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Reflections as I pack up the family home

S Updated
I have two weeks left before I have to move out. The last four weeks have been full of packing, wrapping, decision-making about objects, reading old things, chucking, dump runs and constant men coming round to quote on doing various things - sad things like clearance..and disconnection...breaking up..removing. A concrete experience of the breakdown of a marriage. One thought kept on returning to me tonight as I found a box of old pottery items that my daughters had so proudly created years ago. Moments that could have delighted my ex and I if we were still together. Instead I admire them alone, always alone. His current position is to get his stuff photographed probably so I don't pull any fast ones on him. He hasn't asked for any old photos, no artwork from the girls, just his stuff like tools to be used in his new thatched cottage. He seems so divorced from it all now...I remember he and I so lovingly put their artwork into folders. Perhaps he did it all to please me, to keep me happy who knows. I digress...back to the thoughts. Yes, one was that I had set sail into our marriage rather like the Titanic without enough rescue boats. I was in complete denial about the possibility of going under. The rescue boats would have been a full time job, being more careful with money and putting it aside, keeping a much more orderly house and been more on top of stuff, keeping up my friendships more, looking after my self better. I am not really beating myself up here but just reflecting how I would advise a couple like us starting out. I seemed incapable of looking into the future, perhaps that was a bit of a sign. There are few tears now though...I feel as if I have reached a level of sadness beyond tears. It's very hard to describe this sadness - it is probably a combination of empty nest, divorce, change and getting old. It has been nice though to go through all the old stuff...it has reminded me of the meaning that my life has had. I suspect that I could not have avoided this pain even if we had stayed married. I loved family life and everything that it brought. I got very involved with our daughters' lives at every stage and met so many people along the way. It is hard to find meaning now with them nearly gone. This will be my challenge..to let them go and to create meaning in the next phase of my life.

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Hi Stem,
It is unfair that you've been left to deal with the sale and packing up of the house whilst he makes demands from afar. So many wikis write about this however, it seems to be the norm. I know how doing such a huge job alone feels overwhelming and very emotional. Like Vastra I packed a lot of things like photographs without going through them, and they are now in my new loft unopened until I feel I can cope. If you have limited space that may not be an option.

There will always be an emotional connection, as we can't wipe away all those years but you are moving to a lovely home in new surroundings, somewhere with no ties to the past. It will feel very strange at first, but when you close the door behind you, it will become your haven that no one can take from you. After all the heartache and pain that is a liberating feeling. Almost there now, just keep on walking. xx
M
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I can relate to your blog and the comments very well. Your description about the sadness of sorting through belongings and reflections on your life now and how you might have done things differently are so poignant. If only we could advise younger versions of ourselves now, or have a second go at our lives! Regarding the sorting, I've delayed going through my boys photos and artwork and have shoved it all in a big pile to deal with later. My ex has never asked for any of that either, and I can't comprehend how you can transfer your attachment from your own children to another family so quickly. Vikki Stark suggests it's like a parasitic relationship and they move on to the next host and the old one is totally rejected. My ex also went on a manic spending spree buying house, expensive furniture, overseas trips and jewellery all stupidly placed on a joint credit card while telling me he was struggling financially. At the moment like Polar I am slowly ridding my house of disliked furniture connected with him by donating it to a local women's refuge.
This is going to be an unsettling and stressful time but hopefully once you're in and unpacked it will start to feel more like and new start for you X
V
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Hi Stem

I wish you well and hope that once you are settled in your new house that you will begin to feel better.

It must be really hard to deal with move but I agree very much with AngieP these are challenging times but somehow we deal with them and in the end these challenges can and do make us stronger.

Stay strong and keep warm

LG xXx
L
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Oh Stem, I know. I did the same not long ago, as many of us have had to. Yes, the boxes of things in the loft, some long forgotten. Bittersweet. Having to get rid of things for reasons of space, and also realising that some are superfluous. Yes, as you know, my x did a midnight flit taking virtually nothing. He went on huge shopping sprees, absolutely manic, so everything of his is shiny and new. I have moved now, bits of our old furniture are not necessarily what I would buy these days, or for this building, but they make the place feel like home.

This is the emotionally difficult time - once you are in your new place, there will be frustrations and triumphs that will keep you busy and moving forward. You will have to buy a few bits and bobs (our vendor left bare bulbs everywhere, but I had left my light fittings behind) and will be choosing all alone. Getting new contracts for utilities, working out where to buy milk etc.

I'm now at the stage where the initial euphoria and excitement have worn off. I find myself in a not very nice house in a not very nice area and suddenly: this is it. It's not a new game or holiday, and it's not what I wanted. But it's still better than it would have been if I had managed to persuade him back, I know that now.

As for the lifeboats - it was the same for most of us, I think. And I don't know that we would have listened to any advice on that score, or done anything differently. I never thought any of this would happen to me. So we live and learn.

Good luck with the move, let us know how you get on. x
E
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Hi Stem. Can understand what you are going through. It is heartbreaking being left to sort out and pack up the contents of and leave the family home as a result of divorce and for me it was the worst time. Having to dispose of a lot of items due to space I think it can really make you focus on what is important and for me it now has to be what is in my head and heart rather than material possessions. Also understand point you are making about rescue boats. I did much the same within marriage, neglecting friendships and my own career. Was told by wise wiki early on in this process that no one would come and rescue me, scary but true. It is not easy and I also have that feeling of getting old but you know what I am surviving and more than that I am beginning to feel proud of myself at how I am coping. It really is new beginnings Stem -time for you as Stem, not only as a mum and wife. You can now focus much of that energy on yourself. Life is short -grab it and make the most of it.
Whilst I am not saying it is easy there are a lot of new challenges and opportunities for us, whatever our age if you choose to look for them. When you get through this tumultuous time and are settled in your new place you will be able to look back and marvel at your own strength and use that to propel yourself forward. X

A
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In some ways you are lucky. You have your possessions and memories.
I was lucky and unfortunate at the same time !!
My x took nothing except her clothes, jewels and make up.
She has no photos of my daughter growing up, No certificates from her past. No furniture from the house.

So in some ways I was lucky because I have those memories and trinkets from my daughter growing up. Although she is 29 , married and a baby daughter her room is much the same as it was 9 years ago. Nope its not a shrine !! Merely storage for trinkets from her past.

Oh the unlucky bit? I was left with furniture that SHE had chosen and the remnants of her existence in the house. Took me a few years to replace everything.

Its funny how some people have the ability to walk away from everything and never look back.
P
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Stem,you will find that meaning,at some point your family will extend and you will be blessed with little ones...
You mentioned artwork,well pride of place in my kitchen is my little man's first ever drawing(well scribble really)but to me its a Renoir....
The turning of the year has made me think quite a lot,and I am being completey honest,as much as I kid myself,I am not over him,and I cannot say if I ever will,but I have reached acceptance.
Packing away memories must be very hard for you,but eventually this will give you new strength,your new meaning.
I wish you love and peace on this new phase
Afon x
A