Archive

Archive for October, 2017

Some Days, The Heartache Won’t Leave You Alone…

October 30th, 2017 Sears Homes 7 comments

For several days, I was euphoric about the new house. It was good. It was freeing. It was beautiful. It was PROGRESS!

And then a few sidewinders hit me.

On Tuesday, October 17, a local moving company moved many of my worldly possessions from the old rental in Portsmouth to my new home in Suffolk. On Wednesday (the very next day), the same company delivered about 50 large boxes from storage (from my old house in Norfolk) to the garage of my new home. Fortunately, it’s a very spacious garage. Unfortunately, October 18th was the 18 month anniversary of Wayne’s decision to commit suicide.

Opening up those boxes and revisiting my old life ripped a massive scab off my soul that is still trying to re-heal. Pawing through each and every item in those boxes - things that I’ve lived without for 18 months - was excruciating. Due to my emotional state, I did not participate much in the packing up of the old house in Norfolk, so every box was a surprise.

Several items caused me to abandon the garage and run to my bedroom where I collapsed and wept for a time. There were a few boxes that left me unable to return to the garage for the rest of the day.

As one small example: As I looked at the number of dusty old books I owned, I thought to myself, “No wonder he killed himself. Look at all these stupid used books. Who would want to live with someone who buys so many old books?”

To the unenlightened, that may seem like nonsense, but to my tired, terrified and grieving brain, it made perfect sense, and it was devastating.

And what’s worse is that the nightmares have returned. With a vengeance.

I’m so very tired of this struggle. I’ve read repeatedly that “second-year grief” can be worse than the first.

I do know this: Suicide really is a “death like no other.”

Yesterday, I had a short visit with a 76-year-old widow. Her husband died from a combination of old age and a few ancillary ailments. She talked a lot about the many shared, happy memories. She talked about his last words. She talked about how his death was, in some ways, a relief due to his advancing years and declining health.

I found myself absolutely envious. That was supposed to be my story. But it’s not.

Here’s the very best article I’ve ever seen on what it’s like to lose a spouse to suicide.

It has ten bullet points, and they’re all spot-on, but #6 described my life the best:Six (6) :

Your friends and family will find it difficult to believe that you (the man who committed suicide) did this without provocation. They will search for someone to blame. And that person will be your wife. They will whisper that she drove you to it. They will find it hard to be around her. She will have to survive this thing on her own.

People like to talk about the “new normal.” There is no new normal. What’s normal about having the man you love go insane and end his life? What’s normal about losing your spouse, your social standing, your income and your home - all in one moment?

I know that several people have told me that they’re glad “I’m better now” thanks to this lovely home of mine. It’s true, I’m better and I have some stability now, but not an hour goes by that I don’t struggle to keep moving forward.

There is no new normal. There’s just plodding along and hoping that eventually, the days will get easier and that my heart and my soul might one day find true and lasting peace.

The old “friends” are mostly gone, but a handful have remained and have shown their true mettle, and for that handful, I’m supremely grateful. And I’ve learned a lot about those folks: I’ve learned that they’re strong enough to stick around when the going gets tough.

*

Author

Mark Madoff was the son of Bernie Madoff. In 2010, he hung himself at the apartment that he shared with his wife, Stpehanie. I'm in the process of reading this book - a little bit at a time. I've had to skip over parts of it, because it's just too painful. Nonetheless, the title says it all.

*

Thank You For Your Prayers…

October 10th, 2017 Sears Homes 25 comments

My new life began today, at the age of 58. In fact, I’d say that this is easily one of the happiest days of my life.

Given the events of the last 18 months, that’s saying a lot.

Last Saturday, I toured a house for sale in Suffolk, Virginia. Today, 10 days later, we closed.

This house is beyond anything I could have hoped for and dreamt of, and it is the house that I have waited for my entire life. It’s in perfect condition and has a new roof, new carpet, new paint and a tiny kitchen. If I were to sit down and design a house today, it’d probably look much like this house. It’s perfect for me and my new life.

It’s small enough to be manageable and large enough for my furniture. It’s extremely well-built, and I’m told that the home’s first (and only ) owner was a military man who kept everything in perfect order. And it shows. In every way - it shows.

This house is a peach.

It was built by a Vietnam-war veteran in 1976, and designed by his bride, a native of Japan. The 1/2-acre lot is filled with exotic and extraordinary plantings. And it’s surrounded with a chain-link fence, perfect for Teddy the Dog.

After closing, after I entered my new home for the first time, I stood in the living room and wept. They were tears of joy.

After my much-loved husband committed suicide, I spent several months asking anyone and everyone, “Will I ever be happy again?”

Today, I can answer that question: Yes. I now remember how it feels to experience happiness.

Took me 18 months to get here, but I feel those glimmers of joy stirring in my soul.

I’ll never be the same person. My life was forever changed by Wayne’s very poor choices. But today, I am happy, and it feels so good.

Thanks for your prayers. Thanks for staying with me. And thanks for helping me remember that I am someone other than the widow of a man who ended his life.

With a heart full of gratitude,

Rosemary Thornton

*

Here in Hampton Roads, its almost impossible to find a house with a basement/garage and yet its a feature that I love.

Here in Hampton Roads, it's almost impossible to find a house with a basement/garage and yet it's a feature that I love. The garage is more than 600 square feet.

*

The house is near an estuary of the Elizabeth River, and yet it sits high on the lot.

The house is near an estuary of the Elizabeth River, and yet it sits high on the lot. One of my frequent complaints about brick ranches is that they sit so low to the ground. This feels like a treehouse!

*

The front door is reflective of a Mid-Century house, and yet this house was built in 1976. Everything about this house is in perfect order.

The front door is reflective of a Mid-Century house, and yet this house was built in 1976. Everything about this house is in perfect order.

*

Inside,

Inside, there's a small foyer and access to the basement/garage and also living area. It's a design that I've never seen before, and yet it's delightful and compelling. Simplistic, but elegant!

*

Inside

Inside, the massive fireplace dominates the living room, which is one of my favorite features. To the right are the three (small) bedrooms, separated with a sliding door. Ideal for someone who craves quiet!

*

A large den at the far right of the house is filled with large windows, which is another delightful feature. Because theres no attached garage, the house has no blank (windowless) exterior walls.

A large den at the far right of the house is filled with large windows, which is another delightful feature. Because there's no attached garage, the house has no blank (windowless) exterior walls.

*

Another delightful feature: A Japanese tub in the master bathroom.

Another delightful feature: A Japanese tub in the master bathroom.

*

Ive owned this house for four hours (as of October 10th) and I can hardly wait to give this massive tub a test drive. It looks purely delightful.

I've owned this house for four hours (as of October 10th) and I can hardly wait to give this massive tub a test drive. It looks purely delightful.

*

Update: My daughter came for a visit today (October 15, 2017) and sat right down in the tub, to give a sense of proportion and scale.

Update: My daughter came for a visit today (October 15, 2017) and sat right down in the tub, to give a sense of proportion and scale. Made by Kohler, this tub is original to the house.

*

The kitchen is small, which is just right for my needs.

The kitchen is small, which is just right for my needs. The house is old enough to be sturdy and well-built, and yet is filled with modern conveniences and clean shiny surfaces.

*

Another fine feature: The basement.

Another fine feature: The basement. As someone who loves old houses, it's very important to me that I have access to the mechanical systems. Here in Southeastern Virginia, so many houses are built on miserable crawlspaces and are barely navigable. This house is built up high enough that you walk under the house - from front to back.

*

From front to back, the house is perfect in every way.

From front to back, the house is perfect in every way.

*

Thanks to Kathy Worthen for making this happen.

*