I am sitting in my writing chair, looking out at Navy Pier. I moved in on Saturday, just me, my daughter and the movers. The movers were young kids, nice and polite. They went against the curmudgeon speak of “these kids nowadays”. And the move went smooth with a few hiccups here and there, but, as my daughter and I kept saying throughout this weekend, “we’ll figure it out”, and we did. It’s been kind of our mantra since Peter died.
Everything is unpacked now. The cable and WiFi connected, pictures are on the wall, clothes hung up and everything needing to be assembled, minus, one, is done. We kicked ass. We were like Rosie the Riveter. The apartment is now ready for me to live in.
My daughter was an amazing support for me this weekend. I can’t tell you how proud I am of her organizational skills and her patience for mine, or lack thereof. She held me up emotionally as well. When we went out to dinner, she toasted me with words of encouragement, a nod to the past four months, an acknowledgment for all that I did for her, her brother and her father, and wishing me the best in this new life of mine. All of what she said, I needed to hear.
I’m still having some issues embracing this all. I mean, six months ago, I led a totally opposite life with the man I loved. Now, I have different freedoms I don’t know what to do with. I’m living in an apartment I feel as though I’m house-sitting for someone else. It’s difficult for me to imagine a day of writing, without interruption. It’s all so surreal and kind of big for me to wrap my head around. As I said over and over in texts, “but here it is…and here I am”.
The weekend was exhausting. I mentioned once before, exhaustion should be added to the stages of grief. I wonder if there’s a petition I can start? Hmmm. Anyway, of course, I was exhausted physically. This old grey mare who is out of shape, took some hits with moving boxes, packing, going up and downstairs, etc. etc. And I was emotionally exhausted. Leaving behind the home I had, if only for an escape, and packing up half of my life without Peter into boxes, left its impact on me. As excited as I was to move to my apartment, away from the memories, and to heal in a different way, it also meant I was leaving a comfort.
I won’t lie. I am worried here, alone, by myself in this city of my heart. I haven’t been alone in over thirty years. And as much as I have done these past four months on my own, they were all connected to Peter. Now, I am left alone in MY life. This is MY apartment. MY bills I set up. It’s all about MY choices from now on. MY making it or breaking it without anyone to fall back on. MYself as MY own security. There are a lot of MY’s… too many MY’s and that’s scary as hell. It’s not what I signed up for, was prepared for, wanted, needed and goes against who I was for the past thirty-plus years.
Here’s what I know. First, I will make it. I have to. After all packing and unpacking, God I have to make it if only for six months. I don’t have the stamina to do this again for a long time. Plus, I am a kickass woman.
Second, this new life has to be broken in before I can be totally comfortable wearing it. In the meantime, I have to enjoy the look.
Third, I feel apprehension from moving away from what I had. While the past is a mighty cozy friend and has enough power to yank me back sometimes, I know I have to move on or else I’ll never move on.
Fourth, I don’t know how to even begin my new life. I’ve taken steps toward it, but I am still not in it. I still feel like a married, at-home mom, suburbanite. Yet, I know my definition has changed, and I want to be in, really want to be in, the new life I have now. I suppose moving toward it is the only way to get in it.
Finally, I have some guilt when contentment, even happiness, seeps into me. I know I can’t. This was handed to me. I never chose it. I never caused it. I never asked for it. It was handed to me and I have to battle my feelings of guilt with all of that as my weapon. I’m wielding it more and more, but not as much as I should. Guilt is strong in my life, and it’s going to take many more battles to win the war against it.
I moved into my apartment this weekend, and when I did, I moved closer to living a life without Peter. My new digs will not take away my grief. It won’t miraculously cure me of my despair. It’s a huge adjustment and it will cause different angst, anger, longing, and sadness. It is also a beginning toward something. It will remind me I am not standing still in my puddle of grief. I can’t let that happen to my kids, and most importantly, to me and I won’t. I need to change my life’s view in order for me to see the beauty in it again. And right now, sitting in my chair, writing, with the view of Navy Pier, I’m off to a great start.