As if selling off and giving away the majority of our belongings wasn’t surreal enough, the remains of our worldly possessions were loaded into a freight truck as the moon totally eclipsed the sun. We stood on the back porch and watched the shadows morph as our house was emptied. Our German Shepherd, Ava, raced around the yard excitedly barking as if she had something very important to say or perhaps trying to tell us something very unusual was happening. By the time the sky was fully bright again, it was time to pay the movers and watch our stuff leave for indefinite storage.
The next day we visited the house for the last time. As I opened the door, the lack of dogs greeting me was momentarily more unsettling than seeing it completely empty. But as I walked from room to room, I sensed the house was already losing the essence of us. It seemed still, cold, lifeless. Although I could bring to mind all the great times we had there, as well as memories of sickness and tears, the stillness was palpable. I was stunned when tears started streaming down my face. Not only had we sold our “forever home,” but my daughter also would not be coming with us on the next phase of the adventure. She is now a grown woman following her path.
I needed to spend a few more minutes under the cherry tree where we had spent innumerable nights talking, laughing, and drinking a whiskey (or two). The same cherry tree that Stan and I were married under a month ago. We walked the yard looking for treasures the dogs had buried (and the droppings that the new owners would not treasure). We hugged and looked through the leaves of the tree into the sky as we had so many times before. I made one more lap through the house, tears coming intermittently. Then, I pulled myself away. It was time to let go.
Immediately following the good-bye, we set off to trade in my car. “Lady Bug,” I joked was my mid-life crisis car. Although I always suspected I hadn’t done it quite right since she is a Chevy Cruze and was purchased because of her superior safety ratings. However, she was red, with a sunroof, and a great stereo system. And yes, I blew the speakers listening to Motörhead. I couldn’t believe I was once again shopping for the oh so practical mini-van. The dealership had several “used” low mile 2017 minivans in stock, so we did a side-by-side comparison and went with the one that had roof rails installed. We only had a few more days before getting on the road and would need to add a roof cargo rack asap. Like any used car experience, we had to navigate the smooth talking and the pushiness of the sales team. For the first time, we also encountered the challenge of not having a permanent address. I was amazed that they were less concerned about me producing “proof” of employment than of an address. For some reason, in their minds, having a permanent address equated to my ability to pay. I wonder how many times this will be a problem for us? I also feel deep compassion for people who are homeless and are discriminated against and denied access to things/services just because they have no permanent address. It is totally unreasonable and unwarranted, My example is trite in comparison, but it shed light on difficulties others must face.
The whole process of trading the car took many hours. Adding to the heaviness, the TV in the waiting room blared images of 45’s rally in Phoenix. I had time to sit with all that had happened in the last few weeks and the fact that our “forever home” was no longer ours. Everything was sinking in. By the time I saw my car again, to double check I had gotten everything out, it had a dealership sticker on it. I momentarily panicked. What the hell had I done, maybe the naysayers are right? Maybe I am crazy for doing this? Then I remembered, that my job was not secure, Seattle is too expensive and is not the same city I fell in love with over 25 years ago. Everything aligned to give us the opportunity to travel and to have some space in our lives. It is terrifying, exciting, sad, and joyous.
That evening when I finally sat down at the Airbnb where we were staying, I had a chance to peruse Facebook. For many, it was the first day of school. A dear friend posted an article reminding how difficult that day is for kids; the title was Big Day, Big Feelings. Those four words summarized my day perfectly, all the feelings I could have had…I had. It was the Big Day and the point of no return. I had to roll with the waves of emotion, trust, and continue to let go. It is too late to turn back now. We can only go forward…