Loosing My Roommate

On Saturday Karl moved most of his things to his house.  He hasn’t closed on it yet but is scheduled to do that early next week.  The current owner offered that Karl could move now if he wanted.  Karl had enough help free to tackle the job so he moved.

The funny thing is he got there and realized he didn’t have water.  So he ended up back at my house to shower.  I, of course, had to tease him that missed me so much that he had to come back home.

I know it’s so silly…but as happy as I am for him, I’m a little sad.  I’m going to miss my roommate.  Karl is such a good guy.  He’d do anything for me.  For those of you who aren’t long-time blog readers, let me catch you up a little on how Karl ended up living at my house.

In August of 2018, Karl left Iowa and headed to Texas to set his path down the teaching career.  This is a picture of him the day he got his job…all business suit and slippers.  It was a video interview.

Karl made it back for Thanksgiving.  He found Carver had grown.

When he was home he scrambled to spend time with all of us.   Here we are on one of the many times he left…

I’m smiling in the photo but trust me, moments later I was crying.  I was missing my boy already and he was only blocks away from my house headed towards Texas.

In January, we had to make a call to Karl to tell him, Kramer, my husband, his Dad, had lung cancer.  Immediately Karl offered to come home.  We said no.  There was nothing he could do.  At that time, we thought we’d have a happy ending to it all.

At this time I promised Karl that if the time came that he needed to come home, I would tell him he needed to come.

Time and time again through Kramer’s treatments and surgery Karl offered to come home.  I said wait until spring break.  Karl took a couple of extra days off then.  It was so nice seeing him.

At the end of April, we found out that Kramer was worse.  The cancer had moved to his bones.  Kramer broke his neck.  We found out that cancer was treatable but not curable.  Again Karl, said, “Mom, I can come home.”  Again I made the promise that if the time came, I’d tell him it was time to come home.

The Tuesday after Memorial Day Kramer and I went to his doctor appointment that included a PET scan.  We found out he was loaded with cancer.  He was given a few weeks to live.  On the way home, we started calling the kids.  I didn’t call Karl.  He was teaching kids and he needed to finish his day.

I can remember exactly where I was when I made the call.  I was alone outside on the back patio.  I remember exactly how the call went….”Karl, this is mom.  Remember I promised you that I would tell you when it was time to come home?  Well, it’s time.”  I talked to him.  There were a few days left before school got out.  I encouraged him to stay and finish up.  About 25 hours later, Karl was on my doorstep.  He was home.

In the end, I’m thankful he came right away.  If he had waited until the end of the school year, I don’t think he’d have seen Kramer before he passed.

From then until now, Karl just stayed.  I told him he could go.  I told him I’d be fine.  I told him to go back to Texas if he wanted.  I told him he could stay.  I told him to do whatever he wanted.  Karl stayed.

He didn’t make the full decision to stay in Iowa until July when he took a job in the area as a translator.   At the time he thought he’d stay there but thought he’d try to go back to teaching.  But, after some time he learned that he prefers what he’s doing.

I tried so hard to keep my mouth shut.  I longed for him to stay in the area but I never tried to push my wishes on him.  He is an adult.  He needs to make his own decisions.  I won’t be here forever.  He should not make life decisions based on me.

When he started looking for a house, I was thrilled!  So thrilled.

I’m so happy that he is only going to be four houses away….but I will also admit, that even though he’s going to be that far away, I still have tears in my eyes as I write this.

I am thankful for Karl.  He has been a balm to my soul.  He’s let me cry when I needed to.  He’s let me talk about Kramer.  He’s helped me so much along the way.  He’s listened to me.  He’s helped me problem solve things.  He’s just a fantastic guy.

In our family, Karl has long been the gentle soul.  We all tease that he is Switzerland.  He stays neutral in any family argument.  He loves us all unconditionally.  He’s always the person we all talk to with problems.  Karl is so good at listening and offering a suggestion but never be offended if we don’t go with his suggestion.  He doesn’t complain or bulk about doing some of the icky jobs.  If anyone needs anything, Karl steps in and helps…even changing diapers.

The other kids laugh and say of all of the kids, Karl is the only one I could have lived with.  They are so right.  Karl and I click in a way that it’s okay for us to live together.

