about writing and life and God

Making home

on July 19, 2013

Widows (and widowers) are usually advised not to make any drastic changes in the first months of bereavement. Those hasty actions will be fuelled by their emotional disarray and probably won’t reflect who they are when they’ve progressed through the grieving to a place of acceptance and peace.

The two most likely drastic actions tend to be to latch onto an instant replacement for their lost spouse, and to move house – in a  futile attempt to get away from the grief and unhappiness they are currently experiencing.

I made both those mistakes when I was widowed very suddenly in late 1994. I did not realise that by moving house I was moving away from my support network, from the happy memories I would need to sustain me, from the familiar that would support me when I couldn’t think straight… So many extra – and wholly unnecessary – losses, and self-inflicted to make them worse!

I moved home recently and am living in rented accommodation ‘for the time being’. I needed to free up capital to pay my current husband’s care home fees and did not want to make a mistake that would have long-term ramifications by buying a property when not thinking completely straight.

At first, my lovely little rented house felt like student living: no responsibilities apart from paying the rent and keeping it clean! But now I am finding out the drawbacks – and being surprised by what I discover really matters to me about where I live.

I like to know I have nice friendly neighbours but I appreciate a quiet private garden. I do not like being bombarded by noise, especially other people’s ‘music’! And I like a real garden. My little maintenance-virtually-free yard just does not do it for me!

Digital Image

So I’m debating whether to launch into a transformation with lots of pots full of plants and so on. And realising how spoilt I have been in the past!

I like to be tidy – which means sufficient storage space for my possessions. I’m now at the stage of trying to decide whether to get rid of more things (that I might later regret) or buying more bookcases and storage.

The problem is that I don’t know how long I’m going to be here. Yes, I know it’s up to me – or rather, God, who at the moment doesn’t appear to be telling me to pack up my tent again. I like living so close to town, railway stations, church, library and so on. The downsides are few… so why not stay?

I think the major problem is that I keep apologising to the cats! The conservatory has been reaching over 100′ and the ‘garden’ does not offer them shady places to lie out in the noonday sun. They haven’t left home yet but Bella, the talkative cat, certainly has plenty to say about it! So I apologise – and my memory floods with pictures of my gardens in previous homes. Crazy really when one of the reasons I was  happy about leaving the last house was that the garden was too big for me to manage on my own!

I know I’m blessed to have a roof above my head, to have enough money to pay for it and even be able to consider buying more furniture or pot plants!

And I know what this really is all about is a kind of grieving – for the life I had hoped for: home and marriage and all the hopes and expectations that come packaged up in those. It’s a kind of culture-shock, the realisation that this is where I am and this is what my life is now. I can continue to kick against it – whinge and complain – or knuckle down to make a life worth living. And that demands acceptance first and foremost. Not something I’m good at.

But despite what it looks like and often feels like, I’m not in this on my own because Jesus has promised never to leave me. What I need more than anything is His peace in my heart and then maybe I’ll be able to decide about pot plants or book cases – or both!


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