It’s interesting how cyclical our journey’s can sometimes seem. Things happen. Hard things, joyous things, terrifying, and beautiful things. And amidst all of these human experiences we often find ourselves either fighting to hold on, or aching to let go; of people, places, and objects. Change is the only constant in life, yet it becomes so instinctual to hold tight to what we have; or think we have… We work, plan, and prepare for futures that aren’t guaranteed, which can leave us feeling defeated and/or broken when they don’t arrive… We romanticize our pasts, and dream of our futures, which can leave us feeling stuck, sad, and/or lonely when we sit with what actually “is…”
So here I stand, recognizing that some goodbyes can be both instantaneous and long; like this one. It’s hard not to attach meaning to something as symbolic as a home. The first and only home I’ve ever owned. A thoughtful, stressful, but most of all exciting purchase… The heaviness in my chest over the past couple of weeks (and the returning of nightmares), is a palpable reminder that the only way out, is through… I need to feel, so that I can continue to heal.
I’ve been brave, bold, and authentically optimistic enough, to have believed that I’d found true love, once or twice before… Each of those experiences, in part, have led me here… Here to the steps of this federal style home in downtown Kennebunk, Maine. Here to reflect once again on what was, what could have been, but most importantly… what is.
This house in many ways reminds me of some of the men I’ve chosen to love over the years… in particularly the last one. Old(er), easy on the eyes, and not without some unknown electrical issues! They both harbored So. Much. Potential.
I love the old wooden floors and how Molly took some of her first steps on them. I like how things were “grandfathered in,” instead of being built to code. It wasnt perfect (and neither was our love), but they were both what I wanted to call my forever, once… There is a room upstairs and to the left where I rocked my daughter to sleep, almost every night… There is a kitchen on the first floor with stainless steel appliances and granite table tops; where I worked to improve my cooking skills. There was a sectional couch, tv, and play area in the living room where we use to drink coffee together and cuddle on the weekends; while our baby played. What is now a third bedroom served as the most beautiful Christmas tree room; two years in a row…The hot tub is gone now, but it is where we liked to unwind with cold cocktails, and talk about our future, in the evenings. The detached garage was destined to become my yoga studio and was to be built by him…
We threw Molly’s first birthday party in our huge backyard. We took family photos on our front steps. We shoveled our driveway together; countless times. We laughed, we cried, we argued, and we loved; here in this home. We went on family runs and walked to breakfast… We were especially pumped about the school system our daughter would be a part of. We planned our wedding here and collected RSVP’s in the mailbox.
That’s a lot to pay homage to, but what’s more poignant to me than what remains, is what is gone… The breezeway is gone now and so is he. Although unplanned it’s rather poetic, for that’s where I was standing when I got the phone call. That old broken down breezeway is where I fell apart too. I didn’t know then that I would never sleep in this house again. I didn’t know then that I would have to spend countless hours packing, moving, and liquidating someone else’s stuff; because he couldn’t do it himself. More hurtful than being completely blindsided and betrayed, has been my journey to this day… For just over a year now, with a broken but still beating heart, I have literally picked up after a grown man, because he is in prison, and no one else was going to do it for him. I had no choice.
For over a year now I’ve forged my path to freedom by labeling, bagging, boxing, and selling forty three years of a “mans” life. A “man” who abandoned his daughter and I. It has honestly felt like an excruciating part time job. A part time job that has existed alongside all of the other full time positions that I hadn’t applied for, but was granted; that same day… There were moments within these days when I truly contemplated who was actually in prison; as I struggled to break free from the grasps of the emotional torment, that he had placed on me… I imagined him behind bars, coloring, penning pals, getting a good workout in, going to counseling, not having to clean up a damn thing. Meanwhile, back at the Kennebunk house I’m sweating, swearing, and crying, as I fight to regain traction… BUT, at long last it is done. I did it.
So amongst the memories from this home, I’m choosing to take with me the hard ones too; for they are sacred. The real beauty of who I am and continue to become is embedded within these memories of struggle. The emotional workout has been intense and unpleasant, but the results are showing. Just like the tearing apart of muscle fibers leads to their repair; I too have grown in size and strength.
It’s been painful. It feels appropriate that it’s raining today as I prepare for the closing… the closing of both what was “our” home, and his chapter in my life… Like tears, the rain more eloquently acknowledges the things that can’t be said; only felt. I’m struck by the way all of these thoughts and feelings are able to coexist within me. I’m busy creating space for them all. I’m tired of grieving. I’ve never felt so thankful, hopeful, or free as I do here and now; as the beginning strikes, again. Home isn’t a place but a feeling, and it’s one that I’ve been journeying closer to, since the day that he left. Thank you York Street, for the memories.