It has been one month since our last night in the home we shared with Mark. Just 7 months ago, I still felt like I might never be able to leave that place. The thought of being far from the only place Mark and I lived in together made my heart ache. I couldn't fathom parting with the walls he painted, or the door he walked through every day. But, at one point it seemed possible. A few factors played into my decision to move. The first thing to consider is that it had been greater than a year since Mark had died. I have read countless times that a widow shouldn't make any big, life changing decisions in her first year of widowhood, I have always been a pretty conservative person in my decision making, cautious, thought out. I knew this was wise advice and I just focused on adjusting to this new reality of my husband being gone. Secondly, one of the therapists my kids work with asked me a question, she just asked "Have you considered moving? It might help to create a home with just the five of you." That resonated with me, somehow the thought of picturing us eating dinner at the table, or watching the kids play in the yard seemed possible somewhere else. I slowly started looking at houses online and found a few I could picture us in, and then I knew I needed to call my real estate agent Denise.
We started off by getting my house ready for sale. The major work to do was taking about 50% of our belongings out of our house. I was so grateful to have so much help with this, box packing, throwing things out and dropping things off at the thrift store. Once the majority of our belongings were out of the house, I had to de-personalize. Honestly, this was one of the hardest parts for me. To take down all the little things that make a house a home, the photos on the wall, the magnets from the fridge, even painting over the drawings Samara put on my paint. It was hard to take my wedding photo off the shelf next to my bed, hard to pack photo albums I might not get to look at for months down the road.
I even found myself being annoyed at Mark as I worked on the house. Annoyed at the sheetrock I had to mud, tape, sand, prime and paint. Annoyed at the boxes Mark packed from his SV house in 2015 and never unpacked when he moved in at 2210. Mostly annoyed that I was missing paint colors to touch up, leaving me to wonder which property gave Mark free paint that he used in our house. I was also lucky, lucky to find a notebook with raps Mark wrote, notes and drawings he kept from the kids, even the diamond earring of his that had been missing. Our house was totally and completely a testament to our marriage, to our life. And finding a new place to call home was a serious challenge. Denise showed me so many beautiful houses, that were done and finished. To which my response was "this is sterile" or "there are no projects here for me to do." I know I drove her crazy, but I also knew I needed to walk in a feel possibility, that same possibility that had me consider moving in the first place.
We got down to the wire on finding a new place, finally putting in an offer, and being chosen on November 13th, 2021, knowing I had to be out of 2210 by November 30th. I was at our Grandma Jean's funeral the morning of the 13th when Denise called telling me I had to come see this house that came on the market 10 minutes prior. When I arrived at the house, she asked me if I had made an announcement at the funeral asking for prayer. While I didn't do that, I did talk to about 10-15 people who knew I was moving and promised to keep praying that God would provide. Well, my God always provides. The house was great, we were the only offer put in and they accepted before any other parties even had the chance to view it. Only later did I learn that he seller had not even considered moving until a week prior to listing, but God gave him a prompting to put in an offer on a townhome. Without understanding why, he did. His daughter told him that maybe selling his house wasn't about him, but rather was about the buyer. He told me at the final walk through that he believes that was true. God chose this house for us and needed him to sell it. We weren't even supposed to close until December 7th, but as I said, my God always provides, the closing was able to move up to November 30th and we were not without a home for even a day.
Leaving 2210 the morning of closing was hard for me. I walked through the house and felt everything. I made a video that I have shared below, if you turn up the volume you can hear my reminiscing. (I am sorry that it flips views part of the way through. If anyone is tech savvy and knows how to fix that for me, please let me know.) I thought about the first dinner I ever cooked after Mark and I got married. I thought about decorating the Christmas tree with Aaliyah in 2015 and bringing Hezekiah home after he was released from the NICU. I thought about watching Mark sleep on the couch with Samara in the crook of his arm and playing Amaya's monopoly game at the dining room table. As I left, I put my hand on the now grey stucco, the last place my Marky painted, warm from the sun and I thanked God for this home he gave us. I put my trust in Him that moving forward with the dreams Mark and I had for our life was okay, that Mark is proud.