|I made this picture small cause we all look shitty, but this is us now.|
In as early as March in some years, my dead husband and I would sit on our front porch (hence the picture), have coffee, chat, and check the news on our respective laptops.
Today, April whatever, is the first time I've sat out here alone.
Our gardens look tidy thanks to old friends who were kind enough to cut everything back last November. That was something we always wanted to do but never seemed to get around to. Spring would come and we'd have all the old dead stuff still hanging around. We'd then discuss how we screwed up again, but it would be better next year. Eric would have liked it this year.
The yard was his pride and joy. I picked the plants and he planted them. He would mow the lawn on his riding mower for a 1/4 acre of land. Please keep in mind that the footprint of our home took up most of that land. But, the rider would cut his time from 1 hour of mowing to 25 minutes. "My time is worth money," was his mantra.
As he was making my dream garden come true he would constantly complain about his back the entire time. That pain didn't stop him from making our home come alive. Who would have guessed the pain was caused by a giant tumor that would kill him.
This is the third year after our initial re-org of the front yard. Sure I over planted, (as he said I did) but excess is my middle name. Now, our yard looks exactly as I had envisioned it would look when he was sweating in the hot summer sun. We were never able to execute planting until July. Don't know why, we just couldn't pull the trigger.
Back to our front porch. Right about now we'd be discussing the election coming up and he'd say "Anybody but Obama!!" Then he'd somehow wiggle President Clinton, (who I love as I would a family member), into the conversation with a jab. "Are you EVER going to let it go?", I'd say with frustration.
We'd probably talk about plans for the summer. Kids going to sleep away camp and how much they're going to love it. How his parents are going to come visit before the kids go away. "That sounds great!" I actually would say those words out loud and with conviction. I honestly don't know how I was able to muster should amazing acting ability in regards to his parents for a whole decade. Well, not a whole decade in a row. I'd say twice a year I'd explode and tell the truth about how I really felt...Only to apologize later in the day saying I'd lost my mind and they're fabulous.
|This isn't actually my backyard but it looks exactly like it for half of the year.|
The conversation would move to how much I now love our home but I still hate Illinois. This is the first day that it is not gray and it is in April!!! Five months of the torturous skies of doom looming over us and depriving us of our Vitamin D. A little hyperbole but it's true. Why would anybody live here on purpose? It all came down to work. People are tied to where they live based on where they work.
Eric had created a wonderful life for us. Working for the same company for over 20 years. I was with him for 10 of those years. I must say, without me he wouldn't have gotten where he did. (In front of every great man is a woman pulling him by the neck.) We would discuss, rather I would discuss how great it would be for the kids to get out of such a "not good" place to grow up. Eric being from Illinois may have been insulted. Me being from NY didn't care if he was insulted if it helped up get out of here.
Money, the economy, jobs would be the next topic. How can we possibly move out of a "lifetime" job into the unknown. We live where we work we would decide. As opposed to working where we live. It may seem like the same sentence but it isn't. In today's culture you can't just uproot your family to a place you "want" to live in - somehow that place picks you whether you like it or not.
|Not your mama's Illinois.|
How did the picture above become vacation for 7 days out of 365 days per year...and not 365 days per year. I'm sure there are those that wouldn't like to live in this and would prefer let's say Alaska but that is NOT me. When did quality of life become less important than how much money you make or how much sun falls on your face or how much peace you feel in your heart.
With Eric gone and there being no job to keep us here - the planet has become a For Rent sign. If it were just me I'm not sure what I would do. It's not just me. It's my children and their future. Where would they feel most at peace? Where is that place that we will call home and feel right about it?
And so the search begins.......