Mike was never good at dealing with grown up problems. He truly did have a childlike spirit - that was sometimes fun, and sometimes frustrating. When it came to taxes, phone calls, fixing things, filling out forms, and bigger worries, he was often useless. I did most of all that. And when he died...well, widowed people understand all the bureaucracy and agonizing paperwork that must be completed. It never seems to end. One final time he had left me to sort it out alone.
On the other hand, I've always been pretty good at grown up stuff. I'm organized and like things to be done, not hanging over me. But as I continue to walk through this complicated world in my middle age, not only am I faced with a continuous stream of decisions to be made and hoops to jump through, I can't help but notice the slew of issues my friends and family must deal with too.
Seriously, it is never ending. I am often horrified at some of the things people are facing. Nasty divorces, spouses leaving and stealing all the money, not making quotas on jobs people hate anyway, misplacing documents necessary for loans, losing jobs, two hour commutes, losing homes, pets dying, loved ones getting sick and injured, medical bills, taxes...and the continuous stream of people losing loved ones.
When Mike was alive it was as if I lived in this comfortable little bubble. Sure we still had issues and grown up problems, but his presence soothed. Now the bubble is popped.
I am back in Kona for what looks like will be the last few months until my permanent move back East. I am connecting with friends and enjoying it as much as I can...I am even happily working again at the restaurant I had to leave last October when things went south with my Dad back East, so keeping very busy...but there is no avoiding memories of Mike. The sounds, smells, breezes, views...they all remind me of him.
The clickety-clack of the neighbor's wind chime. The squawking of the flock of wild parrots which famously reside here. The sight and sound of wild turkeys wandering through my yard. The sound and feel of the wind softly blowing through the trees. The chirping of a gecko on my wall. The crash of the waves in front of the restaurant. The sound of neighbors playing Hawaiian music and laughing with their children, happy pidgin intonations and the occasional Hawaiian word, now so familiar, wafting towards my ears.
It I let it, the experience of being back here could rip my heart in two, for all the memories.
On my list to do are all kinds of grown up things. I need to call my attorney to make sure the bank is moving along on schedule with auctioning the house by the date at the end of May that the court mandated. Because I can't float in limbo any longer. I need things to be done...I want things to be done, so I can move forward with my life. I told a friend I felt like I'd been in limbo since Mike died. My life is speeding past, and I'm getting nothing done.
I have to finalize every little thing I want to move, and get rid of the rest. Thankfully I did that big sale last summer so I am already downsized quite a bit, but there is more to do.
I need to figure out what to do with my dogs. My elderly pit bull is in no condition to travel and move at this point in her life, so we hope to find somewhere my boyfriend can rent here that will take them. You might be thinking, who leaves their dogs behind when they move?? Yes it is breaking my heart. It might be the hardest thing of all - dogs can't really Facetime with you. But I have talked to quite a number of people who have been in my position and managed to find loving homes, so I am on the trail of that here, as a plan B in case we can't find a place to rent here that will take them. That seems to be incredibly difficult, not to mention that the rental market in Kona is expensive, and very tight, to begin with. I could take my small dog with me, but part of me doesn't want to separate them. When the old one passes, then the small one could join me, I'm thinking. Cross your fingers that my boyfriend can keep them. They all adore each other and I think it would make my leaving easier on all of them if they could stay together.
I have to do my taxes. Call a mover and get an estimate. Decide whether to sell my new car and pay off my debts or take it with me. Sell Mike's truck. And all the annoying change of address details that come with a move. I've been in this house since 2001, so it's been a long time for me.
On the other end will be my parents and everything going on with them. Helping my mom with whatever she decides is her next move. Finding somewhere for me to live independently that I can afford, having really lost everything. Finding a new job. Finishing school, and maybe even, hopefully, starting a new degree program.
And where is Mike? Not here. Not that he would have been much help anyway, but he's not here to provide that lovely little happy bubble to retreat to. And part of me will always feel as if I am abandoning him in this beautiful place he got to call home at the end of his life. That part of his spirit will always remain here, even as I take a part of him with me. I hear his words admonishing us from the idea of ever leaving, and wonder if I am doing the right thing. But the bottom line is he is not here. I have too many other grown up problems to deal with, and a future that lies somewhere else, at least for awhile.