In the past three weeks my life has been a whirlpool of change, sometimes spinning so fast I get dizzy. I am currently in the middle of buying a new home, selling my home, dealing with my insurance company over my car (which was totaled by my oldest son), and spending time in Portland, 250 miles from my current home, to support and say goodbye to a good friend with terminal cancer this week. To say I’ve had a lot going on is an understatement.
This week, it’s become apparent to me that I’m holding both joy and feelings of optimism and eager anticipation right alongside feelings of sorrow and grief. It’s something I’ve never experienced. I’ve realized that I can allow joy back in, I can reside inside that joy and allow it in my life, while still actively grieving all of the loss I’m also experiencing.
In that space, with both palms turned up, willing to receive whatever comes, I’ve also realized that joy and sorrow are not that far apart on my emotional scale. I’ve cried lots of tears in the past 9 months or so…lately some of those have been tears of Joy. I’m in a constant state of reaching out and grabbing hold of the new life I am creating for myself while I struggle to let go of what’s happened or come before. I’m buying the house of my dreams back “home” where my family and friends live and in order to have that, I have to let go of my house in Walla Walla and the friends who have been my family there.
On Monday night I “staged” my current house for the realtor’s open Tuesday morning and packed away every scrap of personalization that was in it. Every photo, every saved love note tacked on my bulletin board from John, every memento from my life over the past decade. It felt like I was packing away that life and it was exhausting and sad. I’ve lived in that house for 12 years. I bought it as a single mom and have done a huge amount of growing there in that time. My boys grew up in that house, and so did I in many ways. I met John and he moved in with me in that house. We made an incredible life together there, and it’s where he exited my life after the most difficult two and a half years I’ve ever experienced. So there is much joy there but also too much pain for me to stay.
It will be very hard to leave, to let go, but it’s necessary if I want to move forward and into my new life. It leaves me wanting to hold on while needing to let go, feeling joy in the midst of my continuing sorrow.
I’m in Vancouver this week. I’m here to say goodby to my friend Ann Hardt. She’s been a friend for 25 years. I sang in my first quartet with her and she’s the reason I’m singing with The Pride of Portland Sweet Adelines chorus now. She invited me back to Portland to sing in a new quartet and Pride was just sort of a natural part of that experience. It’s also been a lifesaver for me. Now I have to let her go. Losing someone I love to cancer so soon after losing the love of my life to it just four short months ago is brutal. Yesterday, I spent several hours with her and my pain was palpable when I left her home.
I’m staying with my friends Camille & Scott Lunt, who have pretty much made me a part of their family and are saving my life right now. Being with them is my happy place, and the one I came home to yesterday. I can’t help but smile and laugh when I’m here. Sorrow and pain occupied the same space in my day yesterday, as they have for the past few weeks.
They seem like odd bedfellows but I have a feeling they’ll be sleeping together for a long time. #livelikejohnny #lovetrumpscaner #joyandsorrow