How fortuitous. A theme posed on the very day I was to move. But … I had paid my rent on the new place, 70 miles south of Waterville, and I didn’t want to waste a minute getting there.

Kate Cone Brancaccio had a moving day to get through before she could write about it. Photo courtesy of Kate Cone Brancaccio

You see, when you lose a husband, and the place where you both lived no longer serves you, and that is the most polite thing I can say about that, you are faced with a decision: Live there or move.

Backing up a bit: My husband died 19 months ago. A few weeks later, the pandemic descended. No choice. Hunker down and tough it out. So I did. Grief upon grief upon terror at the thought of dying myself of this COVID-19. My kids got me through it. As did distant friends, the ones on the other end of Facebook and Zoom meetings.

Months and months went by. My daughter and I met outside all winter with my grandkids. Coffee for us, snack boxes for them. If we lasted 45 minutes in 25-degree winter weather, we were lucky. Then, for me, back up the highway to face another week all soul alone, as my mother would have said.

This week, gymnast Simone Biles gave us all permission to check in and decide at what point our own mental health dictates our actions. Good for her. But a few months earlier I had done the same thing. Perchance, an apartment came my way, in a beautiful section of Portland, one street away from my daughter and her family. Win, win, win …

Nora McInerny gives TED talks on grieving, after losing her husband at a young age. She has remarried, but she talks perennially, not about moving on, but perhaps moving forward. Right now, I can’t do either of those, in terms of remarrying. But I could just move. And I did. Moving day was July 15. And I’m still unpacking boxes, flattening them out, with the fleeting thought that I might need them again down the road, then thinking I’ll give them away to someone who also needs to just move.

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