I have had many projects done in my house in the last 2 years. As I looked at what I have done and what is finishing up, it is no surprise that I can relate it in some way to our journey.
Within months of Jay dying, I had to redo all of my siding. Something was causing water to get into the house in a bad way. Jay and I were in the middle of getting a guy out to look at it realistically to see what we needed to do. It wasn’t until they took all the old off that we found the house was not wrapped underneath as you would expect. It was frustrating as hell to see that. Jay and I figured something wasn’t right but to have the truth now just stung. The structure of the house was fine as we had many times feared was not the case. He wasn’t here to see what the real problem was. I have an amazing contractor and so now wrapped with Tyvec and new siding put outside that, the house has a new paint color and is protected the way it was supposed to be.
I later had a crazy idea to redo my kitchen. I had two designs done and one would require taking out a wall. I still remember my contractor’s facial expression when I picked the one that took out the wall. Why?….because the wall was a load bearing wall. Anyone that has taken out a wall like this knows it has to be a very well thought out process. You cannot just take down the wall and move on. We had an engineer here that had to show my contractor where to put support in the basement and then my contractor had to put a beam where the wall was before as well as the sides to continue to support the house.
Recently I decided that my basement needed to change. There have been difficult decisions to make since this was Jay’s basement but it has been exercise in “letting go” and “moving forward” as I am now here to make those decisions.
As I look at our journey here is how I relate my home construction.
The Tuesday after Jay died (less than a week) I was into a counselor. For a good 5 months we took off the siding so to speak…looked at the damage that existed and worked to repair as much as we could and put new siding up. It was a great start to the healing process but by no means was it the end. The truth stung. I for all intents and purposes was still standing but I was broken. Those first 5 months gave me perspective that was needed to continue on through the journey set in front of me.
The kitchen. This was Jay’s area. He LOVED to cook. And he was good at it so I let him. 🙂 When you lose something you are forced to create a new normal. You don’t fix the old normal. Trust me I tried in regard to grief. As frustrating as it was to figure this out, you cannot fix the old normal. So with the kitchen, if I wanted it to be my kitchen I had to do some serious changes. In my life, if I wanted it to be my life again I had to make some serious changes. The wall always bugged Jay and me and it was always that question of if we ever redid the kitchen if we could or would be able to take it out. I have taken out many different things in my life since May 2012. When I have done certain things that I didn’t know I could or that I ever would I have found support elsewhere. It has shown up unexpectedly but exactly when I have needed it.
As with my house in protecting it from the outside, I did that with my life. So much of those first 5 months was about protecting me from the outside. Then as I started on things in side the house I really started to dig deep and fix the inside of me. My thoughts…my heart…they all had work that needed to be done. I had to take things down knowing I had the support I would need. I had to rearrange things and give them a different look. These changes have all served me very well.
As I started the basement I had many ask me…”Are you sure?” To these questions I said “Absolutely!” Inside there were many times I thought…”Hell I don’t know! But if I don’t just do it, how will I know? This will either be epic or a huge lesson…either way I’m jumping feet first and making it happen.” Truthfully this was another Jay part of the house. If I was truly going to live and love my house, something had to be done. If I was going to truly live and love my life, something had to be done. Going down to the basement gave me extreme anxiety. So many things I face daily as well as on special occasions present an anxiety that cannot be described. I continue to work through daily on those things. I have promised many that this is the last big project of the house but I am sure there will be projects here and there that present some construction or work. And in a sense I am a work in progress or maybe it can be stated that I am always under construction.