It has been several months since I posted a blog entry as I really have had nothing to write about. Or maybe, I have and I just haven’t felt like writing. This morning I was lying in bed thinking about the previous day where my husband and I worked in our yard, trimming back all the many bushes that grows in our quarter of acre patch. Working in the yard since my mother passed March of 2014, is bittersweet to say the least. She is the one who walked into this house the summer of 2000 while I was a single mother and said, Laura, this is your house, I can feel it. And so it is and has been for almost fifteen years.
When I moved into the house it had precisely two lines of honeysuckle bushes lining the back yard, evergreens in the front, one old maple, one old crabapple and two ash trees by the front street in the city-owned strip. Now it is full of anything that flowers. Over the years my mom and I have bought things for this yard, I have divisions of plants that come from my great-grandmother’s yard. We pass down plants like some people pass down family heirlooms such as an antique clock or jewelry. You can’t be from my mom’s side of the family and not want to dig in the dirt. So now when I work in my yard, it is like walking among a tapestry of memories. Here is the lilacs my grandmother gave me years ago. Here are the forsythia bushes my mom bought me on sale a the nursery. Almost every plant is tied to a memory including ones my kids bought me for Mother’s Day.
As I sat on my front porch after we had completed a long overdue task as I let much of the yard work go last year because I couldn’t even bear to even pull weeds in my gardens full of memories, I felt so restless. My husband recently asked if we could look for a new house in a town about 20 minutes south of our current one so he could cut down his hour drive to work. We had talked about it when we first got together, moving about halfway once my daughters had graduated high school. This of course started a ripple of anxiety, stress and uncertainty in me. On one hand I wanted to dig in and say well we don’t owe much on this house, why go into debt and on the other hand, I did make that promise to him seven years prior. The search has netted little. We did make an offer on a house outside of town that I think we both thought would work but neither of us was thrilled with the idea of living there.
The only house that really excited us was pushing our mortgage limit. It is also a uniquely designed home from the late 1970’s that would be hard to sell. It’s already been on the market over two years so we would have to really commit to this home. But as we put the mortgage payment that would accompany this 5 bedroom, 5 bath, 6 level house tucked in the woods, we cringe at what it does to our discretionary money. There just isn’t much left over. We reconsidered it last night after a month of letting it sit on the discussion table, even driving by it and thinking oh how perfect it is for us because it’s secluded and everyone else in this “neighborhood” seems to be just like us. Wanting to be left alone. Coming home, he ran the numbers and said it just makes us too tight unless they came down significantly. We sigh and let it go. Maybe it just isn’t the time to move. Or maybe deep down we are both struggling with grief and we don’t want to truly move, though that is probably more me than my husband.
However, I have days where I think, I want to start over in a new town. One that isn’t full of memories and in a house where we just start over. Then I think about the town that is half way between our jobs and I am less than excited about moving. It’s a little bigger than my current town, puts me closer to things I do often, more stores, restaurants, etc. but it’s not my dream town. Then my mind thinks, well do I even want to live in Ohio? Maybe I want to move back south? Then I think well maybe we should just bite the bullet on that expensive house. Then I think no, I don’t want that financial stress. In other words, I don’t think I know what I want. There are days I don’t feel I fit in my hometown at all. And other days it feels like home. Days where my house feels like a warm, blanket of love and other days where I feel weird and restless in it because I see so many memories that include my mom.
Grief, I realize manifests itself in so many unexpected ways. For me it can be as simple as weeding around one of the roses my mom bought me that can trigger it. Walking into the garden section of any local store. In addition, I am at that point in my life where everything has changed for me. My daughters are all out of high school, one graduated college and one in college. They are all independent and my mothering duties are slight. I no longer have parents to take care of. People call it empty nest but all my girls still live at home for the moment. I work in the same place my mom retired from and my middle daughter works. I walk the halls my mother used to walk for many years. My life is like a shrine to my mother almost. I live in the same town, in a house she helped me choose and at a job where there are constant reminders of her. Even some of my documents show the author as being her because the templates she created. And I was always in her shadow. She worked her way up to the top of the food chain at our company while I chose to stay in much more quiet roles. Mostly because I saw what the stress did to her.
Now that I am at a point in my life that it is much like that last year of high school where I am scrambling trying to decide what direction I want my life to take, I find myself quite lost at times. I realize how short life is so I want to live it to the fullest, do the things that make me happy but I am not really sure what all that is anymore. What was important to me two years ago is no longer important to me today. Watching someone die, you realize how little in life is truly important. I”ve narrowed it down to the people you love, helping others and enjoying life. What other people think doesn’t matter at all. What you own doesn’t matter unless you get a lot of enjoyment out of that purchase. I suppose for me, it is much like waiting for my calling to be revealed. I sense there is something, not sure what, but it is out there.
Maybe I just am being taught to be patient, maybe I am being given time to heal before suiting up for my next big adventure…