They say you can’t go home again. I know that’s true.
I can’t go home to that yellow house in Whispering Firs. I can’t go home to that townhouse in Troutdale with the purple front door and the perennial garden in the back yard. I can’t go home to that Cape Cod on ten acres in northern Michigan where the elk congregated behind the house. I can’t go home to the house on the circle where my kids had snowball fights on those rare snow days in Washington.
I do probably have a house key for each of those homes. Plus a few cars I used to own. I can’t get rid of old keys.
It’s a quirk I have.
But I can’t go home to the past. Those homes don’t really exist except in my mind and heart.
My kids can’t go home either and that kind of breaks my heart. They don’t know it now, really. I know they think if we’d just get in the van and drive north on I-5 that we could just go home. But home is gone. Home is here now.
So I’m waiting for this house to feel like home. My friend, Diane, once told me it takes five years to feel truly at home in a new place. I’m trying to be patient.
Right now I feel detached. I love my new house but we have some empty walls and unpacked boxes and a dearth of memories here.
(To complicate matters, I find that I’m trying to let go of people who have already so easily let go of me.)
Life is a forward journey . . . so I’m trying to look forward and to stop looking over my shoulder to catch a glimpse of what I’ve left behind.
But it’s hard and sad sometimes. I’m often too aware of what’s disappearing in the rear view mirror rather than grateful for what’s around the corner. And I will never, ever get used to the absence of people who are no longer in my life.
Especially the people who never said good-bye for one reason or another.
Last week marked the twenty-second anniversary of my dad’s death. I’ve lived almost longer without a dad than I lived with one. I’m very nearly the age he was when he died.
I’m sad. (But okay.)