I realize it’s been almost a month since I’ve written here. It’s not because there haven’t been a torrent of emotions as I packed, moved, and started to unpack and settle in to a new place. It’s because it’s been exhausting. The amount of energy it took to pack over 60 boxes, unpack them, paint Audrey’s room pink, and plan her birthday party this Saturday has left me spent.
But people keep asking me if I’m settling in and asking me if I like my new place. Mostly I think after two weeks, the key word is unsettling. I don’t adjust well to change to begin with- I don’t like my new grocery store and I can’t get the front burner on my stove to light. None of my cooking has tasted good here. I locked myself out of the house last Saturday, and there seem to be an inordinate amount of spiders in this house. In our old building, I saw two bugs in three years. (That frightened me a little bit too since I wondered what kind of exterminating they must be doing regularly) But this seems to be the spider house. At least they’re not fast. And I’m getting used to killing them- once with Audrey’s Cinderella glass slipper that happened to be in my hand as I was putting it away. “Oh no! Not with Cinderella’s slipper!” she cried out.
The routines that anchored me the last two years are no longer there. We have to find new ones- it’s unsettling- like a world without gravity.
The real adjusting though- has to do with us moving on without you- the forced march forward. The concrete slab. You are not coming back. Not for my whole life. That is the wordless thing just beneath the surface of all of the “How are you settling in?” and “Can’t wait to see your place!” That is me sitting in my car in my old Whole Foods parking lot today, crying “This is really it. There is no going back.” (No, not to Whole Foods- to my old life! To the world with Dan Cho in it.)
Before you died, I was a stay at home mom- but somehow right after- I was unemployed. There was a shift. Likewise, with this move- before it felt like we still had a home- and now it feels like we’re homeless or vagabonds even though we’ve unpacked into a perfectly cozy first floor of a two family home with beautiful hardwood floors, bead board walls in the bathrooms and even a built in bookshelf. The true unsettling- is with the world itself. I live in a world now where a perfectly healthy 33 year old , just on the cusp of a lifelong dream- can drown. I knew suffering and horrible things existed beforehand, but I actually liked to believed that other saying- that a God wouldn’t give you more than you could handle- and that the people I saw losing an infant son, or a parent in a sudden car crash- were stronger than me- “I could never endure that,” I’d think- “So it won’t happen to me.” Now it’s a world where every horrid vision I have- could come true. It’s a world where what people tell me, “Things have a way of working out” and “Don’t worry- you’ll be fine.” are weightless now as well- lacking gravity. It’s a world where I do not feel at home. But- we go on.