Autumn is always a nostalgic time, but this year I am finding the I’m feeling it more acutely than usual. Today marks two months since I said goodbye to my grandma. It feels like two years since I’ve seen her, and yet it seems like she should be calling me any minute to ask when I’m coming over. It hurts every bit as much as I always knew it would, and then some. It’s the end of an era: my childhood.
Her house sits empty, and soon that hallowed ground will be gone as well. Home is not what home once was. I’ve salvaged a piece of it here on my lake, but soon it will not be my permanent residence. Soon I will be gone.
In my 32 years I’ve loved and I’ve lost. I lost a baby, my daughter. I lost relationships, both good ones and bad ones. I lost the love of my life without ever really having her. I’ve lost precious times in my life, like when I was in nursing school with a tight group of karate pals. I’ve shed terrible times in my life, being cheated on and lied to repeatedly, battling crippling anxiety and depression. I lost a family when my Nepali friends moved away.
All of those endings hang over me in big ways, and now foster care and the drama of adoption are behind us, and the end of my time in the ICU where I’ve worked for 6 1/2 years looms ahead of me. Times are a’changing, but they always have been, haven’t they?
Do I have the guts, the courage, and the gumption to point my stern to the horizon and take on the unknown? Maybe I’ll find new families, new friends, new eras, and new loves. If I stay here, I’ll be a ghost of all the things I used to be. So I’m going.
Two things I haven’t lost: my mother and my daughter. So I’m strapping them onto my back and setting off into the great wide yonder.
And grandma, I carry you in my heart.