I congratulated myself today for recognizing I'm in a hormonal downswing, and perhaps life isn't completely crashing down around me, as it seems to be. We're midway through this massive transition to our new life in Calgary, and putting it all into words is difficult, but writing is a cathartic process for me, so I'm trying. It's been hard. Harder than I expected. I've feared for the physical safety of my heart several times, as the aching and tightness have taken my breath away. The words "you're so strong, you're so resilient" etc, fall flat when I hear them. I don't feel strong, I can barely choke down toast most days.
After we returned from our "hometown holiday", the reality of this time, and this process, hit me like a bus. The quick sale of the farm initially seemed like a wonderful break, but with the new owners taking possession Oct 1st, our timeline to find housing and get *everything* done is extremely tight. I've been seeking rentals since August, and have learned that when they say "pet friendly" they mean "one small pet". Not three, and certainly none over 50lbs. The kids are tightly bonded with our pets. Our remaining animals are family members, and getting rid of them would be a cruel move, especially so soon after losing Mike. So I decided to put my personal finances to the test and acquire a new mortgage. I'm liquidating every bit of farm equipment and inventory I have for a downpayment, and everything looked great until we hit a tax snag. Family has stepped in via co-signing and we're currently in the intense period of waiting to hear whether financing is approved. By the end of this week, we'll know whether we have a home to move into.
The housing situation has made it impossible to register the girls in school; they don't want to do online (and you have to commit to the full year online now, blech), and I don't want to further disrupt their sense of stability by registering them in one school and then transferring them mid-semester once we've found a home. So we're waiting. I will download the curriculum and hopefully they won't be too far behind when they start.
The day I got bad mortgage news from the bank (which we've hopefully solved via co-signing), my business partnership deal also fell apart. After months of talking and planning, after hearing "I'm 100% in", "I've got you"... after several visits and visioning the lay out of the new farm, after endless hours re-honing the business plan while grieving, of writing projections, having agreements drafted, making plans for fall prep... after all that, the final steps of signing the partnership agreement and incorporating the business spooked this person and they backed out. I feel incredibly burnt and diminished. I feel dropped, and stupid. The future of my business is now a complete unknown. If we get the house, I'll have a yard, which is a start. If we don't, reforming it into anything of interest will be a challenge. So I've been applying for work, on top of all the rest. I've already had a couple interviews and am trying to stay positive, but my chest hurts all the time.
And my entire farm is still here, waiting to be organized, packed, sold off. Dealing with kijiji people is painful. I have no patience for any of it, but it has to be done.
In all of this, there's the grief. The days are up and down, and completely unpredictable. Some mornings I wake up and he's all I can think about. He feels so close, and my entire self misses him so deeply. I cry often, over everything. It's happened several times now where I've opened a Spotify mix created by the algorithms, and I've felt completely convinced the entire playlist was curated by him. It's been uncanny. They strike me like a conversation with him. Each track tells our story, or nudges me with a soft sad humour that just feels like him. The day we buried his ashes, I had The Magnetic Fields' Nothing Matters When We're Dancing in my head: it was in the playlists. John Grant's Outer Space. Smog's Let's Move to the Country. Yo La Tengo's Tears Are in Your Eyes (from And then nothing turned itself inside out, an album that was quintessential to our early relationship). Joni Mitchell's Cactus Tree nearly destroyed me. And so many more that just hit so specifically, and feel so intentional. I don't know. At one point I almost texted his mom to say "he's in the music! Open spotify!" but my more rational self realized not everyone was in the same headspace I was, and if he was in the music, those nudges in those specific songs were just for us, and wouldn't make as much sense to anyone else.
And of course, most important in all this, is the kids' grief. I tried to plan these months out so I could be present for them, and for the most part, I am. They're each moving through it in their own way, but being out here on the farm (which isn't really "ours" anymore), we're in limbo. They're homesick. Their dad's house, their childhood house, is now vacant, repainted, and renovated. Their dad's stuff is packed and waiting for us in a storage pod. They miss him. I keep daily household requests very light, and we talk often. I'm trying not to download any of the other stresses onto them, but they know what's happening. We're all verging on desperation to have the slightest sense of security. We're leaning on the pets to keep us smiling. And we're all comforting each other too. We're all very sensitive to each other's process, we check in and bring each other tea, go for little walks, speak of him often and make silly sad jokes. I'm so glad him and I raised such kind, empathetic kids. We're holding each other up as a tiny, tender little unit.
This past spring, I started making plans for these changes. Since his diagnosis I've tried to be ready, and now it feels like none of my plans or preparations meant anything. I knew things would be hard, but I foresaw the move happening in the fall, at the earliest. I know I keep saying it, but we all thought we had more time. For it all to happen mid summer was a much bigger blow than this family was ready for. I keep feeling like I'm doing everything wrong. How did we end up in such a terrible position? How could I have managed this better? What did I do to cause this? Why can't I dig us out??? We went from having a sweet little farm and a lovely, thriving business, to what feels like no agency and utter disaster.
I'm trying to keep my head clear and move through all these major decisions as best as I can. My brain is a mess. I can't remember the simplest things, yet there are so many demands pressing for attention. I wanted to be in the city for this part. I wanted to be closer to people. I wanted to be unpacked, settled, and focused on just moving through the grief. I find myself feeling wildly alone. How did I end up so alone? I'm so eager to be back in the city, in a home, his things mixed with ours, establishing a new normal. I hate this limbo. I hate not knowing what will happen. I'm a planner and a doer, and I feel like I'm stuck in a desperate bog. This isn't me. This weakness. This sadness. I don't understand any of it.
I should also say, I know that by this time next month, things will feel different, and hopefully easier. I'll reestablish grief counselling, the girls will be in school, I'll find work, I'll see friends, we'll have a clearer picture of everything. I know there's still good ahead. I just can't believe how hard this is.
*this is part of a series of posts I'm plucking away at while processing the loss of my co-parent.