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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.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

One more time.

Did I say we're not moving again? I may have mentioned that here...

I'm sick of even typing the words "move" and "moving" at this point, let alone doing it. But there's one more left in us.

When the kids and I first moved back to Buffalo from California, I made one big mistake...  well, a couple doozies, but the first was putting ourselves right back into the same town. Although we were in a different part of the same town, it was basically the same - had to take the same main road to get everywhere, shop in the same one and only grocery store, and nearly every day I had to drive past the funeral home where Matt's services were. Agonizing is the only word I can think of to describe it.

I was on the right track getting us back to our hometown to be close to family and life-long friends, but I wasn't emotionally prepared for being right back to where I was before we left the first time.

Bad judgment led me to take the first opportunity to get back out. I made decisions in haste. Without full consciousness. I ignored my friends and anyone else who suggested I should slow down. I took a chance. An expensive one.

I seemed to come back to my senses around November - ironic, huh? That's when I lost my senses to begin with - November four years ago... But this November was different. It was kind of like an epiphany - an awakening. I finally woke up and saw things for what they really were. It was something I really didn't want to see, but now that I finally did, I had to make some changes.

My first inclination was to question myself - how could I be so stupid and naive?? How could I throw caution to the wind like that and drag my kids to yet another destination?? How could I not have seen things for what they were?? There was a false sense of comfort because I had known him when I was younger. I was so hopeful we could start a life as a whole family unit (something I had so longed for), with a man who said he wanted to be a father figure to my children, who loved me, who assured me I wouldn't be alone anymore. It couldn't have been further from the truth. I've never been more alone in my LIFE. Maybe the isolation helped me to gain some clarity...

It's kind of funny... All the time leading up to when Matt entered the picture, I rarely had a boyfriend (ugh - I hate that word). I was over-cautious and hardly gave anyone a chance. I was fine being alone. So much so, that I was pretty convinced that was my destiny and that someday when my clock started ticking, I planned to either do IVF or adopt because it was so important to me to have children. I looked down on those women who always seemed to need a man in their life and couldn't go with any time in between relationships. (I now understand the myriad of reasons for that pattern - who wants to be alone, anyway?)

I see now that I had turned into one of them. After having Matt in my life and gotten so used to being loved and together and whole with him, I think I did everything I could possibly do to fill that void.

It didn't work.

Now that I see what I've been doing (and how ineffective it's been), I know what changes I need to make, and I'm fine with that. I need to take a step back, and truly put my children first. And do myself a favor, too, by not latching onto someone to fill a void that can't be filled. Not kidding myself into seeing something in them that's not there. Not trying to get a father-figure into my kids' lives, because they are way better off being without one than having the wrong one. I truly don't believe that there is a man out there who could love my children nearly as much as Matt did.

I'm not saying I'll never be open to the possibility of the right person coming into my life, but I'll be smarter this time around. I'll take my time. A looooong time. I will not settle for anything less than what I had with Matt. No longer will I look at a man and wonder if he's "the one" for us. I'm cured!

And in almost losing myself, I found myself again. I found some of the "before" Andrea. I'll never be  the same person I was before I lost Matt, but I feel like I'm getting back into some balance. So maybe these weren't mistakes. Maybe they were necessary learning experiences. Although I wouldn't have minded not being as enlightened...

This experience has also made me appreciate what Buffalo has to offer. It's not as sleepy and depressed as this hole that we've been living in... I talked myself into liking it - even loving it. I should have been a lawyer - I can not only convince the people around me that everything is fine, but I can talk even myself into just about anything!

After this final move back to our hometown, I refuse to move again - no matter what the circumstances are. I'm tired. I don't care if Mr. Right #2 comes along, or if Matt comes back from the dead. We are NOT doing this again. My kids and I need stability once and for all, and it is with our friends and family. The next move will be them going off to college.

I've finally gotten it through my head that our little family unit is complete with just the three of us. This is our new normal, and I've made peace with that. It's actually a relief!

Thank God I have just enough funds and energy to get us home. At least if I have a second chance to do this, I'm doing it right and putting us in a different town within our hometown.

No more running.


Lisa said...

I'm sending you a big hug, Andrea. You are such a good mom. Ah, I'd really like to write more, but my daughter's bedtime isn't going as smoothly as I'd hoped, so I need to run. But you are so brave and wise and if your kids aren't beyond grateful for you now, they absolutely will be someday. Best of luck with this move.

Jo said...

Great post Andrea! Glad to see your independence! I don't know where your house is, but I'm glad to see you're finally home!

Cammie said...

I am so very proud of you my friend!!

Michelle said...

((hugs)) You are doing your very best, Andrea, I have no doubt about it!!

Mama_Bear_Sarah said...

RELIEVED to hear this, is all I'm gonna say. You've already said the rest yourself.

Sending all my love!!!!

Mama_Bear_Sarah said...

RELIEVED to hear this, is all i'm gonna say. You've already said all the rest in this post.

Sending all my love!!

Jill said...

Good for you. Nobody is perfect - it takes time to figure things out. At least from what I can see having followed your blog for four years, you have your crap together. You may have taken a detour, but you have it together.

glenda said...

When my dad passed I was 13 and the following year my mom picked me and my younger sister up and we moved for a year. Then we came back. You have to do what you think is right for you and your kids in this journey. There are no mistakes, just lessons learned. Best to you and the kids.

Candice said...

I didn't do it to follow a man, but I've moved several times too...and I totally get it. My sister gives me the hardest time if I even mention the thought of moving AGAIN...but you know, she doesn't live my life; she's been married for almost 17 years, worked the whole time, and her life progressed in a neat, tidy, predictable fashion. Mine has not. And as unfortunate as it might be to our finances, the opinions of our friends and family, and the burden of wholesale household moves, I think the only way we can figure out what DOES feel right in the post-widowed world is trying out different things. Picking up and moving miles away didn't work; nor did returning to the same town and damned stores, roads, etc.

This move to my current house was waaaaaaay better than the move to BFE (the equivalent of your move to CA). But it's still not where I want to be; it's simply what worked (somewhat) for me 4 years ago because of limited options. It sure as hell doesn't work when I'm working full if you're moving again, don't be surprised if I do it again too...for the, uh, 3rd time since Charley died. =)

Love you!! xoxo

Candice said...

And another last thought...I think there really is something fundamental that shifts around the 4-5 year mark as widows. You're out of the worst of the worst from the first 1-3 years and then at the end of the next phase, where we've been trying to reform a life when we're not quite as shattered. It's like we have to survive the death, then figure out how to live despite the absence and grief...and eventually, like where you are now, you realize what you need going forward.

I'm not explaining it very well...I have a headache, and it's been a long week. ;o) But I think that being ~4-5 years out brings a huge shift...and you're right there in it.


Andrea Renee said...

Thank you so much, guys!! Xoxo