Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Letting Go

It was like ripping out a permanent fixture on the wall that's been there since the 70's. That's how I felt when I said goodbye to my ancestral home for the very last time. Bittersweet, only due to the memories that home held so dearly. It also held dark memories of death and illness...unrelenting grief.  A million tears were shed in that house over the course of ten years between both parents passing away, not too far behind the other. Although there are more good memories in that home, the heaviness of the past ten years of watching both parents succumb to their illness weighs out much, much more. Much more. Even conversations about my mom's fear of taking the chemo: "Will my hair fall out?" And if it does, I'll shave my head too. I always promised her that. For whatever reason, she still kept her dark auburn hair and always looked so beautiful. But I really would've done that for her. But those are the types of conversations had, daunting and all too surreal.

The uprooting from one home to another has been a huge transition for me to say the least. I was super excited about being in a community, rather than up on a mountain where I felt like the only one living there. Strange, because my heart fluttered and sped up each morning I woke up in my new home. I couldn't understand why though. This is where I've been dreaming to live---so why is my heart pounding so fast? My subconscious held a deep loving place for my family home, so cutting ties with it completely was almost like grieving for my parents again. It is actually a grieving process to go through, from what my therapist had told me. I learned some other coping skills that have helped me, but the most important thing I found to relieve a transitional period is to think positive things----not entertain the 'what ifs.' So I started doing that, and ever since my mind is being trained to choose the positive outlook, I've been waking up every morning, making coffee and breakfast with Madelene like I used to. I no longer stay up till 4am stressing about where I'm going to live or reliving my mom's death all over again. That house reminded me every waking moment. I sleep better, because this new home is about to make new memories. A clean slate; a new start. 

In certain ways, this new start has revived my relationship with my wife. We laugh more, I cook more, and always make sure her drink is chilled by the time she comes home. And even though we are still in the midst of unpacking, it's starting to look more like home to me. Maybe that's why my heart has calmed down. We made our mark, by giving it a new coat of paint, new hardwood floors, and now it looks cozier with all of our furniture in it. Sometimes people don't adjust well to new homes because they didn't leave their "mark" --- they haven't given their unique signature, leaving the home to feel like somebody else's house. You kind of feel like a visitor in your own home. That's an uncomfortable feeling. And that's how I felt my first few nights. Like, "Where are we?" 

My friends and family have already come to visit me, more relatives on their way too! My sisters blessed this home by their presence, and their support of all of us losing our childhood home. I know it must've been hard for them to visit me while living in our old home. That was their home too. The heaviness felt as they walked in after months of avoiding it felt like another wave of grief to them. Understandably so. And when I recently had all three of my siblings over, they seemed happier and looked so much more at ease. I truly believe your environment can dictate how you feel. It's nice to remember mom and dad, but to be reminded forcefully by being in a home that sheltered them since the 60's can leave you drained and grieving again. That's how I felt for the past two years. 

This new chapter in my life is going to be about healing and reinventing myself, rejuvenating my soul and practicing self-love so that my love tank will be full enough to love those around me. I had nothing to offer anyone while living in our old house. I was emotionally depleted, and sometimes I even felt defeated if I let it get to that point. I have no reminders of the past here. Of course I have small tokens of mom, like an old antique mirror and a few of her statues she left in the house. But I'm speaking of the vessel that held all of us as a family once. Each area has a memory, every corner has a story to tell, some good, some not so good. One thing I can say is that my family stuck together in good times as well as bad times. We didn't have to stick it out, but we chose to. 

So please bear with me as I process this huge change in my life. I promise I'll be talking about something else sooner than later, but for now, that's what's on my mind lately. That's what's in my heart for now. Just reminiscing and being grateful for this huge blessing. The letting go process can definitely be difficult, but it's also necessary in order to move forward. 

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