Hubby and I made a life-changing decision October of 2017. We bought a house with 5 acres in Maine. I know what you’re thinking: that’s a huge change and I have to agree. We needed a change in the worst way.
I’m going to share some personal information, something I rarely do but it all ties into this move and hopefully my ramblings can touch the heart of someone who can relate and hopefully offer some support in some way.
I had become more and more intolerant to the East Texas heat and I would be housebound more than six months a year. My nights and days would switch, sleeping during the heat of the day and working outside after the sun went down. I utilized one of those lights that clip onto the brim of a baseball cap to work the garden and other chores. It really took its toll on me and I found myself asking my doctor for help dealing with my depression.
PTSD is a real thing and hubby is unfortunate to be plagued with it since his return from Iraq. His job over there was to ride in the gun turret on the top of the truck and keep a watch out of IEDs which was often hidden in some discarded item sitting on the side of the road and marked with a pile of rocks neatly stacked on top of each other. Coming home, driving became dangerous as anything that happened unexpectedly caused an over-reaction and he finally come to realize that he just shouldn’t do it anymore.
Even though we lived on the outskirts of a small town there was still 12,000 people and crowds did not sit well with him. If we went to a restaurant and there were people around the front door waiting to be seated, he couldn’t do it. Medication helps but both of these issues combined makes him basically unemployable. The VA and SS stepped up and we finally got the financial relief we desperately needed. We had gotten to the point that we had to sell something every month just to make bills.
Don’t doubt someone because they say they have PTSD. The struggle is real and not all disabilities are visible. To add to his stress is my mother who lives next door and is an alcoholic with dementia.
My relationship with my mother is a love/hate thing. Maybe not “love” but a feeling of responsibility for her wellbeing. My sister and I had to procure a Power of Attorney and we moved her to an assisted living facility as her dementia worsened. She hated me for it and I don’t think she ever forgave me. She was angry with me one day, intoxicated as usual, and she spat out the most hateful thing; she said having me was the worst decision she had ever made. That cut me deep because I know alcohol allows you to say things that you really mean but under normal circumstances you wouldn’t say.
It took me a long time to come to terms with her hatred and I had to distance myself from her for my own health as well as my husbands’ and our marriage. So I went from visiting her several times a week to just a couple times a month. I even planned family events without her and I realized how much more pleasant it was without her. I had finally made peace with my decision to emotionally break away from my mother.
She began to complain of a sore throat and the ENT’s biopsy showed cancer. By the time it was discovered it was everywhere and it had started to make itself visible as it attacked her body functions and she declined very quickly. She died July 24, 2017. I had some time to prepare mentally for her death so it didn’t hit me so hard.
Two days later my sister was supposed to go with me to the funeral home to make arrangements and early that morning I got a call that knocked me to my knees. My daughter had overdosed and died in her sleep. Drugs was an ongoing problem with her and her sudden death hit me like a freight train. The day we buried my mother we had an appointment with the funeral home to make her arrangements.
We all lived in the same town and suddenly I was surrounded by flashbacks. There is not one trip into town that didn’t bring me to tears. I asked my doctor again for help and she increased my dosage. Two weeks later we took our travel trailer and headed to New England to look for property.
We actually found the house by accident as it was not listed in MLS. A sign was nailed to a tree and the owners were happy to show it to us immediately and two days later we made a contract. We knew winter would be coming on around the time of the contract closing so we decided to wait until spring to move. I’m so glad we did for the temperature had dropped to -13 that season which is unusually cold. I can always put on more clothes to keep warm but I can only take off so much to stay cool. I don’t want to go to jail!
And so the clutter reduction begins. We liquidated nearly everything and brought absolutely no furniture except our bed. But somehow we still filled a 26′ moving truck pulling a 16′ box trailer and our F250 pulling a 24′ flatbed with and a dog, a cat and two milk goats. We drove for 12 hours a day and we pulled up to the new house around 6pm on the 4th day.
When I opened the door I was surprised because all the furniture was still there. I called the seller and he said they got everything out that they wanted. I can certainly understand because just a few weeks after we closed on the house, his wife had died of cancer. Couches, coffee tables, and even beds made with fresh linens and fluffy pillows awaited us. This was such a welcome relief.
After getting settled in, we began the arduous task of scraping the 3-story house to get it ready for new paint. The exterior is in desperate need of attention and we are getting as much done before the weather keeps us from painting anymore.
The town we moved to has around 400 people and we are walking distance to the square which has a well-stocked grocery store, post office and town office. Directly across the street is a small lake with a dam and the running water is so soothing. A clock tower chimes every hour and I feel like we have gone back in time.
After two months in the new house, even with the paint project, our stress level has decreased to next to nothing. We adopted a dog, a standard poodle, to hopefully train as hubby’s service dog. Just the other day, he had an episode in a dog friendly store and thankfully Sam was with him. I didn’t even know anything was wrong because I was on another isle. He doesn’t know what triggered it. This has never happened before and it worries me because it seems him condition is worsening. We will be addressing it with the VA soon.
The VA in Maine is a welcome change from the Dallas system which is overcrowded and people get lost in the system. On our initial visit to be established with his new doctor, we were given referrals to pain management and ENT to straighten his airway from past nose breaks.
I know this is long and I’m sure I have lost many readers before reaching this point. But for those who made it this far, please drop a comment and tell me what you think.