Friday, November 16, 2012

Four Year Laters - A New Chapter

When Nathaniel was born a little over five years ago, Julianne and I knew that we had outgrown our house and would need to move. We had informally started looking at some houses and knew in general what we were looking for. We knew we needed a bigger house and a bigger yard and wanted to stay in the general vicinity. We also knew that we needed to fix up our current house in order to be able to sell it. This was probably the hardest part of it all.

A year later, our plans were put on hold as Isabella was diagnosed. The plans to move were put on hold as we focused all of our energy on treating Isabella. A year after as Isabella was in remission, we started up talks again of moving, but had to be put on hold again when Isabella's cancer returned.

The delays probably weren't the worst things in the world since the housing bubble burst in the meantime which sent house prices and mortgage rates lower. Around a year ago, we had a renewed focus to fix up the house to prepare it for the Spring market. We rented out a storage unit and transferred all of our excess stuff to it.

This Spring, we put our house on the market and began looking at other houses. We looked all over and saw a bunch of different houses (including one that had an indoor pool!). As we visited each house, we would envision our family living in the house and drew up each of the kids' bedrooms. We would scope out the yard to see if there was enough room for Nathaniel to run around and for me and Annalise to practice her pitching. But as the summer dragged on, we never found that perfect house out of the dozens of houses we visited. There was always something wrong with it, whether it was the layout of the kitchen, or the size of the bedrooms. On top of that, we had yet to sell our own house.

Late in the summer, a foreclosed property popped up on my house alerts that matched our criteria and we immediately scheduled a visit with our realtor. I didn't have much hope in it, because we saw other foreclosed and short-sale properties and they were generally a mess and needed a ton of work. But when we visited this house, it seemed to be in good shape despite not being lived in for a couple years. "This could be it!" we thought, but again, we didn't want to get our hopes up because the bidding for foreclosures is generally pretty cutthroat. After being on the market for just four days, the bank asked for best and final offers. We put our offer in, and hoped for the best, but again didn't expect anything.

So when our realtor called and told us that our offer was accepted, we were shocked and thrilled. We began the long and arduous task of getting a mortgage.  Last week, after battling hurricanes and snowstorms, we finally closed on the house and began moving in.  There is some major work before we can actually start living in the house, so we've moved in with my mom temporarily.

The week that Isabella died, we all went out to the new house and picked rooms.  We didn't know at the time that that would be Isabella's last time at the house.   As Isabella was dying in our bed, we had already known we were going to be moving. We felt bad that Isabella would be "stuck" at our old house after we moved, but our hospice nurse reasoned with us that we wouldn't feel that way if Isabella had died at the hospital. It would have been great if she lived long enough to move into the new house with us, but it just didn't work out, but we're glad she had a chance to see the house and her room before she died.

So here we are, now, exactly four years after Isabella was first diganosed.  Although these four years have flown by, as I read through past posts, I am just overwhelmed and amazed by everything that we've gone through.  Our family has been changed and we'll never be the same.   Again, we were comforted knowing that Isabella had just recently seen her room at the new house and will be with us in spirit. 

But we need this change and this new beginning.  Although we are grateful for our community and the tremendous support that they've shown over these years, we needed a physical change of scenery to continue the healing process for us.  And it's not like we're trying to leave Isabella behind or forget about her, because she'll keep her room that we promised her and decorate it with all of her things as a lasting memorial to our little angel.