As published on Huffington Post
I found myself through the course of the day stopping and looking around whatever room I happened to be in and think, “How will I ever be able to emotionally detach from my home?” “How will I help my children and their sadness when I myself am crying behind closed doors? “ Where will that strength come from?”
With each box I pack, I feel a piece of the house’s energy jump into it. The memories are being pulled from the shelves and laced in a box and sealed marked fragile. I know by the time I close my front door for the last time, it will no longer be our home but the shell of a house.
I will be taking all the important things with me — scrapbooks, pictures, things collected over the years, my children, our health — but yet we will be leaving part of us behind for entombed in my closet wall is a picture of my intact family on the day we moved in. We moved into our dream home at the end of 2001. My children were five and six. It wasn’t just about the home as it was then but how I saw its role in our lives moving forward into our golden years. I saw my children and all their friends growing up here, nights by the outdoor fire pit, graduation parties, even my daughter’s engagement party on the lawn. So many future dreams. Well, you know the saying about the best-laid plans for exactly five years later to the month, I asked my husband to move out due to his affair. A part of my dream was gone. Life as I knew it changed dramatically as friends scurried like roaches, vacations became less, and, quite frankly, the bulk of my time was spent picking up the pieces my husband left behind, but I always took solace in the comfort and safety of my home. All my other dreams were still here. I could still have a house full of my friends and my children’s’ friends, fires in the pit, and yes, even my daughter’s engagement party.
It’s funny how the heart and mind can’t get it together sometimes. What I thought would continue and what our hearts let continue were two different things. A cloud settled over our home for many years as the children and I tried to make sense of our new life, adjust to new schedules and reclaim our home. About five years after the divorce, we all seemed to get our groove back, including our beloved home. The house was filled with friends, everyone was laughing more, and we all actually loved being home. Enter fate. For years, my accountant had been the voice of gloom telling me keeping the house was not in my best financial interest. Having a 7,400 square foot house ate up every penny every month, but hope flows eternal. Then it happened, the offer I couldn’t refuse. This was now the second time in six years I felt the ground fall out from under me only this time it was my last dream that was hanging in the balance. This was it, the last vestige of the way we were would be gone. A completely clean slate loomed ahead like the Grim Reaper.
Of course, I heard the usual, “This is great; it’s a fresh start.” “You will be out from that huge financial strain,” “It’s time for a change,” but with each phrase, the wound got bigger. The voice of reason and reality came home to roost.
Fast forward four months and we are pretty much settled in our rental home and reflection has shown me some lessons learned by all this. I’ve learned to let go and I’ve watched my children learn that lesson, too. I learned that we all handle change and sadness in different ways, but the end result is always the same; we all came out on the other side, the sun came up the next day, and it was in fact a much-needed move for all of us. Yes, we all gave up parts of ourselves and our dreams, but we gained strength we never knew we had. We learned resiliency, adaptation and compassion for each other. I learned that resistance to the inevitable can only make things worse and if you believe the best is yet to come, it will show up. I learned one can become stagnant and not even realize it, that your true friends will be there to help you stand strong and yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.