But…my roommate is going down the road-just four houses away but can you believe I still know I’ll really miss him?  A couple of times when we talked about it, I got teary-eyed.  Karl has assured me that he’ll be by often.  We’ll still order the chicken and rib special from the bar on Wednesday nights.  He’ll happily go on a walk with me and Rosie.  He’ll happily come and help clean up leftovers.

I’ve been so blessed to have Karl here almost two years.  He’s really helped me move into the title of widow.  He’s been such a huge support to me.  I love that all I have to say to him is “Karl, it’s time to come home” and he will be there for me.  No questions asked.  I’m so thankful that he doesn’t have to make a 19-hour drive to get here.

24 thoughts on “Loosing My Roommate”

  1. I give thanks that you had Karl through your hard days. But I suspect a gentle soul like that was with you in spirit even when he was not physically there beside you. God bless you, your Karl and the whole family.

  2. Oh my this had me all teared up too. God bless Karl and his new home. It would be nice for you to get out a night a week and sup at Chateau Karl as well.

  3. I admire both you and Karl for all you have been able to grow since Kramer passed. Now it’s time for you each to continue your journeys on your own. Of course you will see each other and support one another. But the time has come. Congratulations to Karl on purchasing his own first home.

  4. I have a Karl, too. His name is Aaron. He fills the same type of roll in our family that your Karl does. Although he’s not my gentle soul, he’s a jokester. He always says he’ll take care of me when I’m old. Haha! As if I plan on being a burden! Not if I can help it. Seriously though, I love all 7 of my sons and they all fill a special place in my heart. We are blessed indeed, you and I.

  5. All all of children are gems, but Karl shines just a little brighter to you for now when you needed him. So thankful he has been there helping you. You are so blessed by all your children and so good they all live close by. So fun to see Karl moving in this step to his own place, but how fortunate he is only four houses away from you!

  6. Lori L Douglas

    So glad that you had each other as roommates for 2 years. What a sweetheart Karl is and I am sure he will be up for your fututre adventures together. You are so blessed to have him close.

  7. My son lives with us as he is going through a divorce. I will miss him when he finally moves out. I’m sure Karl will stop by for dinner most nights. And you may see him just as much. But our kids do have to leave, as much as we may want them to stay! Hugs to you and your family.

  8. Everybody needs a Karl in their life! You happened to have given birth to yours :-) Double bonus!

    Happy Friday Jo.

  9. Congratulations Karl! May you enjoy many happy times in your new home. From what your Mom writes you are blessed with a generous spirit and kind heart. I bet you were (and can always be) a wonderful teacher. On to this next phase of your life.

  10. Judith Fairchild

    Letting go of children even if it’s practically next door is some times hard. Congratulations to Karl on his new home and to you for letting him make the step to owning his own place. Enjoy your times when you’re alone as well as the times anyone comes over. It’s great both ways.

  11. Karl is a blessing! Transitions are hard. Jo, you can do this too. Buying a house is a wonderful step for Karl. For you, the icing on the cake, is he will live 4 houses down the street.

  12. I find that my children who are most like their father are the ones I get along better with. I think they have the traits that first attracted me to their father and therefore I am most congenial with them. Don’t know how “psychologically correct” that is but that’s what I think. haha!! You are very blessed to have a son so near and able to help so much with you during your grieving time. Mine is too far away or he would be the one I could live with also. God bless you and your sweet family.

  13. Karl is such a blessing. He was your stronghold after Kramer passed. I’m so thankful he was able to be there for you and that he’s staying close. You’ll spend lots more time together and he’s there if you need him for anything. I wish one of mine lived closer, but as you said, they need to live their own lives.

  14. That’s what we get if, as parents we do our job, our beloved children will soar. Hopefully to return periodically to the nest to say “hi mom, what’s for dinner? ‘ lol. Still, it’s difficult. We are here for you, your blog sisters!

  15. What a lovely tribute to your son Karl and I’m glad he could be there to help you transition to being widowed. Now you can walk down the street and eat at Karls, dinner out. He is our Switzerland made me smile. Congratulations to Karl on his being a homeowner.

  16. Elizabeth Rodgers

    As soon as I stop crying, I will tell you how blessed we are to know you and your family. Thank you.

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