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Matt and I were together for 10 wonderful years - met in 1998, married in 2002, until his untimely death on November 15, 2008. We have two beautiful, healthy children - Jacob (born 5/04) and Sydney (born 5/07)... the most precious gifts he could have ever given me.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Need some advice from the "been there, done that" people

I've been told a few times not to make any major decisions for one year. I am *this* close to putting my house on the market and moving across the country. I guess I need to hear from some other people who have been there what their experience is with this sort of thing. Anyone?

I understand it's normal to want to leave and get a fresh start, and this is my primary motivation for doing this. Also, my brother, his wife and two kids live in California. I haven't lived near my brother in about 20 years. He is wonderful, and I know that he'll be a great male role model in my kids' lives. Jacob absolutely adores his Uncle Bryan, and they share a love for riding bikes. Also, Matt's parents and brothers live on the west coast - not in California, but close enough that we could take either an hour and a half flight to get there, or a long drive. Visits would be more frequent. There's a lot of potential to get a good job in my field. I've got a couple of friends out there already, and I can make more friends easily. There are a ton of fun things to do out there, and the weather is pretty much guaranteed to be great.

I'm feeling some sense of urgency about it, too. I'm not pretending to be financially or economically saavy, but all I know is right now, the market is down in California, and up in New York - ideal for such a move. The things that Matt took care of around here are going to go to hell in my care, so if I stay here another year with the intention of trying to "take my time," I can tell you it probably won't be in nearly as good of condition for a sale. Working full time and taking care of two small kids doesn't leave a whole lot of time to spend the two and a half hours it takes to mow all the lawn, not to mention all the other maintenance stuff around here. My intentions not too long ago were to take care of it all, and do it as best as I could. I really wanted to. But I'm finding that it's at the cost of my time with my kids, and time I need for myself. And my sanity. I just simply can't function here anymore.

Matt grew up in California until he was 14 years old when he moved back to the east coast with his parents. It was a rough adjustment for him - he thoroughly enjoyed his childhood in San Diego and always intended to move back somewhere on the west coast someday. He wanted his children to grow up like he did - being able to be outside whenever they wanted, and not cooped up in a house because of the weather. When I really think about it, it's kind of funny that I've been living here as long as I have... I relied on Matt to play outside with the kids in the winter because I hate being cold. No matter how much I bundle up, I end up frozen and I just don't have fun doing outdoor winter activities. I even got a tattoo of a palm tree and a sun in my early twenties to remind me there are places on this earth that are warm, sunny and tropical, even when it's cold and miserable here.

Thing is, my house was built by my husband. He was a total perfectionist, so it's extremely well built. If a tornado whipped through the area, this house would still be standing. It has everything you would want in a house. It's absolutely beautiful. The only thing missing is him, and I don't want to live in here without him. I don't want to live in this town without him. Hell - I don't want to be on this side of the country without him. Everything I do, everywhere I go, even where I work, and everyone I associate with... he should be a part of it all. I kinda feel like if our lives have to change with losing Matt, then everything needs to change. I remember thinking when all this was fresh, "How am I supposed to go about a 'normal' routine ever again? Nothing should ever go back to normal."

In a way, I realize that I would be in essence trying to "escape," but so what if I am? Is that so bad? I'm not trying to escape him, but my intentions would be to try to build a life of my own that wasn't scripted to include him. I feel like I'm being completely selfish, though - trying to make a fresh start for myself, but taking my kids away from their cousins and friends, and everything that's familiar to them when they probably need familiarity the most. Jacob is supposed to start kindergarten this fall. Screwing up is one thing, but screwing them up is my biggest fear, which is pretty easy to do in any situation, but we're dealing with some monumental issues here.

I have so much support and love from everyone in this area... friends, my sister, aunts, uncles, cousins, my parents, yet I still want to leave. I must be crazy. There is quite a bit working out in my favor to make this move, though, and I feel like I should be listening to whatever force is pushing me out there. I've been reminded that it's not permanent; if it doesn't work out, I can always move back. But who wants to move across the country more than once? (Actually, my brother did it, and Matt's parents did it, so I guess it can be done...) I feel like if I don't do it, I'll always wonder if I would have been happier. The thought of moving is what has been keeping me going lately... I'm the kind of person that needs to "do" in order to feel like I'm effectively solving a problem. I know there's nothing that can be done to ever fix this, but this is the only thing I can really "do" to possibly improve my situation.

