alone without another adult to share in all of this. They boys have been totally absorbed in their Playstations, which is fine with me. This way I don't feel like I'm neglecting them while I do all this packing. Yet the counter to that is that I feel so alone in the house.

What I need to remember is that when I arrive in San Diego I will be met by several good friends who are wanting to help unload. I will also be able to go see my parents as soon as I have settled everything into the house. I look forward to spending a lot of time with my extended family and friends this summer. Perhaps with all of these people just two hours away, I will not be feeling quite so alone at home.


  1. Believe me when I say that I do know how you feel. Last summer, about this time, and coincidentally, at about the same time out since Don's death, I was in a rather similar position. The house was on the market and I'd just finished working very hard on some much needed repairs. I spent every spare moment packing belongings and loading up a storage locker.

    At that point, I had no place to move. I'd decided against buying a place until my farm sold. I was feeling very alone as there was no one to help me with anything. The new puppy (Sage) was driving me almost out of my mind chewing everything in sight. The house was empty and noisy. I was sleeping on a bed pushed into the corner of our empty bedroom. I felt like a homeless person living in an abandoned warehouse. Every time the real estate office called, I had to rush around tidying up, put the dogs in the van, and take off for a couple of hours when I really had nowhere to go. It was the rainiest summer in years, so the garden got all muddy. People who came to look at the place had to step through mud and then tracked it in on their shoes. I had to rush out and buy ten big sacks of crushed stone then try to fix up the garden so that it didn't look like a swamp.

    The whole situation just seemed so damned overwhelming and depressing. People kept making weird offers on the house that included peculiar conditions for them to try to get financing, that would tie things up for weeks, etc.. I was so lucky to have an experienced agent who gave me good advice on not taking crazy offers.

    Anyhow, yes, sometimes the sadness and anger were almost overwhelming and I would begin to doubt myself. Was I nuts to be doing this alone? Would I live to regret all of this? Sometimes, I'd even feel slight twinges of anger at Don - something I have never normally felt - but I had begun to occasionally think, "Goddammit, why did you die and leave me with this mess!"

    However -- here's the thing that kept me going.

    At the end of each horrible day, I would lie in bed and briefly go over my reasons for moving - the rationalizations I'd made earlier on to come to my final decision. As I went over my list, I'd try to be honest with myself - try to be sure that I hadn't changed my mind. Each time I did this, I realized that I had actually become even more determined and sure that each reason was still valid. After I reviewed my strategy, I'd try to give myself a pep talk. Bev, you're doing great. Wow. Don would be absolutely *amazed* if he saw what you'd accomplished alone! Then I'd try to think of the positive aspects of the move. Soon this would all be over with. The house would be sold. The money would be in the bank. I wouldn't have to stay there trying to sell the place anymore. I'd be on the road again. I'd be free. I could go wherever I wanted. I could look for a house in Nova Scotia. I wasn't trapped by what I was doing. Instead, I was setting myself free. This was going to be a new beginning, not a sad ending.

    It's my guess that, once you are finished up at work and things are pretty much packed up, you're going to feel as though there is a great weight lifted off of you. You're pretty much in the homestretch of this part of the move. It sounds like you're going to have a lot more help at the other end. There's something very encouraging about that. Also, once you get there, you won't be working immediately. Try to make the most of that time while you get settled in. Enjoy the rest of the summer with your kids. Get to really know the area and all it has to offer. Rest, relax, recover.

    That's all the advice I can offer. In retrospect, in my case, moving was worth it in spades. I am hoping you find that to be so too. Just go over your decision one last time - checking your list twice - and if it still makes sense, it's probably time to close your eyes and make the big leap - with no regrets.

  2. Bev, my ever faithful friend. Your words are so comforting. I'm having another of those emotional days. I don't like this. I like to be more in control of my emotions, especially when I'm not in a place where just giving in is an option. Wednesdays are my late getting home days. I didn't get back here until around 8pm, and I really wanted to get more packing done. I'm stressing out, when I really don't have to. My storage unit is pretty full at this point. I wish I would have rented a bigger unit, so that I could empty out more of my house. I think seeing all the furniture still in the house makes me feel like there is lots more to do. I want to see empty rooms.

    But I can say this, I don't regrest my decision. I just want to be at the place where it is all behind me.

  3. I ended up having to rent a second unit when I put my stuff in storage. It worked out okay as the storage company cut me a good deal on a second smaller unit. Yes, it gets pretty stressful when things are happening quite the way you had hoped, but moving is one of those things which just gets done one way or another. Once you're finished up at work, you'll probably feel a better sense of control. I'm glad to read that you don't regret your decision. It sure sounds "right" to me. You're soon going to have all of this behind you. I'm very much looking forward to hearing about how things go once you're relocated to SD!