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Our Story Goes On #relationship #divorce #movingaway #separationanxiety

Poised to move in just 10 days from Nashville, my heart spent the last few days feeling so many different emotions. This morning, I sat at a viewing for a 33-year-old friend who had passed away last week. He had four children under eight years old and a thirty-year-old wife who shouldn’t have to shoulder the burden of raising four kids alone. As my friend’s wide smile flashed before us in every photograph chosen for the video montage on two large screens above the church altar, it was as if I was seeing my friend for the first time, through the eyes of his family. My heart began to quake and, suddenly, tears just gushed from my soul. I didn’t understand why—would never understand the heartbreak and the pain that the hundred or so friends tried to share in that moment.

When I left the church where the funeral was held, I had a long drive home, time to think, time to contemplate death and relationship. His passing was much like my own leaping from state to state. Friends grieve all around me, even making appointments to have weekly lunches like support groups. I guess, no one has any idea what an impact he has on those around him, until he departs. “I got you deep in the heart of me. So, deep… you’re really a part of me,” Sinatra sang. I never really knew what he meant, until now.

Nashville and the friends I have made here have had over twenty-five years to take root deeply into every fiber of my being. If I didn’t grieve, I would wonder what was wrong. I sit in my almost empty house, with boxes stacked to the ceiling, hard wood floor reverberating my voice, a “sold” sign in the front yard, and my past passing in front of me, daily.

Last week, I decided to begin writing my memoirs—perhaps, never to be published, but to reflect on my own life up to this point. What exactly am I moving toward and what have I learned so far? What is this thing called relationship? Much of what I have learned is from the many people who have built a small village around our deepening sentiments together. We gather close to heal each other and stand strong while others falter. Is it no wonder that when a bedrock is moved that everything around it begins to crack at the seams for a while, until it is replaced or repaired?

One of the last things in my home that I have sold is the tin angel in my side garden. She went to one of my dearest friends. As I pulled her out from the rebar she sat on, because the wind used to blow her over every time it stormed, I realized how tightly the angel had been anchored into the ground. Plants had taken root inside of her, mud made a hard seam around her tin dress, and even one of the wings had broken off. I guess, I noticed that, but I never did anything about it. She stood ominously near, tattered, yet stable. I didn’t need to imagine what the garden or yard would look like without her, until Susan drove away with her in the back of her SUV. Now, I see and feel that empty space, much like the entire congregation felt this morning without Alvin.

I’m sure something will grow in the space where the angel once perched. I know a family is about to burgeon where I have walked, tile by tile, rug to rug, time and time again through my house, the patter of little feet, not yet born, will take root in this home that was once mine.

Imagine the newness wrapped around that which you leave or departs your life! This keeps our hope from being dashed. We, also, must keep our heads faced forward for the new adventure about to come forth. “A time to grieve and a time for sorrow,” the scriptures say, but much like the roots left frozen in the winter, with the warmth of tomorrow, a new flower, bearing new fruit, will, once again, produce a seed to propagate again and again. Our story goes on…

 

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