Funny how Bursts of Grief can just show up out of seemingly nowhere.
One minute I was packing my bags to move from one Airbnb to another (this is a story for another day), and the next thing I know I am reaching for my Morning Pages for the second time of the day as if I am scrambling to reach a lifeguard's ring.
"This one is going to hurt. Grab your pen and grab it now."
I knew what was happening. I was trying to keep the words at bay one more second until I could lay them down on paper. They might be less sharp there, less chaotic at least. They wouldn't buckle my knees as they were threatening to do, sweep me away.
It started out so mildly.
Annoyed that I had to change temporary lodging just a few days after getting here, annoyed that I had to move to a temporary lodging at all. Bypassing the gratitude of living two blocks from a magnificent beach for an extra few days, I just wanted to be HOME. I wanted to get there and stay there. I didn't want to schlep yet one more batch of stuff, decide what I might need, not need.
"Just like my kids did for years when they switched home each week from their dad's to mine."
Soft music in the background, still a bit of sand on my toes, an observation, just an observation.
Which could have stayed at that.
Except it didn't.
Except that all of a sudden I was presented with a memory of my daughter packing her stuff into a bag on a Monday morning, leaving behind her bedroom and all the sweet mess she had made in it the previous six days. She was ten and had been doing this dance for two years already. She would continue for another eight, even as she begged me when she was fourteen to find a way to make it stop, to please let her stay with me. My lawyer said it would be a tough road and so my baby kept packing. Until a week after graduating she moved to Brazil for a year. I allowed myself to acknowledge that she would stay at her hosts parents' for more than a week at a time.
I then saw my son, six years old and coming back to me after a week with his dad. While they were gone I had moved the couch from one side of the living room to the next. I hadn't known how disrupting this would be to him. At thirty-six I had so much growing up to do. Transition days back to my house were often hard for him and the Monday after he graduated from high school, he told me he would stay at his dad's "for a while." It wasn't too long before he moved to Hawaii.
Then my baby, my two-year-old. He was still nursing when The Change blew through our lives. This is something I am still not able to completely face all the way. I will. Just haven't been able to yet. So many "I should haves" swim around my heart, threatening to pierce it more and more. One day, I think he was about four, he came to me with big eyes and a great idea: "why don't you and Dad live in the same house? This way we could all be together all the time!" He had forgotten. I wanted to throw up. When he moved to France, at the age of seventeen, and was matched with a host family, I again thought about how he would have more stability with strangers across the world than he had had with me.
Sitting on a tree at twilight, I was telling a friend just a few weeks ago about how few regrets I have about my life. Except for the big one: the way I left my marriage. The way I fled because I was afraid of what would happen to my ability to function if I didn't. The requests I did not know I was allowed to make and so did not make. The fighting for what mattered that I did not how to fight. I was a mess.
And this morning, I am again. But there are no more decisions to make, that window has closed a long time ago. Only deep pain - and heartbreaking regret.
I will never know what it's like to have two homes (does it mean one really has no home?). I am afraid to think about what this does to a young person. To three young persons, the people who matter more to me than anyone else in the world.
Blubbering "I am sorry" over and over again this morning, as I pack to move once more, won't change a thing.
I sure didn't see that one coming as I was putting tank tops into a plastic bag.