All NewPosted: December 7, 2011
I knew we were going to be all right when the dog let me know in the only way she could that she was accepting the move.
I’d brought her to the new house four or five times, let her walk around the front newly sodded yard, up and down the sidewalks, and throughout the house in its progressing stages of completion. For weeks in our Wimbledon house, she watched me put together boxes and strip tape around them and pack them with our stuff. Our stuff disappeared and the stacks of boxes in the house grew. She kept looking at me, fully aware that something big and different was going on. Then when the four men from Franklin Movers arrived, she began to shake violently, and my heart began to crumble.
The last big thing in her life was three and a half years ago, when her “daddy” went to the doctor and never came home. She kept watching the street, waiting for him to come around the curve behind the island. She kept watching the back door, waiting for him to walk in, so she could do that high-pitched barking and run to him, then around the circle of hall, foyer, living room, dining room, great room, kitchen, hall, bedroom, with her butt tucked, and she would jump on the bed, still yipping, and greet him as he removed his phone and billfold and loose change. That was our life together and the house on Wimbledon was all she ever knew and it was what I loved and where I felt at home.
We both went through grief then, deep and severe. And I guess some of that will always be with me, because it’s like Alyce, my neighbor in Cleveland, told my mother after my father died, “You don’t ever get over it. You just learn to live with it.” Even yesterday when the cable man was at the house, I was taking notes on setup audio and video 1 and 2 in my old gray At-A-Glance and happened to flip to the back page where I had scribbled notes at the hospital as a nurse named Betsy reported to me: occlusion…clot…mesenteric artery…opened and removed clots…restricted blood flow…complete dissection of aorta. And my chest tightened and squeezed my heart up into my throat, and yes, the tears came. I wasn’t ready for that life, our life, to be over.
So this move has been all about endings. Up until now, that’s it. Endings. Boxing up, packing up, purging, throwing out, giving away things attached to that person who is no longer with us, keeping some, remembering, letting go. Crying, hurting, cursing, fussing at him for keeping everything that I was having to throw away or pack up and move. Then driving away from it all…
Now in the new home, I think about beginnings. New people, new friends, new town, new stores, new everything. I needed a change. I needed NEW. I needed a somewhat smaller house and yard and mortgage payment. Now, I’ve got everything all new. And I can breathe.
As I unboxed my stuff and built a hill of white packing paper on the kitchen floor, the dog walked over, stepped into the stack, rattled it, circled, and lay down. Then she looked up to me, as if to say, “Okay, I’m in this, too.”
And we are okay.