Last year, when we were deciding to buy a house, we set our sites on Mt. Airy. I had wanted a home for us more than anything. I mentioned earlier that I loved being a wife. There is a joy that comes from making dinner, entertaining friends, and keeping a home feeling like a home.
Making a meal for someone is something so pure and real to me. You take ingredients provided by the universe and change them into something that will nourish someone. Not to mention the memories that so easily become attached to food. If I think back to my childhood, so many powerful moments are the direct result of a gathering that centered around food. Maybe it’s cultural? Having a big Italian American family has taught me that food will gather a crowd like nothing else and that you can always put out cold cuts if you need more.
Durham Street was the perfect home. It was exactly what I wanted. Big, old, and filled with architectural interest. The first time I walked in, it felt like a hug, and I knew I was “home”. Although buying the house was a nightmare. I remember going through the experience and my mother saying, “Jodie, if something is this hard, is it worth it?” I should have listened to her. I didn’t know it at the time, but she was giving me a warning.
The day of our home inspection was the day I got the call about Rich passing. I don’t remember the inspection at all. I was floating through the house trying to listen to the inspector, but I just kept ducking into closets to cry. Maybe that was a sign too?
Our settlement got pushed so many times because the seller was out of the country. Thank goodness I had an excellent realtor or I would have drowned during that process. The universe was trying to tell me something but my stubborn self refused to listen because I wanted a home so badly.
What I realize now is that a building is not a home. It’s the good stuff inside. The love, the laughter, the tears, and the hope. I have to own my part in the divorce. For me, this was it. I was focused on the wrong things.
When he left for good, I was alone in that big old house feeling terrified. How was I going to take care of it? How could I possibly keep it all together there? The truth was, I couldn’t. The memories haunted me and the emptiness consumed me. I had to sell my dream house.
Moving is the worst. The new space is older and imperfect just like me. I’ve lived with someone for the last 20 years except for one year when I lived in an older and imperfect apartment in Ardmore after another major breakup.
My life is on repeat but this time I have knowledge that I didn’t have before.
For example, when moving into an older Philadelphia row home, call the exterminator before unpacking and arranging your furniture. Any true Philadelphian will tell you that your new inherited roommate will probably be a mouse and perhaps some silverfish. If you’re lucky a water bug.
When we sold the house, which sold in a week by the way, I frantically starting searching for my new place. I put offers on two other houses that didn’t work out so I found a rental three days before I had to move. This has been a common theme. Everything is a little warped, even warp speed.
They say that God never gives you more than you can handle. My God is the universe and it’s energy. I don’t necessarily agree with that saying. What I believe is that you are gifted with numbness during a tragic situation. Just enough to be able to handle your shit. One day though it wears off. After getting settled in the new place, with the help of family and friends, that gifted numbness wore off.
I woke up in the new space surrounded by the pups, looked around, and the adrenaline wore off. It all came crashing down. I was frozen again and couldn’t move. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I just wanted to sleep and sleep for a very long time.
But I couldn’t. I had to work because I’m a single woman now that has to make it on her own. I had to take care of the pups because as smart as they are, they still can’t open the back door and feed themselves. I had to force myself to fall in love with my new space and realize that I could still make this my dream house.
So that’s what I’m doing, learning to love the inside. The inside of the house, me, and my new life.