About four years ago, after we found out that we will have aching empty arms for a long time to come, R asked, “Should we move away?”
I remember I started, not having that thought cross my mind yet. And then I had conflicted feelings. I wanted to go. I wanted to run far far away so people I know will never ever see my face of grief. I wanted to put as much distance as possible between myself and the reality of what had happened. But I also needed friends. And I know the girls will need their friends. Moreover, I did not have the energy to deal with a move.
Now, we are moving. Two years (and a bit more) after deciding that we would like a change of location, our wish finally came true. And in a timely manner, for R would have to take a drastic pay cut very soon if he stayed with his job. So, I am full of gratefulness of the timing of it all. We are moving way across the country and further north, to upstate New York.
So many changes await us.
Instead of a long summer, we will have to endure a long winter. Different roads, different micro-culture, different lingo. Living without Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Cost.co. We cannot take our friends along with us. The environment is different, and the girls may just try school out for size.
There will be a period of adjustment, and some months living in limbo while getting acquainted with the new place.
I will need to help the girls find new friends, and establish my own community. I will need to seek out and introduce myself to mom groups, sniff out like-minded people and hunt down the places that will fulfil our needs for books and food. Hiking options need to be mapped out, and I am going to start preparing for winter once we settle in.
This will be the first year I am honoring Ferdinand’s anniversary without friends around me.
I have never really called upon my friends, or leaned too heavily upon them, when July 29 rolls around. But there is a difference, knowing they are close by. I wonder how it will be this year. For the past years, the hot summer months preceding Ferdinand’s birthday always suffocated me, and the heat felt like grief is being oppressive and strangling me. Will the cooler summer in New York change how July feels for me? I don’t know. I am still without my son, that’s all.
It’s been all shades of crazy around here, preparing for the move, and so many mixed feelings. One of them is regret. I see how the girls say begin to say goodbye to their friends, and how they reluctantly leave the park and I wish they had been afforded more time with their friends. I took so long to come out of my shell after Ferdinand died. Should I have been braver and less selfish, they would have had more time with their friends. I realize also how I wish I have had more time to get to know some people whom I really like, but again, it was a very long time before the new normal began for me. And even when I attempted to be “normal” again, something in me always held me back. The shadow of grief in my heart kept me close to the comfort and safety of home. In some sense I never really came out of my cave.
I know moving to a new place will force me to put myself out there, and maybe that’s why I pushed so hard for a move. I just wish we could have moved away without regrets.