Goodbye, house. You have been a part of my life for many decades, and you are filled to overflowing with memories. Many sweet memories, but also many sad memories, bittersweet memories, and other memories that are just bitter. You have held my fears, my sorrow. You have comforted me through a battle against cancer, and when I was so weak I couldn’t hold up a towel to fold it, you let me rest in you. Two of my so dearly beloved dogs breathed their last breaths here in your rooms.
Life has not been easy here, and that honestly makes it so much easier to leave. In the process of moving, I had to part with a lot of things, a lot of possessions that just didn’t fit into the new life I am heading into. Or more accurately, they wouldn’t fit into the moving van! I am also leaving behind the bitter, the sad, the stressful. For years now I have been bogged down with depression, to the point of passive suicidal ideation. But you know what? I am not depressed now. And I think it is in part because I am leaving this place.
So maybe tomorrow, or maybe the next day, I will load more stuff than will fit into my Jeep, and fill all free space with blankets and pillows for my dogs. Spike will curl up in my heart, where he has been since he passed, and my lab Bella, who died six years ago, will walk by my side. My mother’s ashes will remain at the Golden Gate in San Francisco, but when she was passing, I told her she would always and with me in my heart. Honestly, since she died I have been filled with a lot of regrets. I have regrets over all my mistakes and things I should have done differently, and just a sense of shame that sometimes kept me from embracing her presence, like I didn’t want her to see my failures. That stuff is hard to cast off, but I hope and pray it will dissolve with the miles. Michaela also. I have said that I don’t feel guilt over her kidnapping, but what I mean is I don’t feel guilty for letting her go to the store that morning. But on a completely different level, I am actually filled to overflowing with guilt for this having happened to her, for not having been able to help her, for failing at the most important job of my life.
I am taking two of my children from here, but three will remain on the west coast. Only one is local. My oldest daughter lives out of the state and my son lives in another part of California. I kind of thought it wouldn’t matter. We had to travel to visit when I lived here, and we will just have to travel a little farther. When my youngest daughter and grandson went ahead of me to Iowa, the distance felt heavy to me, however. So there is that. But thank God we live in a time when the world has become so small. When my mother moved here from England to marry my dad, intercontinental phone calls were too expensive to even consider, and a letter took five days to make the trip. Oh they made those trips regularly, with envelopes arriving and being returned weekly. Now we can remain in constant contact in so many ways, to remain a part of each other’s lives, and I will always visit. As I told my daughter, I am not leaving her. That would never be possible, just as it was not possible when she moved to Oregon. I have always told my children that each has their own room in my heart that belongs to just them, and that will always be true. And there will always be room in my house for them, as well, more room in Iowa than there was here. I do regret the distance. But I cannot stay in this place.
When I go, every good and sweet thing will go with me. The bad stuff I will leave at the curb for the last trash pickup. I walk forward down this road of life, still seeking, but with more hope and peace than I have felt in a long time.