That's how long it's been since we boarded that one-way airplane back to the States from our six months in Germany. We were headed back to a new state, about to sign the contract to our new home, buy a new car and get pregnant with a (new, first) baby. We were excited. I was so ready to embrace the change of moving more than 5 miles from the beach (that's how far, or less, I lived my entire life thus far). I was looking forward to meeting new friends and having kids and exploring the land together as a family.
And then Andrew died.
The husband calls me a pessimist. He says I wasn't always one, but crossed over from realist to slightly pessimistic after Andrew died. He's right.
My sister-in-law quickly corrected me when I said something to the likes of, "I secretly don't love living here." She told me outright, "It's not a secret, Brandy. Everybody knows." It's not that I hate it, but I can surely name off a few handfuls of places I'd rather be. But in all honestly, I think much of that stems from the biggest tragedy and failure in my life happening within 9 months of me planting my feet on the ground here in the Midwest.
It's just... it stings. Every memory we have made here involved Andrew in some way. I became pregnant two weeks after we touched down on U.S. soil, here in Illinois. We had just closed on our house and were hoping we'd have more exciting news to share, and did! I actually remember my mom commenting to us after we told her we were moving to the Midwest from California that she hated that we were moving and we would probably have grandkids right away, to her dismay. And we did-- never intentionally trying to hurt anyone, but carrying on with our marriage and life as mid-late 20s was flowing through our blood and we had careers and a home and a great marriage. It was time.
It was basically the perfect timeline. Unfortunately, I've lived here over 4 times the amount of time with him dead than he was alive. Hurts.
I remember the walls closing in on me after he died. We have four bedrooms upstairs, 2 bathrooms and an attached office. Among the three floors, we have over 3900 square feet of living space and I felt I was being suffocated by the enormity of the space. We closed the doors to the three additional bedrooms and bathroom upstairs. No natural light flowed in. The space felt so big and I felt so small. I hated the house we were so excited about and spent those 9 months of my pregnancy preparing for our growing family.
We bought this home with the sole intention of raising kids here. If we never hoped kids were in our future, we would probably be living in a fun loft downtown. Somewhere more chic, less kid-friendly and definitely not residing at the corner lot house with the bus stop on our property. I loathed the buses that drove by after he died. I hated seeing kids get off and go into their houses-- houses that were filled with their well-used toys and things and beds that were slept in.
So yeah. Chicago is kind of a B-list city for me. It's truly a beautiful city (but we live in the 'burbs, y'all, and the lack of scenery is kind of nonsense). It's just, the worst of times happened here so suddenly, muddling some of the beauty it could've been. Thank goodness for great friends, decent food and rainbow babies. Five years is turning out a whole heck of a lot better than the end of year one. Without a doubt. And those doors upstairs? Well, I can't keep them closed if I tried. We have a three-year-old who just loves making it known that he LIVES here.
Makes me always wonder what living here would've been like (to my psyche) if he didn't die. If our perfect world remained pretty darn perfect for a little while longer. You know, despite the fact that there are no mountains here (our very favorite).
Heartbreak and Healing
1 year ago