Wednesday, September 25, 2013

There's No Place Like Home ......

...... even if it's a brand new home.
And sometimes ...... especially if it's a brand new home.
(Not new as in newly built, but new as in new to you.)

As most of you know, I've been splitting my time between Houston and New York City.
And I've loved being in NY.
I've always loved being in NY, but now I love it for additional reasons.
And the biggest reason is because ...... it's not like home.
Or rather, the place that used to be home.

If someone would've told me in the first two years of my "after" that I would soon want to leave the place that had been home to us for almost 20 years, I would've told them that they were crazy.  I could not imagine leaving our house, our/my friends ...... our community.

But it's now been almost 6 years (how can that really be possible?) since Jim died.  And time, at least for me, has changed how I feel.
I still love our/my friends and our community, but things are ...... different.
And I now have a love/hate relationship with our house.

I have no idea why I didn't feel this way from the beginning, or why it's only grown stronger over time, but my home is becoming a house.
A house that I'm starting to resent because of all of the upkeep and cost it requires.
And because he's not there.
Particularly because he's not there.
My house and my community no longer feel like home.

To me, the words "There's no place like home" have a double-edged meaning.
There's no place like home, when it hurts to be there.  No other place has the capability to cause me pain, sadness and hurt.

There's no place like home, when you know there's no other place you'd rather be.
And for me, that's the place where Jim didn't live.  He's not supposed to be there.
It's the place where people know me as Janine ...... not as Jim's widow.
It's the place where I feel 100% comfortable and 100% accepted for who I am, rather than being treated differently because of who I was, or for who I am now.

This morning I woke up in Texas.  Tonight I'm falling asleep in New York.
 When I woke up, my first thought was this:
"I'm going home today!"
 It was a thought that just popped into my head.  It wasn't even a conscious effort.  I was surprised when it happened.
Surprised and happy.

Right now, at this point in my life, for however long it lasts ...... I feel like I've finally found my new home.
I'm going to enjoy that feeling, and my new home, as long as it's there ...... which I hope is a very long time.  But if it's not, that will be OK.
Because I know this:  If I can choose to pick up and move some place all on my own once ...... I can certainly do it again.

Because there really is no place like home.


  1. so glad you are finding "home" and comfort in your surroundings, where ever it may be. ( And I'm pretty happy for now it's on the east coast!!!).

  2. "My home is becoming a house", too. Painters this summer, driveway sealed, roofer this week, plumber next....planning on departing this next spring. I look around at all his touches (he designed and built it) and some days can't imagine leaving, but find it hard to move on from "our life" to "my life" while still in this space. I still expect to walk into a room and see him there.

    So nice you have found your new home, at least for now. I dread the looking process, I have already walked out of some places in tears. How do you do it? I know I have to, but I keep dragging my feet and I guess I just haven't found that place that I can see myself in yet. I do like your last thought, that if you can move once, you can do it again; have to keep that in mind. Thanks, Janine, nice to know if you can do I can too.

    1. Cathy,
      For me, it was like everything else in this "after". It just occurred to me one day that I really wanted to move forward with plan that the two of us had discussed (briefly, a few months before he died). I figured that once my youngest was off to college, it would be time for me. So I moved forward. It hasn't always been easy, and it hasn't always been without tears, but it's always felt right.
      Like everything else that we do now, the timing is different for everyone. Whether it's taking off our rings, putting away their things, or finding a new home ...... it has to feel right. There's no correct time and there's no forcing it.
      You'll know when you're ready. Until then, just focus on today.
      One day at a time.

  3. Janine, what a vote of confidence for the rest of us that haven't yet made that leap. Like Cathy, I keep dragging my feet as well unsure of what is beyond the house we called "our" home but yearning for "my" new home. The emotional pull, as we all know, can be quite intense. I hope I can get there!

    Thank you for being such a strong inspiration!

    1. Anon,
      Thank you for your kind words. It always helps to know that the things we experience can help someone else ...... and maybe let them know they're not alone.
      If you're dragging your feet then it's not time ...... yet.
      The time will come, and when it does, for whatever it is that is next for you ...... you'll know. And then you'll be ready. I'm not saying it will be easy, but you'll know it's time and you'll be strong enough to take that step.
      I know you'll get there. And I look forward to hearing all about it when you do.

  4. Last week, I left our old home. What as a comfort for the first two years had become a constant kick in the gut for the last two years. So now - here I am, perched in a whole state, but not quite Here yet: sleeping on the couch, all my stuff in boxes, waiting to find my next Home. Crabby, tired, and resentful - just want to be home NOW. But I look, and see all that I've done, how long this road has been to come here, and I know I did alright. Reflecting on all that won't come until I'm home though.

    Thanks Janine.

    1. Megan,
      Wow, you've made the first step. Good for you! And yes, when we look back it can be amazing to see how very far we've come. We truly are stronger than we believe sometimes.
      Which is one reason why I'm here ...... to remind you and everyone else to keep breathing.
      And to look back once in a while to see how far you've come.
      I'm here ...... cheering you on.
      And wishing the best for you.

  5. Your posts give me hope, thank you. It has only been two years and I still feel like a disaster that can't do anything right and like I really wish I didn't have to be here. I have three kids, ages six to seventeen, so I can't go anywhere. I just can't cause them any more pain. But I hate my life most of the time. I just recently found this site, and I went back and read through a lot of the posts. You are very open about the despair you felt. So reading you now gives me hope I can get somewhere other than this, somewhere good(or good enough) maybe. I just have to keep going, like you said, one day at a time. When it first happened I focused on one day at a time. I thought by the two year mark I would be able to contemplate some future but I am still at one day at a time. And others here at the two year mark are open about how bad it still is. So I am not the only one. I guess feeling so bad at this point is still normal, even though the rest of the world thinks I should be over it and "moving on".

  6. Anon,
    Thank you. Those are the best words ..... that's why I'm here and why I do what I do .... to give you and everyone else behind me Hope. It's what makes this whole thing bearable and what brings happiness.
    It will come again and you will hate your life less and less. It will never be what it was, but it can still be good. A different good, yes, but still good.
    And no, you are not the only one. And as crappy as that is, it's still nice to know, isn't it? Makes you feel a wee bit less crazy and a lot less alone.
    Keep breathing. And ignore the rest of the world.
    They know not what they say.
    Lucky them.