When my husband passed suddenly at the age of 32, I was quite pregnant with our second child and was a stay at home mother to our then 18 month old. Despite being an intelligent and capable 31 year old woman, I was unemployed and unable to be employed for the foreseeable future. As a result of this, and clearly needing support for my broken heart, we moved in with my parents that same night. I told myself it was going to be temporary, until I was through the newborn phase when baby arrived and adjusted to handling our two children under 3. But as things moved along, it became starkly apparent that I was going to be unable to continue holding on to our home as I’d so desperately hoped, and I had to make the devastating decision to let it go. See, we had just purchased this home less than a year prior and it was steal-of-deal fixer upper with great bones and only in need of a cosmetic facelift, one we were going to happily tackle together. It was in one of our dream neighbourhoods and we could visualize our lives unfolding there – our kids growing up, the fire pit in the back yard, the greenhouse off the kitchen, and the modern minimalist farmhouse decor. So to have to make the decision to let this dream go absolutely crushed what was left of me, however in order to be the best mother to our children, I knew its what had to happen. If I were to keep it, I’d have to go back to work more than full time much sooner than our boys deserved, and even then we’d be scraping by. So in order to secure us stability now and in the future, I decided to sell, and finish my degree as we’d planned. Thankfully I was able to sell it to another young couple starting their family who has intentions on moving again in about 5 years, and promised they would contact me first when they’re ready to list. A silver lining on a damn thundercloud, but a silver lining nonetheless.
As a result of letting our home go, I moved in semi permanently with my parents. I have an immense amount of gratitude that my parents work from home, are financially capable of housing us, and that we have a good relationship with them, however having to share a space on the same floor as them was a challenge, just logistically even. Even as a teenager my brother and I were fortunate enough to have always had our bedrooms in the basement with a living room of our own even, and my husband and I had been on our own for well over a decade. Not only that, but we had collected a home full of our things, our memories, that now no longer surrounded me, and it felt foreign, like I was away on a strange and tragic vacation without my husband, who should be at home waiting for me to return. Anyhow, my parents had been working away on self-renovating their basement into a full suite, and the arrival of their daughter and grandkids escalated their pace to the best of their time and abilities. Renovations, on top of running their booming at home business, kept them more than busy 7 days a week for over 8 months (selfless saviours they are), but alas, we were able to move down to a bright and sunny, full, private entrance basement suite at the beginning of May. Jump for joy, right? Wrong.
I had been so anxiously awaiting the ability to have our own space, and to have our pots and pans, our couch, our bed, my clothes, that what actually happened slammed me against the wall and held me there for days. Unpacking our home, the home that I had to pack up after losing my husband, the home that we had built for over a decade, was painful and heart wrenching – to say the least. Everything had memories of my husbands all over it, and the wallop that packed was devastating. As I opened boxes, bleary eyed from the constant barrage of tears trying to tumble down my face, and placed our home in a new home, it broke my heart. It felt like a gut punch having to set up a new space that he will never physically be in. It took me several days of anxiety, tears and sleepless nights to remember something that changed everything – he’s still here. He may not have a body, but he’s literally here as I unpack, and I cannot stress that enough. How could I have forgotten? Even as a medium, grief stole my ability to remember how tangibly close my husband really is as I conquer this uncomfortable task. As soon as I had that realization I felt the weight lift from my chest and suddenly I felt him unpacking boxes with me, giving me inspiration on where to put things, laughing as I rearranged the kitchen cupboards for 17th time, and lovingly embracing me as I work through these complicated emotions. Suddenly I was setting up our home again. Our new home, together, as a new kind of family.
You see, grief has left this unfathomable chasm in my chest, one that sometimes feels so hollow that I forget how close he is. I forget some days that if I close my eyes and tune into that seemingly empty chasm, its actually filled with him. Theres a song by The Revivalists that my husband sent me after he passed and some of the lyrics go “I’m never going to lose you, I’ve got you deep inside my chest, and I can feel you beating like the soul of a drummer boy,” and that’s just it – he’s deep inside my chest and I can’t lose him, ever. I want you to know that too. You simply cannot lose your husband, hes deep inside your chest and he will always beat in there, and if you too close your eyes and tune in to your heart, you’ll hear him speak to you – and that, is the simple and magical the truth of spirit.