In less than a month I will be locking this door behind me for the last time. I have loved my home here for 6 years, ever since the divorce. It was my healing place, my sanctuary, some times my cloister when my changing world was too much with me. Earlier, I had to leave my dream home of twenty years with the end of my marriage, including the flower gardens I had spent so many years developing there. I left thirty-two rose bushes behind, along with lilies, clematis, and my beloved cluster of tall, sheltering lilacs. And now I am leaving again. Leaving this special little city nestled in the shadow of the ancient bluffs and the shore of the Mississippi River where I've lived for 32 years.
I remember how I felt when I was searching for a new place to live, for the first time alone. Emotionally I was barely holding together. I had come to believe that after 35 years of marriage we were golden ... solid ...real. But it all turned out to be an illusion. So I was going to have to start over and I needed to find a place to nest in soon. I was driven past this house on four occasions with my realtor but I never wanted to look inside. The "curb appeal" was nil. It left me feeling cold and appeared bleak and barren. But one day I could suddenly see past all of that and was confident that I could change it. I could make it bloom. That was the door to my healing. I had a new vision and a place to start over.
In recent years I have resisted the idea of moving again. I have lived in this town for 32 years. This was now my dream home and I had put a lot into it thinking I would be here for a long time. But the world has changed and I realized I could not stay here much longer with all the uncertainty. So I acquiesced. My house sold within a month. Knowing this was coming, I had started purging and packing a full year ahead aided by my daughter on the occasional weekends when she could come to visit. My garage slowly filled with boxes. The hardest to disassemble was my studio. I had stocked up on many art supplies thinking I was always going to be here, and now I had to pack them all away. I am used to creating art on a daily basis, so it has been frustrating not having access to most of my materials.
I intend to buy a duplex with my daughter to share in the city where she lives. It has been her idea for a while now. But that plan will take a little time to evolve, so meanwhile I will be living in the spare bedroom in her condo, and storing my furniture and everything else in a storage facility nearby. It could be as long as a year before we are ready to move again into our yet-to-be-discovered duplex. So sadly I will not have the majority of my art materials with me for all of that time. There's no way I could survive that long without creating my art so I have had to rely on my imagination to come up with art that I can do in a small space with limited supplies. I'm sure I will share that here as it develops. Meanwhile there's still a lot of packing to do before I can move.
I was initially worried about leaving another garden behind and the emotional affect that would have on me. But I have been surprised at how ready I am to think about leaving it all to a new garden lover. I will miss the breath-taking beauty that greets me every day in the growing season, and the anticipation of future blooms when the blanket of snow grows outside my window. But in the past six years I may have over-exuberantly planted and planted, front yard and back, without considering all the work I was creating for myself in the future. So I am soon going to be leaving this town with little remaining to reveal I ever lived here, except for my gardens. With any hope, the beautiful blooms will live on for years sharing their beauty with passers-by and those who will be the future caretakers of them.
Life for me has been a series of losses throughout - so many good byes, too many tears. I learned as a child to escape to my world of imagination and dreams with my writing and artwork. It took me a long time to understand what I did and why. I thought I had a forever life...forever love...forever home. Instead, I've learned that nothing is forever, all we really have is today, and ourselves alone. I'm happy to have been invited to share a duplex, side by side, with my daughter. It makes me think I have done something right as a mother raising my children. I am also looking forward to living closer to my son and his family including my second grandson born just yesterday. It will be good to feel more like a family again. I am tired of being alone here. It will feel strange at first, rather like a homeless person. But as soon as we can make our move, and we will each have our own space again, life will find it's new normal.