I’m feeling a little sad tonight…part fatigue, part hurt feelings, and a large part anticipatory grief over impending separations. Oh, and part pain, but that part is something I’m sort of getting used to, at least physically. Mentally is a different matter, of course, but I’m working on that. On a happy note, I started the Enbrel tonight, so at least I know there’s hope that the pain may improve, and probably take some of the fatigue with it.
The sadness, though, is something I’m just going to have to work through. We are definitely moving back to Oklahoma; DH got a job offer this past week that meets all our needs and is even a little better than we were hoping for. He will be moving probably in mid-February, and the girls and I will follow in June, when school is out. This is a great thing for us, for a lot of reasons. My mother and most of my family are in Oklahoma, so I will be close to them for the first time in about 13 years. ED is planning to attend Oklahoma State – pending acceptance, which we should know about this coming week – so we will be close to her, which is huge. It’s a great job offer with a great company, and DH will be about a million and one times happier at work than he is right now. It will be a financial improvement, which speaks for itself. I will be able to explore different employment options myself – which is great, as I am terminally burned out in my current field, which I’ve been in for about 18 years now, and a change will be just what the doctor ordered.
So it’s a great thing, and I am actually very happy about it. I’m relieved to have the waiting at an end, to know what’s going to happen, and to be able to plan and organize and feel a little more in control of my own destiny. I’m excited about what the future holds. I’m more thrilled than I can possibly express for my husband, because he’s been so unhappy and has been so stoic and strong about it, and it’s hard to watch someone you love so much feeling that way. And there’s also the fact that, in a time when so many are struggling and having trouble even finding a job, we are blessed with an improvement in circumstances. That’s rare and precious, and I fully recognize and cherish that.
But I’d be lying if I didn’t say it’s mixed with sorrow and loss. Because, of course, we’ll all be leaving things behind. YD, when we told her, burst into tears at the dinner table (at a restaurant, no less – great planning, Mom!) because she would be leaving all her friends and her school and everything she’s ever known. Of course we comforted her and told her about all the positive aspects – but honestly, at times I share her pain and would love to be able to just break down and cry myself.
I’ll be leaving a job that I don’t love anymore, but that I know I’m good at and in which I have a great deal of respect and assurance, with a company that I’ve been with for almost 11 years. A few people at that firm are my very dear, close friends, and we’ve been through more shit together than I can even explain. The idea of not seeing them every day – possibly not ever seeing them again – is a shock and a wrench and…just hard. And ugly.
I’ll be leaving a home I adore, where I feel comfortable and happy and as though I belong. We have worked so hard for the past eight years or so to make this exactly the home we want, and I’m going to miss it. I guess it’s a minor aspect of the loss, but it’s there. I do love my home – not because it’s fancy or impressive or anything except mine, in every sense. I walk into it in the evening and cannot help but smile, because it makes me happy. I will miss that, and I am anxious that whomever buys it won’t love it the way I do or may even – gasp – change it. In Facebook parlance, major dislike.
I will be leaving a particular friend who has become more of a sister to me than my own sisters have been, who has brought out things in me that I didn’t even know how to unlock, who gets me in ways I’ve never been gotten. She is the first friend I have ever had who lived close by and whom I could see on a daily basis at times. If that sounds strange, please be aware that I have generally lived, by choice, in more rural areas and didn’t really have any close neighbors, let alone ones I liked. Also, I’m a hermit by nature. It’s incredibly difficult for me to reach out to people. I try to force myself – more now than in the past – but it doesn’t come naturally or easily. I cherish this friend more than I ever thought possible, and leaving her is going to be like leaving one of my children, in intensity of pain if not in similarity of sentiment.