Enough rambling... I suppose I just need reassurance, once again, that I haven't completely lost my mind and that I'm not making a huge mistake. Matt was always the voice of reason and came up with the most practical solutions. I wish I had him to talk to about this.


Anonymous said...

What about renting for a year? Rent your house out and rent a place in CA to see if it is something you want to make permanent.

Anonymous said...

I havent been there or done that before but what if maybe you rent your house out and rent a place over there try it for a couple months then if you don't like it you can still go back to your house. Just in case you have a change of heart wehn you do go.

Anonymous said...

You don't know me, but I got to your blog through Matt Logelin's page. I just wanted you to know that your strength you've clearly shown through all this is something you should be extremely proud of. Your kids are lucky to have a mom like you.

I felt the need to comment about your potential move, despite not having "been there and done that" an adult anyway. Growing up, my parents were very passionate about what they did and followed their calling wherever it took them. Because of this, I went to 7 school before highschool throughout several states and 2 different countries. As an adult I've talked with my Mom and she has said that they always worried if they were doing the right thing...that they knew it was the right thing for them but were terrified about "screwing up" my brothers and me.

There were some moves that, at the time, weren't the easiest. But, as an adult I can tell her that all the places they took me and the people I met helped form who I am today. It takes more than moving to lose the support of your true friends, all you can do by moving is add to those people.

Kids can adapt to anything, especially ones that are so young. There may be a million reasons for you not to go, and you're a good mom for considering your kids. But, I think a happy mom is much more important to kids than the city they live in. If you decide not to move, don't let it be because of your kids - they'll be just fine :)

Anonymous said...

I agree, I would rent for a year and then decide. That way, if you decide you want to be back East, you can go home to the house that you love. I commend you for being so strong. By the sounds of it, you have your mind made up...go for it!!! As a kindergarten teacher, your child will be just fine. It sounds like your have a great support system and that is the most important thing!

Danielle said...

You have done a great job with everything so far. You love your kids and that is all they need.
Do what feels right to you.
Maybe the pull you feel to go is Matt. Go with your gut!

Ashley said...

I think the idea of renting your house out would be a good idea, then if you get out there and decide that you're heart is back where your husband's memories are strongest, you still have HIS house to come home, too. If you get out there and spend a year and think "This is absolutely what I was meant to do!" then you put your house on the market. Moving and selling that house might be a lot, emotionally, it might be easier for you to part with things in stages. But to me, it sounds like you've made your decision, and I really do agree with you, it sounds like you're doing it for the right reasons and you'll be closer to a great support system. Go with it!

Meg said...

I'd go with your gut. If the time is right then go with it. You can always move back if you need to. I don't think renting is the solution as it may cause more headaches than you would want to deal with right now. Renting out your home add a whole other burden to your plate.

Island Roys said...

Go for it. You have already shown that you are strong and like the others have said, the kids will be fine. You will always have Matt with you - no matter where you are and it will be a bit "easier" if you are not reminded of him on every turn.

LoveLladro said...

I am a new reader... blog hopped from Matt's blog. I am so sorry to hear about your loss. Words can't even describe.

I read this and really wanted to comment. I think someone else said it before me but your kids will be fine no matter what you decide. Stay or go, as long as you love them the way you do (which is extremely evident), they will be just fine. You are their home and wherever you are, that's where they will be happy.

I pray you come to peace about what road you will take.

Anonymous said...

You don't know me either - I found your blog through Matt Logelin's but I have been reading your blog and am amazed by your courage and strength. I just wanted to comment a little something on the move. I have never been in your situation but I did move a few years back with my mom from Portland, Oregon (which I'm sure you know is very rainy, cold and generally miserable most of the year) to Miami, Florida (which is paradise in the area of sun!!!) and the change in weather did wonders for me and my mom. Life is so much easier when you can play soccer (or ride bikes :) ) in March without freezing to death.

