Monday, October 18, 2010

Signing On the Dotted Line

It has been some time since I have turned to my favorite online reference source, Wikipedia. For today's post I searched for the meaning of signature.

The traditional function of a signature is evidential: it is to give evidence of:

1. The provenance of the document (identity)
2. The intention (will) of an individual with regard to that document

After the marriage ceremony, both spouses and the officiant sign the marriage licence. The officiant or couple then files for a certified copy of the marriage licence and a marriage certificate with the appropriate authority.

Today was a significant day for me. One that took great emotional strength, trust in my decisions making, and a willingness to commit to change.

Two years ago I committed to love and honor my husband Michael for all the days of my life. It is a commitment I plan to keep. I will always love Michael, and he will always occupy his place in my heart, and in my daily life. If I look ahead, I know that I am capable of loving again, and if and when I do, it will not take from my commitment to love and honor Michael all the days of my life.

Sometimes in life we make carefully calculated moves, knowing that we are attempting to make a very important decision. And even if we planned, and carefully made our decision, the actual commitment to the change can still be overpowering.

This past spring I made the decision to move myself and the kids back to southern California, and to settle in San Diego. I trusted my inner stirrings about this. I meditated, I prayed, and I took the leap of faith that this was a good decision for me. In making this leap of faith I have no guarantees that things will go as planned, and indeed they didn't. That's not to say that things have gone wrong, on the contrary, I believe they have gone well. It just didn't go as smoothly as I expected, nor did it occur without some emotional growing pains.

Yesterday when visiting my parents, I was talking once with my father about all that I am attempting to accomplish with my new life here in San Diego. My parents tell me they sometimes feel cut off from what exactly is occurring in my daily life, as their health prevents them from visiting down here unless they are well, and someone can drive them. After bringing my father up to date with my retirement, my new job, my San Francisco house, and my prospective new San Diego house, he looked over to me with a sense of pride. He said to me: "Son, I am so proud of you. I want you to realize that you have accomplished so much in this move, and it seems that things are lining up nicely for you. Please don't take anything for granted, as you are quite fortunate in how all this has worked out."

My father is right, I am fortunate. I left a job with a clear plan in place that gave me options regarding an early retirement. I found a temporary home to live in, and enjoyed a summer free of work and free of financial worries. Although I never got the job I initially planned for, I did get the first job I applied to once settled here. I found a buyer for my San Francisco home, and I found a new home that I would like to purchase for the kids and I. Many great accomplishments, and many real blessings.

Some might think it odd that I am choosing to acknowledge blessings when I am on the eve of celebrating a second wedding anniversary without my husband Michael. Today at work my office mate asked me about my wedding and marriage to Michael. She seemed to be aware of our wedding anniversary, and asked how I was doing in general. It was very sweet of her to ask, and we had a nice thorough conversation about it. I told her that I was choosing to wear my wedding ring tomorrow, and in fact, it is already placed on my ring finger.

I must say, it feels so soothing to have my wedding ring on. It will only be for a day, as I don't want it to be a crutch for me.

As my day moved forward there appeared to be a convergence of life's transitions appearing before me. First off was a scheduled appointment with a notary to sign away my SF home to the new buyer. It is officially no longer my home. After the notary left my office, I sat there feeling a bit stunned. It was the end of my work day, and I needed to get across town in order to meet with my current realtor Jonathan. As I drove I began to feel the weight of everything around me. My wedding anniversary tomorrow, my signing away of the home that holds 17 years of memories, and the signing of a committed offer on a new home, which would cement me here in San Diego. I walked into his office, and my appearance must have betrayed my attempt to let go of these building emotions. Jonathan greeted me, and quickly asked if I was okay. Before I could respond I felt like the breath was being knocked out from within me. Yes, I'm okay. "Are you sure Dan? We can just sit and talk?" Thanks. I'm having a bit of a tough time, but I need to not focus on that right now.

We sat down, and I began signing away on the huge mountain of documents that would complete my official offer on the new home. It was a big step.

Am I really ready to commit to this change? Do I have a choice, really?

Change occurred last year when Michael died. It was a change I had anticipated, and it was one that I had committed to.

Until death do us part.

After leaving Jonathan's office, I felt good about this decision to buy the new house. It was what I want and need. It does provide me with the opportunity to begin anew, while also laying down permanent roots.

As I opened the front door to my current house, I reached into the mail box, and pulled out a large envelope from the San Francisco City & County Retirement Office. It was official. I was retired. Or, at lease it will be official as soon I begin signing on the dotted lines, and mail the forms back. I am committing to being in retirement, and to begin receiving my pension. There is no turning back.

It's kind of hard to deny the relevance of all these signing events, these transitions, converging on this single day. I am making a commitment. I am committing to this change.

This is the image I choose to carry with me tonight, and close to my heart tomorrow. This was a moment of commitment. This was a moment of unabashed love. This was a moment that will remain a part of me forever.

This is the man I fell in love with. This is the man I made a commitment to. This is the man that I ache for tonight. This is the man that will always be at my side, cheering me on, making sure I fulfill my commitment to keep on living.


  1. blessings to you on the anniversary of your marriage to Michael, and always.
    your Alaska friend

  2. Dan, you're on my heart. I can relate to everything you wrote. Thinking of you and sending you hugs and loads of love from LA. xoxo

  3. Thinking of you today and one year ago today.

  4. I didn't know Michael and I only know you a little bit from Camp Widow and postings on Facebook, but I do know what losing a spouse feels like and how making decsions to continue living a relevant life is like and I applaud you because I see that you have done good.
    Best to you always.

  5. I want to thank each of you for taking the time to share your thoughts, and well wishes, with me here. I, in turn, wish you all some joy today. You made someone's day easier.

    Thank you.


  6. I understand Dan as I am packing up my home and now moving to another town in Virginia. I hear Erika telling me it is about time! As the home is starting to empty I get a rush of emotions and memories of when we moved in with happiness coming from Arizona and her being German how she loved the 4 seasons here and thinking how did it all go so wrong standing here alone. I get that panic feeling as it gets closer to walking away. I too in hopes of starting a new life and make new memories I see what you wrote Dan and it validates what I am feeling. I had a tattoo done a month ago Erika and Kay forever and a Day it was our saying. It is not that I can not love again to me it is will I ever be as loved as I once was. Hugs to you Dan May your tomorrows be filled with many new memories along with happiness always. Your Friend Kay