I'm a Widow
It’s been almost 13.5 months since I moved out of our Shay house and into a temporary rental unit in Point Richmond, one year since I closed on our Shay house, and almost nine months since I “temporarily” moved from the Bay Rea to So Cal to quarantine during the COVID-19 global pandemic. I tell people that I’ve been living in transition for the last year since I sold our house, but the more I think about it, I’ve been living in transition since you passed away 3.5 years ago.
In March of 2020, the world literally shut-down when the COVID-19 virus was rapidly spreading and killing millions around the world. In April, there was so much uncertainty, confusion, and hysteria as the world was forced to stay home and quarantine. First, it was just for two to four weeks, but as time wore on, the quarantine kept extending and I was afraid the economy was going to tank and home prices were going to dropped, so I decided to quickly list our house for sale in April. Mentally and financially, I always knew it did not make sense to hold on to our home, even if it was supposed to be our forever home, especially when I only occupied a quarter of the house. But, emotionally, it was very hard to even thinking of selling the house. It was our dream home, and we were supposed to grow old and spend the rest of our lives there. Although I knew the right thing to do was to sell the house, I had always sat on the fence about it. I couldn’t decide if it was something I wanted to hold on to or let go of. Neither options were ideal so I was indifferent, which didn’t help the situation. But, about a year and half after you passed, I did come to the realization and conclusion that the house held no sentimental meaning or value to anybody except you and me. So, even after I passed, the house would be sold at some point anyways since all my heirs live in So Cal, it was unlikely they would live in the house and how would it be split between them also? Another thought that came to mind was also, “What if I remarry? Did I just expect my new husband to move into the house we shared?” These questions kept swirling around in my head, and at times, they kept me up at night. There were really no answers to these questions that made keeping the house advantageous. Although I knew what the right answer to was to whether I should sell the house or not, I wasn’t in a rush and I was indifferent either way. However, with the uncertainty and bleak economic as the world was forced to shut-down and / or work from home, I was afraid home prices were going to take a big hit and I would have to sell the house at a loss or be forced to continue living in the indefinitely until home prices recovered. As you know, I like options and prefer to choose then be forced into anything. So, ultimately, I chose the option that afford me more options and freedom, whether I was ready for it or not. COVID-19 was the catalyst that forced me into a corner to finally make the decision I knew I had to make but was afraid and unready to make.
I always thought that after I sold our house, I would somehow magically feel less stuck, trapped, aimless, frustrated, and contentious. I mean, it was the largest “burden” from our life together that I had to deal with. Whether I was willing to admit it or not, I always knew in the back of my mind that the house played a large part in why I always felt so trapped and stuck. There was never a doubt in my mind that selling the house was not the “right” decision, but I was never able to wrap my head around the decision since I was so scared and afraid of venturing into the “great unknown.” I didn’t have a plan for “what’s next,” so living in the house always felt safe and comfortable even if it held me back and made me feel trapped and stuck. So, I continued to put off the decision even though I knew what the right decision was, and not being able to mobilize myself even though I knew what the right decision was drove me utterly insane and crazy and played a major reason for why I always felt so aimless, frustrated, and contentious. I’ve always the type of person who’s able to analyze and rationalize a situation quickly and take appropriate action in a timely manner. I couldn’t understand why it was so hard for me to do the right thing that would result in a better situation for myself. I was never the type of person who held on to things and couldn’t let go, so I felt like I didn’t know myself anymore and there was always an internal struggle and battle raging on inside of me. Do I need to say it?! “I was completely a HOT MESS?!” So, you’d think that after I sold the house and the money was wired into my account, all my worries would have dissipated!! But that was definitely not the case. If anything, I grew more frustrated and impatient that I didn’t feel better. I did feel less trapped, but I still felt very stuck, frustrated, contentious, and aimless. There were many instances where I would sit at the rental unit and contemplate how nothing has changed except for my location. Not feeling better after selling the house was such a large source of contention and confusion for me. The confusion just made me more impatient and angrier at myself for not feeling better. I started to question whether I made the right decision to sell the house or not and it didn’t help that I was going in and out of depression from being so socially isolated during the quarantine. I was literally going through weeks without talking to or seeing anybody. There were only so many conversations I can have with myself and the animals. So, in mid-Oct, after seven months of quarantining by myself and when return to work kept pushing out, I eventually decided to temporarily relocate to So Cal and quarantine near my family. It seems odd that I would make a decision like that, right?! Yeah, I surprised myself as well with that decision. I never would have thought I would ever make a decision like that in my life but it made sense in my mind and it was just a temporary situation to help alleviate the social isolation I was feeling during the quarantine. I would move back when it was time to go back to work. I was working from home, so technically I could work from anywhere, and since I sold our house and was renting, I wasn’t attached to anything so I could literally live anywhere. So, that was the plan, I would temporarily relocate to So Cal and quarantine with my family.
It’s been nine months since I’ve been quarantining in So Cal and my life and routines have become unrecognizable. Whenever I think about it, it’s almost unfathomable that I’ve been living with my parents for nine months in So Cal. If you told me that I would be living like this after you passed or when the pandemic started, I think I would have laughed in your face at the absurdity of it all. At the end of the day, what finally occurred to me during those numerous conversations I was having with myself in my head at the rental unit while being socially isolated from the world was that I had to throw out the playbook I was operating from. Honestly, if I had to really look at my life after you passed, not much had changed except I was doing everything by myself and at some point, I was living at a different place. Everything was more or less the same even after I sold our house. Except for a global pandemic and social isolation, I was still ultimately living the same life but just in a different location and without you.
So, the biggest risk I took after selling the house was moving to So Cal to quarantine temporarily with my family. There are often times where I would look at how I’ve been living in “transition” for the last year, and I would feel sorry for myself when I realized that I would never be in this situation, even during a global pandemic, if you hadn’t passed away. It literally brings me to tears and an emotional break-down whenever I think about this. It also forces me to really accept the fact that you’re dead. You’re not coming home and I’m a widow. I’m a widow. I’m a widow. That’s who I am now – I’m a widow.
10/18/2022 05:28:25 pm
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11/2/2022 04:08:34 pm
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A grieving widow who is trying to find meaning and purpose from her tragic event.