I was thinking about something today.
8 years ago this month, I had a realtor because I was buying a house. Now, 8 years later, I have a realtor because I am trying to sell it.
There's a sign in my front yard right now, just like in this photo from 2007.
My house and front yard may look eerily similar at either end of the span of 8 years, but the woman in the photo is definitely very different.
I look at that girl in the photo and laugh. There I stood, newly engaged, not even a wife yet...wearing a hippo t-shirt with my hair pulled back, pointing proudly at the "under contract" part of the sign in the front yard of my new house. I was only 22 years old.
Even as I type that, my own jaw kind of drops. 22. I was a baby. What did I know about anything back then? I was way more mature than my 22 years... I was ready in most senses to start an adult life... but wow... I just had NO CLUE what life would throw at me over the course of the next 8 years in this house.
After a year in this house, I married Rick. The third bedroom upstairs was always "the baby room" and I was waiting and eager to fill it. Years of trying to have a baby proved fruitless and to move on and accept that motherhood was not in the cards for me, I turned "the baby room" into my office and renamed it "the writing room." I started and finished grad school in this house, spending hours in my writing room typing papers as well as poems and stories. And of course...blogs. The "baby room" turned "writing room" is now just a black hole of everything post-death. It's where I've thrown all the papers and documentation and files and photos. It's where the wedding photos went that I took off the walls. It's where the funeral cards and photo boards from that day are stored. It's where the death certificates are...where Rick's suicide note is... somewhere in the mess of memories and plastic bins and junk.
At the very end of 2010, the cats took up residence in this house.
There was laughter in this house. There was order in this house. There was pain in this house. There was worry in this house.
I got a new job while we lived in this house. Rick lost his job while we lived in this house. While he was unemployed in the months before he died, he spent a lot of time in this house.
I made countless meals in this house. I gave up a lot while I lived in this house. I gave in a lot while I lived in this house. I cried a lot in this house.
Then, Rick died in this house.
Then, I lived alone in this house.
I look at that girl in the photo and I think of the lifetime that's elapsed during the last 8 years...from that moment the picture was taken until this moment tonight - where I sit blogging as a widow in this house.