New Beginnings

After weeks of unseasonably  warm weather, naturally it was cold and raining on the day I moved into my new place. Luckily I had lots of help and the move went quickly – three hours from time we pulled the U-Haul up to the storage facility until the last box was unloaded. There was only one stressful moment, when it looked like my fridge didn’t quite fit. The stress all came later.

That evening in the parking lot at Target, I flashed back to the day Mike and I moved in together, five years ago this month. Now that was a long, difficult move. Loading everything from my one-bedroom place in West Hollywood, a few things from his workshop, and everything from his apartment in Newhall took all day. By the time we got to our new home, it was late and both of our helpers had to bail. We pulled a futon mattress from the back of the truck in the rain (yes, it was raining that day too) and went to Wal-Mart to buy a couple of pillows and a blanket. I was exhausted and on my last nerve, but I stayed calm and tried to be cheerful. I didn’t want Mike to think that I was going to become whiney and demanding the minute we moved in together. And once I was snuggled up with him on that mattress on the floor, I didn’t care that the pillow was uncomfortable or that there was too much light from the parking lot below our bedroom window. All that mattered was that I was with the man I loved and we were starting a new life together.

Standing  in the Target parking lot on Sunday evening, poised again at the beginning of a new life, I could barely restrain the tears. When I made my bed that night and crawled between the soft sheets alone, there was no holding them back. The new space felt strange and lonely, and the bed was empty without Mike. I cried myself to sleep.

At Lowe’s the next day, picking out shelves for my new bathroom with my brother, the smell of sawdust triggered a powerful sensory memory – Mike in the garage, building guitar cases – and I was achingly aware of the void left by his death. I’ll never again chat with him while he sculpts or puts together a guitar or sketches a new design. He won’t be around to take my car in for repairs or run to the pharmacy for me when I’m sick. I’ll never again curl up in his arms and talk for an hour before we fall asleep. I miss my husband, damn it. I don’t want to start all over again, alone.

Tonight is my first night alone in the new place, and it’s hard not to give in to loneliness. I remind myself that I’m not really alone. I have my big brother, Thom, who drove up from San Diego and spent four days helping me get settled in, as well as the rest of my family. I have my best friend right across the street, many other good friends, a wonderful therapist, and my suicide survivors support group.

And the new place is already beginning to feel like mine, as one by one the boxes disappear and familiar furnishings fill the rooms. It’s bittersweet unpacking our wedding photos and placing the stemware we received as a wedding gift in the wine glass rack. But unpacking my mom’s good silver made me smile. I will make a home here… from the pieces of my life with Mike, pieces of my life before Mike, and pieces of life after Mike.


~ by hourbeforedawn on February 4, 2011.

One Response to “New Beginnings”

  1. Lira, I love you ((((((giant ass hug))))))))

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