One week from today, life will be moving on. We will finally be closing on the townhouse that my parents occupied for about a year of their lives. In fact, Mom only lived there for the last eight months of her life and while we all hoped that Dad would make it back there, it never panned out that way.
This has been an incredibly long journey. We are moving towards the three and a half year mark since we lost Mom, and even though it’s been that long, it still feels like yesterday. I can hear her voice in my mind, I see her face and her smile in my mind, I can even smell her as I rummage amidst the remainder of her belongings.
They (whoever “they” are) say that grief is not a linear path and I will wholeheartedly agree with the wisdom in that statement. While there are various stages of grief, my own experience tells me that we rarely travel through them consecutively and in order and that once a stage is done, it is behind you. Stages seem to rise up again and again, even when you thought you were through them.
When next Tuesday is over, I think that a moratorium on Williamsburg trips will be in order. It’s not that I don’t love my family who lives there or that I don’t like the things to do there, it’s just that healing needs to happen and removing myself from the circumstances and surroundings seems like the best way to let that healing take place.
Sometimes, you just have to move on. Sometimes, you just have to stop thinking about what could have been and move into what is and what will be. Sometimes, you just have to hold your head up high and lean into the pain.
My parents bought their townhouse in July of 2010. In November of 2010, they moved in. In November of 2014, they will move out for the last time.
Right now, it is an empty shell of what it was. Even while they were there, there was not much life there. Even while they were there, it was hard to find hope. The emptiness seems more than an analogy but rather an outward expression of an inward reality.
Next Tuesday, I will walk a little slower, sigh a little deeper, tear up a little faster, but I know that these are only temporary expressions of grief and loss. In the midst of the grief, the tears, and the sorrow still remains faith, love, and hope. Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. My faith is strong in that this is not the end, I will see my parents again.
Just two days after this closing, I will spend time with my brother for Thanksgiving, appropriate considering one of the best ways to move from frustration and pain is to think about the things for which we are grateful.
For this melancholic, the Fall always holds times of reflection and poignancy, why should this year be any different? I will one day look back on it and see the scars but know that I somehow lived through it. The experiences in our lives are all part of the formative process of making us who we need to be.
May this be just one part of the ever continuing process of transformation in me.