Last week was Matt’s birthday. We pulled together as a family–by phone, Facetime and a few of us in person–to remember him, talk about him and celebrate him.
We had a particularly special celebration to take care of as well.
Matt and I had been given a bottle of champagne when we moved to the farm. We had been saving it for when we paid off the mortgage, and that is what I did a couple months ago. So Matt’s Dad opened the bottle, and we had a toast.
This is obviously not at all how we wanted to pay off the farm. While this milestone is usually a great accomplishment, for us it felt tragic. Today, I’m sharing something I wrote when I got home from making that last payment.
I hope you’ll read it because while there is great tragedy, there was also great beauty, and I think there are some lessons we can all take in these challenging days of COVID19.
The music was driving me crazy.
I was sitting at the credit union feeling like I was holding it together by the finest of threads. I was there to pay off the mortgage.
I had been anxious about this appointment for weeks.
Paying off the mortgage was super important to Matt and me. Especially Matt. We’d worked really hard and paid about half of it down in the 7 1/2 years we’d owned the farm.
Before he died, Matt and I talked about his life insurance. I said, “Well, I was thinking of paying off the mortgage.”
For Matt there was no question. “You’d better pay off the mortgage!”
Now I was here, and I was paying off the mortgage. We were achieving something we’d worked so hard for and dreamed about for so long. But I was alone. Matt was paying it off, but in the worst way possible.
I was trying not to cry, not to scream, not to lose my mind. And the music was about to send me off a cliff.
A speaker in the ceiling of the office was playing a local radio station.
I haven’t been able to listen to music for a long time, and this felt so noisy.
Then the words started to make it through.
I’ll be there for the highs and lows… By your side, when you’re all alone. I will be there. (Walk Off The Earth)
Then the next song.
I’ll carry the weight. I’ll do anything for you. My bones may break. But I’ll never be untrue. (Serena Ryder)
Tears were rolling down my face. I looked up at the ceiling at that terrible speaker and said, “Thank you for being here. I love you.”
That afternoon, I came home to the farm. I let Baxter out and we walked out over the fields. I talked to Matt. “We finally did it. You did it. You worked so hard for this. Thank you. It’s ours.”
I know a lot of people are facing really hard situations right now and there is a lot of fear about COVID-19. Reach out to family and friends. Look around you for those moments of love and joy–like a song on the radio that you don’t hear at first. Know that you are not alone. Even in the hardest hard there is good. You will get through this.