My husband and I lived in Toronto for 20 years; the last 16 in a recently gentrified, hip and happening neighbourhood called The Junction. We were happy for most of those years, secure in our little house with our small son, a beautiful wee garden and lots of wonderful friends and neighbours.
I’m not entirely sure what happened, but for the past five years or so, our family was not thriving in the city. Perhaps it started with the crazy neighbours who liked to slash tires, or our increasingly hectic lifestyle: work/life balance seemed as elusive as a red dot.
Or, it may have been the two years I lost to debilitating back pain. Despite a determination to get up every day and keep moving forward, the constant noise and crowds of the city were wearing on us. It felt like we were digging a hole.
And then, a year and half ago, an old friend invited us to join her family at a rented cabin in a part of Ontario I had never before visited: the Magnetawan River. It was love at first sight. We visited every chance we could get away from the city, making new friends in the process. Our reluctance to return to Toronto grew stronger with every visit and, eventually, my husband started shopping for real estate.
Of course, I was trepidatious. Could we afford it? What about all our friends in the city? What about work? Would we be able to handle the northern lifestyle? And…winter.
The thing is, since I was a kid, I’ve nurtured a dream of having a cabin in the woods where I could write in solitude. And my husband was always an avid outdoors man. Given our level of stress and my battles with back pain, the real question became how could we not?
We decided to take the leap into a new, simpler, and healthier lifestyle, and bought a large acreage about 20 minutes outside of town.
Then tragedy struck.
In June, 3 weeks away from starting our new life, my husband suffered a traumatic brain injury and collapsed. He died 10 days later in hospital, practically on the eve of realizing the dream.
Unfair doesn’t begin to describe it.
Reeling and heartbroken, I was embraced with love and support from family, friends and neighbours, who came out in droves to help with packing up and cleaning the city house and moving to our new home in the country.
So, here we are – a fresh widow and a small boy – knocking around in the bush, picking up the pieces and moving forward.
I invite you to follow our adventures as we find our way In the Land of Lackadoo.