Today’s post circles back to missing the early days, how the present (at least the present when this was originally written) wraps around to connect with the past, with a future that isn’t near. How kindness can be more difficult than absence, some days.
Today’s post is about transitions, which are so very different than “letting go.”
Writing without the deeply personal is not the whole story of grief. To give the whole story, to give as many handholds as possible in the steep climb of grief, we need to hear personal stories. Each Friday, I’ll post something from my own experience of grief and love. It’s an inside look at love, at grief, at life.
This week, a post I wrote before I made this cross-country move. Closing up our house, my house, the place I’d wanted to leave Before he died, the place I couldn’t leave when he died, the place I had to leave when it became too small.
Saying goodbye to things, having crossed that line from needing to stay to needing to go:
One more night here.
I am so far past fried.
But this phase is nearly done – the packing and sorting is nearly done. It’s just the last few things, those things that don’t fit neatly into boxes. And those boxes, the boxes of you, that keep getting shuffled around.
I keep checking with myself to see if I am, in fact, feeling emotional or down about this leaving here in any way. I don’t seem to be. I am so far gone, left here so long ago, was ready to go even Before.
I know it’s not endless. It feels endless.
My former boss from the farm came to pick up my chest freezer today. He always was such a good person. I’ve forgotten the kindness of men, the sweetness of a kind man. Not that there aren’t any – just. You know what I mean.
I realize, as I type now, that saying goodbye to him, I felt some melancholy, some longing, for those early days after, when I was in the barn all day. When I was still too raw for words. When all I could do was milk and muck, when the yellow light after light rain gave me one good moment of peace. My first moment of feeling I could live this.
I miss that me. As nice as it is to not be retching on the floor regularly. As nice as it is to feel excited about this move, to feel happy to leave this place. As nice as all that is, I miss the raw newness of this, when you were here. When you were still here so viscerally.
I don’t feel you like that now.
S. hugs me goodbye, and I tear up – at the kindness (that always gets me – Before and since), and at the memory of strong male arms, the solidity of a hug like that.
That is something I do not think about. Not on purpose; it is just not present here at all, and so has faded from my mind.
He hugs me, and there it is, that kindness. That male-ness. He leaves. And I have to stop, I have to go sit down again and rest. And miss you.
And miss you.
Like a high tight-rope walker, I never look down, but sometimes the view from here rushes up at me and I realize just how high this is.
The reality of this circles back.
And I poke, again, at what could be tender places but are not.
The tender places are still in me and they are inside these boxes.
They’re inside the ones marked “keep this close,” and the one – the other one, the one with the dust of you.
But there are no tender places in this house or in this yard, or in this view out these windows, or even in this state.
Today, stopped at a light coming home from one last trip to goodwill, I am behind a truck. Staring at the words, the oil company logo and then realize: oh, that is my story. The name of this particular company is Dead River. I always thought that was a stupid name, indicative of how divorced from environmental reality some people are.
Now, that stupid name is something else.
Now, dead river is my story.
It doesn’t sucker punch me. Instead, I blow a deep breath out and say, outloud: man, I cannot wait to be out of this state.
Almost, almost. Almost out of this state.
How about you? What are the places you’ve outgrown, the spaces you’ve left behind? If you’re outside of that first initial impact of death, do you miss elements of it? Let us know in the comments, or send me a message. I’d love to hear from you.