September 16, 2021 – A need for closure.

As human beings, I believe we all need to be able to put a tidy bow on things before we’re able to properly move on. If there are ‘loose ends’ or unresolved issues, it’s difficult to proceed forward without continually looking back. As my husband and I drove around and looked at properties today, I realized that when I left this town 7 years ago, I left a lot of loose ends. One of those loose ends involved a particular person who I was friends with for several years, but for a number of reasons (i.e.; our relationship wasn’t equitable, her husband was embezzling/stealing from my father-in-law’s HVAC business, etc.), I decided to abruptly cut ties. As it happens, one of the homes my husband took me to today was only 2 blocks from where she lives. “No can do!” I told him, “That ‘ghost’ is a little too close for comfort. If we bought that house, I’d have to hire the official Ghostbusters, and I’m sure whatever they charged for such a monumental task would bankrupt us.” Even though the house was something we could afford, it would have come at an enormous cost (to my emotional well being); therefore, I promptly removed it as a contender.

Would I love to have closure with regard to my former friend, and be able to move on? You’d better believe it! I’m just not sure whether it’s even achievable. There are countless relationships in which I ‘jumped ship’ because of one reason or another, and I carry a lot of shame for the way I handled myself each time I parted ways with someone (or they parted ways with me). Over a 20 year period, I managed to accumulate a lot of ‘loose ends’, way too many to count. It’s for these reasons that I have been adamant about not returning to this town, the town we left back in 2014; I consider it ‘haunted’. Knowing all that, you’d think I wouldn’t give buying a home and living in this town a second thought, right? That would be a correct assumption if you were dealing with a sane person, but you’re not. I cannot be sane because as I was rinsing off this morning (in the shower) in my father-in-law’s basement bathroom, I came up with a wild idea. “We should buy this house!” I thought to myself. Huh? Yep, see what I mean?! As much as I have repeatedly said that I wanted no part of this town or this house, I have completely contradicted myself. Would you like me to explain? No problem.

It’s ‘easy’. We’re already living here, we’re familiar with the neighborhood, we can afford it, and my father-in-law has suggested multiple times that we purchase it from him. If we buy his home, we’ll be able to resolve so many issues at once. We can stop living in limbo and start living our lives, we can request our household goods from U-Haul and not have to continue to pay monthly storage fees, the property has the square footage to accommodate a shop so my husband can have what he’s always wanted, and the sale/transaction wouldn’t require a realtor (saving my father-in-law over twenty thousand dollars in commission). The other ‘bonus’ is that he said we could keep most of the ‘stuff’ from the house as he only intends to bring a bed, a dresser, a recliner, and a few other minor pieces of furniture (along with his personal items). Since we sold nearly every stitch of furniture we had before we moved, it would be a tremendous blessing not to have to spend a bunch of time and money refurnishing the entire home. I do recognize that my husband’s sister will likely help herself to many of the furnishings in the home, which I’m totally ok with. It’s only fair.

Seems pretty ‘easy’, doesn’t it? Haha! Gotcha! After speaking about it at length with my husband tonight, I realized ‘not so much’. It would be a logistical nightmare! If you’ve read the last few posts I’ve published, you’ll know that we’re currently sharing the basement with my sister-in-law and her husband. From everything that I’ve heard and seen, they’re not in any hurry to vacate the premises. It’s not as if they’re homeless, they have a lovely home about an hour away. But for a number of reasons (several of which my husband cannot comprehend), they’ve made my father-in-law’s basement their ‘home away from home’. The other significant issue we face is that even though my husband’s father intends to sell his home, he wants to wait until the spring (approximately 6 months from now). We have only been staying in the basement for the last 5 days and my husband’s about to flip his lid. There’s no way he can wait 6 months (under the current circumstances). Just this evening, when we were hanging out in the TV room (watching ‘House Hunters’), my brother-in-law literally drove my husband from the room due to his obnoxious snoring.

