Don’t go back

I recently read this article in Business Insider about the most miserable cities in the US and my hometown is #31.

I never regret leaving. Going back there last year for a visit was pleasant and I enjoyed seeing my parents, but I also felt very strongly that it’s definitely not my home anymore.

Yet in recent days, I’ve wondered if I can really stay where I am whenever my husband dies. I’m still hoping he’ll have many more years, though we’ll know more within two months when he finishes his chemo and has a scan to see how well his cancer is responding.

It’s expensive here–and I certainly can’t afford to stay in the house I’m in for long without him. But whenever I think about going back to Michigan, the only advantage of it there is that it’s cheaper. The medical care there is far worse. And if I end up needing to get a full-time job to support myself, this is definitely the better place to be.

What I realize is that I’m going to have to learn how to be on my own. Luckily, I’m not starting from complete zero, even though my husband does a lot to help me. I can manage my own finances since I’m doing them for the household now. I’ve read stories of other widows who didn’t even know where their bank accounts were, let alone how to pay bills. I’m pretty good at saving money when I need to.

As much as I don’t want it to be this way, whenever it happens, I have to trust that I’m going to be okay. I think about Judi, this woman I knew at the church I used to attend. She was older and single and living solely on disability income. She was poor, for sure, but she still managed to survive in a one-bedroom apartment. It was kind of rundown but she still got by. I’ll likely have the advantages of being able to work (at least part-time, if I can afford to stay on disability) and some life insurance money, neither of which apply to her.

The challenge is to believe in myself and in my ability to adapt to change. I don’t like change and I really won’t like this one. But I have to be determined that my life still has potential. I can rise to the occasion and create a life for myself of my own invention.

I also have to be determined to fight to stay here, like I fought to make it here when I moved down here five years ago by myself. It would be more difficult to move back to Michigan, though I’m sure my parents would help me if I wanted to do it.

I have to be resolute to stay here after fighting so hard to get back here in the first place. At least now my kids are here and they’re all adults or nearly so. They don’t have immediate plans to leave the area. But who knows? Maybe they’ll establish themselves somewhere else that I might like, too.

I have to look at this as having potential for something good to come out of something bad. Sometimes it’s really hard to view it that way, like it’s being disloyal or something. But if I have the rest of my own life to live, I have to have a purpose.

I’ll create something new for myself. I just need this record that I don’t want to turn tail and go back to a place where I was so unhappy.

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