Friday, March 11, 2011

Loss of a home and losing a piece of myself

Once again I find myself wide awake at 2am. I have done all the usually tricks to help me get to sleep, but tonight, I think there is only one thing that will work. I think the only hope I have of getting some decent sleep is to write about how I am feeling.

Have you ever noticed that there are a few moments of quiet that happens right as you fall asleep? It is the time between the chaos of life and drifting off into the mindless world of sleep. When all the activity of the day falls away, there are just a few moments of peace and quiet that leads you into wonderful slumber. For days I have been laying in bed trying to avoid those moments. For me this time is not a good quiet and I find little peace. This is the quiet that brings on the tears and emotions that I have been stuffing away all day. I have been doing everything possible to avoid this time, putting on movies and watching till I fall asleep, reading until I can’t keep my eyes open. Anything so that at some point exhaustion takes over and I do not have to feel anything. But even with these evasions I have cried myself to sleep almost every night for the past two weeks.

The problems that is causing these tears is not a new problem, in fact the real problem may be that I have been dealing with this for so long and it is taking up energy I don’t have.

As most of you know I moved out of my condo in Nov 2009 and moved in with my parents. I wrote a blog on the eve of moving out titled, "Leaving Home and Leaving a Part of Myself”. I was taking some of my stuff, but the majority of it stayed to be sorted through at a later date. At the time I did feel as though I was leaving a part of me behind, but I did not feel as though I was losing that stuff. It would be there when I needed it.

Last spring we began that sorting. We started going through all my possessions and figuring out what we were going to do with all it. In preparation for putting the condo on the market, we cleaned out a lot of the personal stuff and just left some of the furniture, decorations and such that can give the buyer an impression of what it would be like to live there.

For me it meant packing up a lot of my mementos, pictures, items I have collected over the years. These treasures have now been relegated to a box in my parent’s basement or attic.
Last November I received an offer on the condo, signed the contracts and expected the house to settle by the end of 2010. My parents and I got very busy packing up everything that remained in the house. It seemed like it all went into four categories. 1. Bring it into my parent’s house and incorporate it in to my little room or find a specific role for it in the other rooms of the house. 2. Offer the rest of my family any items they would like to have. 3. Give away anything the family does not want to friends. 4. Designate everything else that is left for a garage sale.

I can’t even begin to tell you how hard that process was and in fact still is as there are boxes stuffed here and there all over the house that need to be gone through.

As hard as that all is, it is not what is keeping me up at night right now. The settlement set for December 2010 was delayed thirty days. At the end of that time, I learned that the buyers had some paperwork problem with the sale of their house and since our settlement is contingent on the sale of their home, our settlement was delayed another 30 days. Nothing about the contract process went easy and I did not really expect this part to go easy either, but one can only hope. In the end of February I learned it could be several months before the issue can be straighten out and every month of delay means another month I am responsible for bills that I just don’t have the money to cover. We worked out a deal with the buyers that they can move into the condo prior to settlement and cover the bulk of expenses. There are a couple good things about this including the monthly bills being covered, but I won’t be able to rest easy until all the paperwork is signed.

As I wrote the statement above, I question if that is really true. I want this whole thing to be over so I can move on, but it certainly won’t be the end of it and I doubt that even then I will be able to rest easy.

Two weekends ago, I walked through the condo for what I am pretty sure was the last time. I took the last remaining items, took some pictures, walked through the empty rooms, now void of any of the warmth and happiness it had when I lived there. I closed the door said goodbye and cried. Even now as I write this and remember what it felt like I am crying. On March 1st, three days after I locked the door for the last time, the soon-to-be owners received the keys to the place and it is now essentially their home now. I feel it is important to tell you that I bought that house on February 28, 1997. I owned that house for exactly 14 years. Some may say a circle has come to a close and owning the place for 14 years down to the exact day is symbolic. I find it ironic that I will always remember how I felt when I signed the papers on Feb 28th 1997 and opened the door to my new home and then on that same day 14 years later I will always remember how it felt to lose it. My blog last year was about leaving my house behind and leaving a part of my behind with it, but what I feel now is the loss of a home and the fear that I have lost a part of myself forever. I will never spend another night in my bed or snuggled up in front of the fire. No more meals created in the tiny kitchen, no more hammock time on the back patio, no more digging in the garden and then watching in awe as the flowers made their way through the dark earth to the sun.

That chapter of my life is over and I am devastated. As I lay in bed crying, I imagine these new people in my home with their furniture and their special possessions and I feel utterly and completely lost. I just want to scream. There is no place for me there anymore. It will never again be my home and after some time goes by there will be little traces that I ever lived there. If only these last three years could be a dream and I will wake up in my bed in my beautiful yellow bedroom to the life I had before. But this is not a dream I can wake up from, this is my reality.

I have been trying hard not to show what I am feeling or how much I am hurting. I put a smile on my face when I talk to people and just tell them I am doing fine. I will say or do anything to ward off the pain of all this for just a bit of time. I have even delayed writing this blog, partly because I hate to admit to people when I am hurting, but mostly because I knew that if I started writing about this, my heart would just finally break open and I would not be able to put it together again. I have been trying to deny how much this affected me and writing this has just opened the dam and now all the feelings are ripping through me. I almost can’t see the computer screen due to the number of tears streaming down my face.

Some people might say things like “It is just a house” or “It is just stuff”. I know they mean well and it is just a house and just stuff, but it was MY STUFF and MY HOUSE. I am heartbroken and the little piece inside me that connected who I am with my home and my things has died. When you think about grief, the big things come to mind; death, illness, divorce. I never really thought that I would have to grieve over leaving and selling my house, but I have come to learn that we need allow ourselves to grieve all areas of our lives where there is any type of loss.

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