I thought my husband snored loudly, but this man’s snoring made my husband’s sound or seem less like a chainsaw, and more like a kitten purring. And it made it really difficult to hear what was being said on the TV! After a while, my husband couldn’t take it any more, and he withdrew to our bedroom. I went in to check on him, and when I did, he said, “I don’t know how much longer I can do this.” Knowing my husband as well as I do, he’s not going to last 6 months (until the spring). If his sister and her husband weren’t here every single day, it might be a different story, but with the current living arrangement, I’d be surprised if we make it until the end of the month. My father-in-law isn’t going to throw them out, so if anyone’s going anywhere, it’s going to be us. I would love it if we had money in hand and a place to go, but that’s not the case. Our closing didn’t happen today (as scheduled), so the money I was counting on (from the sale of our home) didn’t get deposited into our bank account. The ‘closure’ I needed didn’t happen. I wanted so desperately to have the house sale and everything it entailed all behind us by day’s end, but life presented yet another ‘hiccup’.

Unfortunately, I’m not the only one seeking closure. My husband’s entire family is experiencing immense grief due to his stepmom’s recent (and unexpected) death. The funeral is tomorrow and I know it’s going to be an exceptionally tough day. Everyone is dealing with their grief in different ways. My father-in-law immediately set to work getting rid of all of his wife’s clothing and shoes. She passed away a mere 10 days ago and all of her garments are now hanging on racks and being sold for bargain basement prices at a local thrift store. Not only are her clothes and shoes gone, yesterday, my father-in-law removed all traces of her from the master bathroom. It all seems a bit too rushed, but I know he did the same thing when his youngest son died a few years ago. Within a week of his son’s death, he had removed all traces of him, too. It’s really sad because there isn’t even a photo of his son on display or anything to prove he ever existed. Of course, there aren’t any photos of his wife on display either, but her ‘presence’ is undeniable. She definitely put her ‘stamp’ on this house.

Everywhere you turn, there are reminders. There are lacy curtains and flowery bedspreads and dozens of ceramic dolls. There are custom made baby dolls wearing bonnets and long, elaborate christening gowns, Victorian dolls adorned in bodice-hugging velvet dresses, and Native American dolls kitted out in ornate, colorful, beaded costumes. There are dolls in strollers and dolls on mantels and dolls in random nooks and crannies. They are in the basement, the dining room, the livingroom, the bedrooms, and if I’m not mistaken, there are even some in the kitchen. My father-in-law plans on getting rid of them, too. When we first arrived, he mentioned something about bringing in an antiques dealer and having him or her purchase the whole lot. I cannot say I blame him. It’s creepy having all of those dolls hanging around. They made sense when my mother-in-law was alive, but now that she’s gone, they no longer serve a purpose (other than to give me the heebie-jeebies). I find being surrounded by all of those dolls with frozen, cherubic, smiling faces and dead eyes to be rather disconcerting.

It’s fascinating to me how different people seek closure. People go about it in such unusual ways. While my father-in-law is attempting to achieve closure by ‘erasing’ all signs of his wife, my sister-in-law is dealing with her grief by shopping to excess, and my husband by continually ‘escaping’ (aka hopping in the car and driving around for hours at a time). As all of this takes place around me, I am uncertain as to what the future will bring. I’m feeling a great deal of anxiety about our living situation and I know it’s only a matter of time before my husband ‘blows a gasket’. I can assure you, it’s going to happen sooner rather than later. Once it happens, things might get a bit ‘complicated’. I had hoped to take our time and wait for the ‘right’ house to come along, but I don’t think my husband has the patience to wait that long. Who knows? Maybe after the funeral tomorrow, his sister and brother-in-law will decide it’s best to return to their actual home and resume their lives, and won’t continue to reside in the basement (alongside us). One can only hope. If they don’t, I’m sure we won’t stick around long. For my husband’s sanity (and my own), we’ll have to make other arrangements. Oh, well. I guess we’ll ‘cross that bridge’ when we get there!

All right. I’d better go. It’s late and ‘bed’ calls! Have a blessed day and thanks so much for stopping by!

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