I have really grown up here, to be truthful. Most of my adult life has been spent here in Charleston, and while there are a lot of things about the area that frustrate me – the air quality or lack thereof, the generally economically depressed status of the area, and a host of other things – the fact is that it is my home, and I love it. Love it, deeply and truly and intensely. I have become a real person here, gone from a fledgling and largely unformed young woman who thought she knew it all but actually had less than half a clue about anything, to something of a seeker after truth who still doesn’t know all that much but at least knows enough to know she doesn’t know anything. (And a passionate lover of the random incoherent run-on sentence, apparently!) Here, I have learned to breathe, to meditate, to open myself to the beauties and wonders and joys of life. Here, I have faced my deepest fears and my most intense pain, and have come out the other side stronger, wiser and filled with self-love and a passion for life and truth that still amaze and humble me. Here, I have gone from a girl to a woman, and every winding road, every tree-covered mountain, every rambling stream hold memories so powerful and affecting that they are almost painful to carry away.
I will miss the people who have become a part of me, who have been with me through the fire, who have walked beside me and held my hand when it got really hard, who have laughed with me and behaved like silly, senseless idiots when the circumstances called for it. I have learned and grown so much through being blessed with these people’s presence in my life, and walking away from them will tear out a little piece of my heart that has put down roots so strong they simply will not let go.
I will miss the land – the mountains, the forests, the streams, the sudden and unexpected waterfalls that appear around every bend, the blazing glory of the trees in autumn, the lush verdancy of those same trees in the sultry summer. I will miss the rare blanketing snowfalls that outline every tree and hillside and leave the whole world looking like nothing so much as a Currier & Ives postcard. I will miss the occasional perfect spring days when the breeze clears away the ever-present miasma of humidity to leave the whole world sparkling and so perfectly beautiful it is painful to see.
I will miss this time of my life, when I have learned and grown and survived and triumphed…the days when I have been happier than ever before, happier than I ever thought I could be, or deserved to be…the days when I finally realized that I did deserve that happiness, and learned to reach out and grasp it and draw it to myself. It has been a beautiful time, no matter how painful some of it has been – but we all know that there is no growth without pain, and if we don’t experience that pain, then we can’t experience the joy that follows in equal intensity.
It is going to be so hard, and while I want to acknowledge and celebrate the wonderfulness that I know is coming, I also know from personal experience that I have got to acknowledge the sadness and the loss. That’s difficult, because part of me will always believe that stoicism is simply the only option. I can’t bear the thought of DH thinking that I don’t want this, that I’m not happy about it, and I’m not sure he would understand that the sadness doesn’t cancel out or in any way invalidate the happiness. Because I am happy, deliriously so. I miss my family and I have been longing to be able to be close to them and to rediscover the place where I was a child. I want to be close to my mother, to help take care of her. I want to be close enough for my daughter to come home from college for weekends when she wants to. I want this. I have pushed for this. But it’s possible to be deliriously happy about it and still be overwhelmingly sad about leaving. I’m just not sure if I could explain that to him in a way that wouldn’t hurt him or make him feel guilty or cause him stress and unhappiness. The whole thing is going to be stressful enough without me making it harder for him. The girls also need to see me happy about the move, because their own loss and uncertainty demands that; I need to reassure them and help them to focus on the positive, and I can hardly do that if I’m exuding negative emotion. So I sort of have to keep this to myself…but I know that if I don’t express it and acknowledge it and deal with it, it will eat me alive. I just have to do it quietly, when no one’s looking.
ED will be giving a senior voice recital in April, at the end of her last year with her voice coach, who I would pack and take with me if I thought her family would allow it. While I cannot wait for this, for the opportunity for friends and – well, friends, because we don’t have any family here anymore – to hear her sing, I know that I’ll have to pack the tissues. One of the songs she will be singing will be “Time to Say Goodbye” and on so many levels, that is exactly the time it will be. Time to say goodbye to her childhood, to her high-school years, to her friends here and so much that she has known. And it will be that time for me, as well – time to say goodbye to our home here, to the friends I love, to a wonderful time and place…and time to say goodbye to the years when my oldest child was still a child and nestled under my wing.
In many ways, this is the end of a chapter of our lives. It’s been a good one, and I will miss it.