Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Grief with Moving


Most people don’t start their lives over in new places with new people too often if at all. Those who do are tired, so it’s not a huge surprise to me that no one talks much about the fatigue of it all, except maybe for helping a child adjust to a new school. I just want to sleep. No matter how positive the changes, the first year is exhausting in every way because it doesn’t just take a lot of energy to learn new places and get settled, it is the work of grief. Constructive, but fatiguing. 

I woke on this beautiful morning and I could hardly breathe. Every likelihood that a fulfilling and wonderful day lay ahead but I wondered if I was sick. I wondered why I was sad. Grief is the last emotion I expected to be waiting  on the pillow when I opened my eyes, but the perfect weather and promise of the morning make it safe enough to acknowledge a sorrow inherent to my lifestyle. I have moved a lot: Not internationally, but 22 times to 5 different states and more towns, far enough that I haven’t been able to stay in real contact with the people I have known. It’s starting to catch up with me. 
I grieve. 
Don’t ask me where I am from. I am the child of a thousand stories and no place at all.   
I grieve not knowing -knowing- where I am. 
I grieve
for the settled feeling I think others must have. 
I grieve
leaving the places we poured ourselves into
and that when a stranger sees that place she will never see the pieces of me 
there like a fly in amber.  
I grieve when the things that help me remember break in another dropped cardboard box.
I grieve
for all the homes I have left just after I made them, and  
for the home places of my grandparents and great grandparents which my children will never know, 
the relatives they will never meet, 
the stories they will never hear 
in the extended families I never quite belonged to. 
I grieve 
the roots I don’t have,
and almost every church I left behind.
I grieve
being the new friend, 
always feeling like the last to arrive 
and the first to leave a place. 
for the shorthand looks between friends that compress meaning and memory into a new moment because I have that with my sister 
and she is not here. 
I grieve because my eyes are those of an outsider. 
I grieve not being the dearest friend of another woman, and the many who have been dearest to me.
I grieve 
not knowing how to dress every morning because I don’t understand this weather. 
I grieve for the fear of returning to a place that forgot me. 
I grieve not belonging in the new place either.  
I grieve the unfamiliar flora,
and not knowing the new names.
I grieve forgetting the old names,
and when I find myself in another chain restaurant because 
a new menu feels like too much, I grieve.
I grieve the strain of starting over with 
new grocery stores, 
new gas stations, 
new gardens, 
new churches, 
new libraries, 
new neighbors, 
new friends, 
new babysitters, 
new doctors.
I grieve the life I have missed while I was trying to get my bearings. 
I grieve because there is nothing to hold me to this place 
but my own reluctance to leave. 
I am unbounded by history, habit, love, or necessity, and for now the freedom feels like loss. 

1 comment:

AJ said...

Lydia, I think you have put into words the feelings that have been mulling around in my soul as I have been preparing to move. And do know, you are not the only one who feels this way, nor are you forgotten. You work so hard to keep everything together and then some, it's amazing to me. I know I was continually impressed with you when I spent time in your home. Oh, how things have changed. But I want you to know that you are heard and you are not alone in your grief. It's okay to grieve. And it's okay to get up from that grief when you are ready to get up. *hugs* Miss you and the girls.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...