Four years ago today, I bought my house. Whoa! I had to stop and reread that sentence because . . . four years, really? The years slipped by so easily, it doesn’t seem possible that I’ve lived here for four years already.
I encountered a few weird instances, such as getting a water bill for 19,000 gallons of water (they said it couldn’t possibly be their new electronic meter that was off because those meters, like all electronic devices, always work perfectly. Yeah, right.) And there were a few scary instances, such as my homeowner’s insurance doubling after it had already almost doubled the year before. But for the most part, buying this house was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. It’s given me comfort and security, focus and confidence.
There’s still much for me to learn about owning a house, but little by little, I’m gaining the knowledge I need, or more specifically, I’m learning who to call to help me with anything that goes wrong. And I’m learning to garden and to take care of a yard. In fact, just this morning, my yard offered me the lovely gift of cheery yellow crocuses.
When I moved here, I had no idea how ideal this area would be for me. I came for the house, but I also found neighbors, friends, a library, a job, and so much more.
During all those years of being lost in grief after Jeff died, I held on to the hope of a something wonderful in my future because shouldn’t a supreme sorrow be balanced by at least a modicum of joy? And here it is, my something wonderful. My house. My home. For almost a decade, even though I had places to live, I always felt homeless. Jeff had been my home, and with him gone, I felt rootless. And now, I am putting down roots. Literal roots. Every time I plant something, I am both symbolically and actually putting down roots.
Being here gives me a sense of the ebb and flow of life. Not that I needed any reminders, considering how many people in my family have died the past decade or so, but still, I feel the flow of seasons. The life and death and rebirth of plants. And, unfortunately, the coming and going of friends. In the short time I’ve been here, I’ve already lost friends due to moving, ill health, and even death.
I also feel the ebb and flow of my own life and am so grateful for the waves that washed me up on this particular shore. I have to smile at that the silliness of that metaphor. Not only is it trite, but it is inapt since there are no waves around here — just miles of empty prairie. But still, here I am, and with any luck, here’s where I will stay for many more years.
Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.