March to December – Summary Catch-up – Letting Go

A wise therapist/psychologist/wonderful human told me there are three things we must learn. One is to love fully. Two is to allow ourselves to be loved completely. Three is to let go. Of what? Of everything.

It has been such a long time since my last post. Much has happened since March. Many major shifts. 

I realized I couldn’t afford to stay in my house. I knew the day would come when I would have to move. I had already donated  Emilee’s clothes and shoes around a year after she died. It took a few starts and stops. Giving a loved one’s clothes away – I felt like I was betraying her, that donating her possessions was getting rid of her. I know that makes no logical sense.

Even though the clothes were going to people who desperately needed them and couldn’t afford them, and it was what she wanted me to do, it was still gut wrenching. I don’t know why, but shoes in particular. The ones she wore all the time. I wanted to save them, to hold onto something tangible. Things that touched her body I wanted to keep. Everything went to a meaningful place – a thrift shop that was part of a local community center that provided meals, non-perishables, and clothing to those in need. Emilee’s daughter assisted managing the center. Emilee was smiling. I was torn up.

A year later I started with Emilee’s enormous fabric collection. Most people who sew are fabric hoarders and Em was no exception. I donated it to a group that makes quilts for cancer patients. The clothes, and then the fabric, were a tough start to “letting go.” The rest was “stuff”, but so much has emotional connections. And, there is so much of it. If you get a chance to watch George Carlin’s routine on “stuff” on YouTube, I think you’ll enjoy a few laughs. After the donation, I still had a huge amount of sewing related inventory, and the sewing machines, but it was a good start.

By June I had a realtor. By August I was doing an online auction to sell most of my household furniture and everything that had been collected over the years. Things we bought together, bought for each other, made together. 

I will come back when I can and fill in details, but for now I will summarize. The house was listed on September 12, a Thursday. The open house was that weekend, on Sunday. On Monday, I had four offers, one of them being at asking, the others above but each with contingencies. I went with the asking price offer, and it turned out well. From listing date to closing date took three months.

I closed two weeks ago. I am in a hotel. I am leaving to spend ten days in Florida, looking at a retirement village for a few days, visiting my brother, then going on a tour of Panama geared to those considering a move there. Over the last few months I have visited two potential “move to” destinations, neither one feeling quite right. One was in Mexico, one in Costa Rica.

I am hoping this trip to Panama has me wanting to explore what Panama has to offer. I am ready to find a place I want to get to know well. I want the spring-like weather of the mountains, and I want to know where I am laying my head down each night for an extended period of time.

I am in a very nice hotel, a Homewood Suites. I was in a gross motel for thirteen days. This feels like a Christmas song. On the first day, I asked them to attend to the grease and dirt on top of the kitchen cabinets, among a few other items. I won’t bore us with the disgusting details of all the days.

To end the song, on the twelfth day,  I had enough of the management’s excuses for not attending to extended stay patrons, and after I was told I could leave if I wanted to, I took a deep breath and said I would leave the following day.

Turned out to be a good thing. For one, I am in a much nicer place. Much nicer. Secondly, I needed to pare down what I am carting around with me and get the rest into the rented storage room. Yes, I would still have to make the “stuff” in the storage room disappear so I could eliminate the need for storage. I kept repeating to myself, one thing at a time.

Keep in mind I don’t like the discomfort of uncertainty. You could say I am a discomfort phobic. With some therapeutic help, I am learning to tolerate these things, to face them, do what I need to do, and not run. It’s not easy. But I am handling the challenges one at a time and I have not died. Not yet. Each step along the way has helped to add a little more confidence that I will manage what I have to as things arise.

One of the biggest challenges was after the online auction, I still had leftover “stuff” that I had to either donate, throw out, or put in storage. There were moments, lots of moments, I wasn’t sure I would get it all done, but one little bit at a time I did it. By myself. I packed, I moved, I went back and forth to storage, to IRIS (Integrated Refugee and Immigration Services) to donate, and to a consignment shop. I finished the last few details an hour and a half before the final walk-through of the house by the buyers. The house was empty, the storage room full, and my car stuffed.  

I am taking one carry-on bag with me on this trip. I will come back to make to the storage disappear, then drive to Florida, and sell my car. I mailed my medications supply (you know, the 90 days worth of pills for each prescription) to my brother in Florida for now. I thought I would take them in my bag. They don’t fit. Mailing them to him was perfect. I have what I need.

I have moments where I am thinking clearly, but for the most part those moments are punctuating a rather confused, semi-functional brain that takes longer to accomplish tasks than I would prefer. It is what it is. I am getting things done, even if they take a little longer. I breathe deeply as often as I can, and keep practicing managing the stress as I feel it rushing to overtake my body. I repeat my mantra, “take a deep breath, and take one step at a time.”

Where will I be in a few weeks? Stay tuned in to find out. I plan to.