Season 3: June to August 2016
I return home from North America with a suitcase full of books on grief, empowerment, and courage by American poet Mark Nepo, my new favorite. Karl’s guidance feels more palpable now.
A buoyant Nimbin real estate market greets me. My agent wants to advertise the property immediately and not wait for Spring. I comply, scrambling to finish repairs and stage the house for sale. I marvel at its beauty.
Some days I can do more than one thing.
Yollana, a close friend, emails a visualization to my friends, asking them to light a red candle and pray for a quick sale at a reasonable price. Of course, her second visualization succeeds!
The property sells to the first person who inspects it — at an excellent price. John, my Nimbin real estate agent, is speechless.
I cannot contain my sense of wonder. This is a miracle. Nothing less. A miracle.
My immediate financial worries are coming to an end.
With the house sale agreed, I begin a new journey: emptying the four-bedroom house to move temporarily to Rose Gardener’s house in Brisbane. Karl and I had carted 120 boxes from Brisbane to Nimbin in 2004. Now, 12 years later, I am purging my belongings — also preparing for an eventual permanent move either to Adelaide or to Vancouver. I promise everyone I will not decide where to move until the first anniversary of Karl’s death. That’s the received wisdom and, anyway, I still cannot face such an important decision.
Rereading Karl’s love letters, I am deeply touched, accepting that we did the best we could against massive odds. I come to the startling realization that I never really knew love until I had love with Karl.
Quest for Life
In July, I attend a one-week healing trauma retreat at Quest for Life, a renowned trauma healing center in Bundanoon, south of Sydney. I conclude that, although I often feel directionless, I am walking on the new path that life is offering me. I believe that I am doing well — perhaps better than some of the other shattered retreat participants. I find myself singing with Jenny, another widow. I sense Karl everywhere and am slowly realizing that things are going well for me … better than I imagined. I am having a dream run, despite my injuries.
During our retreat, participants make Vision Boards to help us heal our losses and focus on hopeful visions of our preferred futures. As I am planning to move (possibly to Canada), I make a smaller, portable, folding Vision Board decorated with photos and images I have collected for that purpose.
I weep as I prepare my “In the Before Time” board:
And I weep again, as I prepare the second board, “The Beloved”, memorializing my life with Karl:
Finally, I assemble the images for my future vision, “A Happy Future”. It shows a hopeful new life for me in Vancouver, Canada. Now I am smiling. My dream is to be free to love again.
MY Compensation case
My compensation case continues against Karl’s car insurance company. While they have accepted responsibility for my injuries, they are reluctant to pay for them. Their forensic medical experts contend that I am not seriously injured. I hold out little hope for a reasonable financial settlement because of seemingly endless legal problems. I assess my lawyers to be lazy and disorganized, but I am powerless to intervene.
I am troubled by my cognitive impairments, my back, neck and shoulder pain, and a whiplash injury that causes severe headaches.
I sense Karl close to me as I begin to dismantle our scrapbooks and photograph albums. Reading our birthday, anniversary and Christmas cards and other correspondence, I remember that we were genuine soulmates. I remind myself that we did the best we could. We dreamed a big dream. Ours was a courageous journey in a landscape with few obvious signposts.
Living in the trigger
My psychologist tells me that I am “living in the trigger” and should move from Nimbin as quickly as possible.
I am giving away my belongings and attending to legal paperwork. Every day, leaning on the railing on the back deck, I weep for my lost love, comforted by the laughter of the newly arrived baby son (or daughter) of “Guy”, Karl’s kookaburra mate.
I know a bit about kookaburra energy. In this context, it feels like support for ending old patterns that are no longer helpful. I need to find ways to conquer my fears of the future. Kookaburra energy, freely given, helps me to listen to what is sacred, to trust what I hear, and to follow where that leads.
Farewell to the gratitude house
I prepare to farewell our Gratitude House. Despite my sorrow, this is a time of acceptance that life is beginning to flow for me and that a new path is beckoning.
I close down my consulting firm on my accountant’s advice, sadly accepting that I will never work again. But I am still trying to complete my mid-life memoir due in a writing competition in late October. I consider writing a book about my current experiences.
I am curious about life in heaven, but Karl offers few clues.
I toy with the idea that I have survivor guilt but conclude that I did everything I could to save Karl.
I make several trips to Brisbane to set up temporary digs in Rose Gardener’s house, finding a soulmate in Bill, a handyman who helps me make it comfortable and cozy. He paints the floor and hangs curtains for me.
The pain of leaving OUR Nimbin HOME
Although I feel powerfully drawn to my new life in Brisbane, the pain of my final departure from the Nimbin property is beyond gut-wrenching.
I completely lose it!
I crouch under the house and howl. I sob for my losses, our losses. I intended to make my departure a joyous farewell: to focus only on the blessed times we had in the Gratitude House. I planned to kiss our house goodbye, to celebrate the tremendous and resilient love that Karl and I still experience and all the good times we spent together in our self-built house. To celebrate how we lived there with love, mutual support, success, and confidence.
But I simply cannot hold it together at the end.
My heart is breaking again.
Interrupting my wailing, Karl cries out to me:
Oh, Wadie, my friend. This is the end of that part of our great and everlasting friendship. You have done so well to exit so quickly. I can hardly believe it!
I have to agree. We poured all our love into that house.
And now, the sun is setting on this life.
Now I must follow a new path, find a new direction. I must have another life — without this house. And without Karl.
Moving to Brisbane
Kent Plasto, my generous friend, embraces me and my sobbing and gently leads me away from the house. He has packed his SUV with great care. He drives me and my most delicate and precious belongings to 18 Vulture Street in Brisbane’s West End. It takes about two hours. There we meet the movers and begin to unpack my belongings into Rose Gardener’s house.