It was one of the most rewarding and difficult times of my life. While moving apartments earlier this week, I faced the storage unit of a former self, a new bride and homeowner, filled with wedding gifts and memories of Rich.
But it was a task I faced in order to create a new beginning.
Ever since I moved to Riverside Drive, I’ve imagined someday having a view of the Cloisters across the street. My super told me two weeks ago that an updated one-bedroom unit was opening in the building on the sixth floor. I instantly fell in love when he showed it to me. Lots of sunlight, a dishwasher (!), and marble countertops. But the most exciting selling point was the view from the bedroom windows. The Cloisters are dreamier than I had imagined.
With lots of support from friends and my prayer partner, I began packing. Everything came together: movers, packing materials, and friends. I carefully constructed a plan to have two people with me to help decide if the stored items would: 1.) be moved into the new apartment, 2.) be given away, or 3.) be moved into a closer storage unit. Boxes of photos and my wedding dress were in this third pile.
I’ve been a tenant of a 10×10 unit at Drop N’ Lock Storage, two hours north of Manhattan, in Wingdale, N.Y. since 2011. Now I’ve chosen to relocate to a much smaller unit at a nearby Manhattan Mini Storage that costs twice as much. I set the intention to go through one box of memories a week until the unit is completely empty before the discounted special runs out in October. I believe Rich supports this decision. His love lives within me, not in his belongings. He’s proud of me as I face this heartbreaking next step.
I cried uncontrollably for days leading up to the move. It was quite embarrassing. I usually have good self-control, but I could not stop the tears on the A train or in Starbucks. Dr. Bronson said my body was re-experiencing the trauma and grief of losing my husband. And it was incredibly painful.
On the other hand, rediscovering my belongings is like Christmas! Ooh, I love these glass candlesticks! New towels! Wine glass charms! The wedding registry was designed with excellent taste!
I told Dr. Bronson that was I scared of losing my connection with Rich. That as time passes and lost memories are not regained, I am afraid of losing my husband emotionally. Yet this week, I feel him more strongly than I have since his transition. It’s as if he is holding my hand to show me the way and it is incredibly loving.
Thank you to the long list of angels who helped: Dr. Bronson, Shea, Betsy, Marnie, Lara, Cynthia, Chrissy, Laurie, Thomas, Tania, Jan & Ferry, Jeremiah, Jacob & the guys at Morris Moving, Ginny at Drop N’ Lock, Jessica at Manhattan Mini Storage, Nuri, Feriz, and many many more who held me in light.
Big thanks to Joanna Prisco and Preetam Sirur for being at my side yesterday. Thank you to my former roommate Britt Hall, who I have a deeper love and appreciation for. Most of all, thank you Rich. I love you today as much as I did the day I married you.