That'ts the only that I had to comment on. All I know is that sun makes everything easier to deal with.

Anonymous said...

Go for it, girl!! You don't know me but I am reading your blog, via Matt, Liz and Madeleine's blog! I am now 65, and when I was 27 my first husband died at age 32 of diabetes and complications thereof. I moved immediately to another apartment 2 miles away! I wanted to start over fresh...a new route, a different class at school, new church, but kept my friends. When you asked the question, I felt yes, but when I read that your son starts kindergarten in the fall, I now feel YES! I am a retired elementary school teacher, and thus that is my opinion-- start with friends that you can stick with. By the way, I live in the San Jose area of California, and if you are heading for San Diego you will love it and never return east! By the way, living near family is very important for your kids. I married 10 years later at age 37, and had my daughter at age 40! Best thing I ever did...marry my current husband and have a child! We chose to stay near his family, and she adores her cousins. All 4 girl cousins will be in her wedding this coming August! If you list all you Pros and your Cons, I suspect you will have many more Pros. Go for it! Besides, I think you hubby would say 'do what is best for you and the kids'!! Hugs to you, tho we have never met!

Anonymous said...

Just a couple of thoughts; if you don't think you can keep up the house that you are in currently from a maintenance standpoint, then get out before things get to a point that it will be even MORE work to take care of. It is worth the $ to find a good handyman that can take care of things for me ; single mom here that didn't have anyone to help and it was a nightmare.
On renting; unless you have someone in the area that can act as your agent and will take care of paperwork etc; don't do it. Again....huge hassle; you have to make sure that the details are taken care of; insurance etc....background check on renters; what if they don't pay etc....not to be a buzz kill; but being practical. Again...been there done that and decided not to be a landlord.
It's a day at a time; take the time for yourself to journey through each day.

Anonymous said...

Home is where your heart is.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog through Matt Logelin's blog. I've been reading and never comment, but let me tell you, you are extremely strong and I'm sorry about your loss. My dad died when I was 13. A year later my mom decided she wanted to move. We were living in NY and we went to Puerto Rico for a year. My mom took care of my grandma and a year later she decided she needed to get back. We moved back to NJ and brought my grandma with us. I hated the move to Puerto Rico at 13 but whatever made her happy! I'm married now with 2 children of myself, and my husband an ex-military, we moved every 3 yrs and both of my kids adjusted just fine. The move made them more diverse and they didn't stay within a bubble. I live in San Diego now, and I'm so glad that I don't have to deal with the winter of the east. I'd so go for it! You'll never know unless you do it! Follow your heart and home is where your heart is. Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I've been stalking your blog and I am a widow, too. My husband passed away almost 9 months ago from esophageal cancer at the age of 36. I have had to make some major decisions since Trav passed and I know it is difficult. Pray about it and go with your gut. Your kids will be fine because they have you -- that's all they need. Best of luck and keep your blog going wherever you are.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I'm a new blogger and got your blog through Brittany of notesfromthegrove. I too lost my husband when my oldest son was 3 yrs. old and I was 6 mos. pregnant with our youngest son. And I must say you are incredible and have your head on straight. I think you should go for it too. Renting although a nice idea would I believe be an extra headache. Your children will adjust and as a previous comment said you are their home and just keep loving them the way you do and they'll be just fine. And it can be a fresh start. Matt will always be with in your heart and in your children. God bless you.

Supa Dupa Fresh said...


I have been widowed for 3 years and my daughter is now 5. I am glad we did not move, because it was nice to have the same supports AND the same sights around us.
However one year is a not a magic number.
And, you could still keep some of his objects around you, that would be easy-peasy.

One thing to remember is that a move is a MAJOR trauma. I'd take the decision very seriously.

See Stacy's (Crash Course Widow) blog for her thoughts and experience on the topic.

My observation on real estate is that people don't really make the most rational economic decisions. I am not rich, but given what I have been through, and how precious time is, I think, so what if you have to spend a little more on handyman services after renting your house out -- or so what if you don't get top dollar when you sell. Your time and stress savings will make up for it, and let's not watch pennies when we're talking about time.

Just my two, uh, cents worth.