I have arrived at the end of a long journey. It began when my husband Bill passed away. Bill died at home, in his own room, and for that I am grateful. He was with me and his children. He was not with strangers. He did not die under a florescent light, but was beneath the window outside of which was the redbud tree I had planted for him, where the birds sang. But at the moment his spirit left his body, there came a void into the house that had not been there before. And although his spirit has always been with me, the life that resided in his body, the life that gave him a physical presence was absent from the house. Its energy was gone, and the house that was minus this energy was the house I was left to live in. It is so real, the loss of that energy.
I lived in the house for almost seven years, mindful every day of what was no longer there. I did all the things I did before, and more. I took care of things. I repaired what was broken. I managed the ground and its garden. But minding those things had lost its joy. I knew I had to go elsewhere in order to live again. Fully.
Those of you who have followed this blog with me know the long, painful story of the selling of the house. After three long years it has been done. The new buyers are lovely people. After settlement, we talked a little. The husband is an artist who was drawn to some of the work that hung on my walls. He went to the art college in Philadelphia that my brother and my daughter attended. He was taught by the same professor who taught them and who painted my portrait. He recognized his work when he saw it hanging, and said the house had an “aura” about it that he loved. They were the right people at the right time. He said his wife had been looking at the house for ten years. Imagine that. The right people at the right time and not a minute before.
And now I am in the place to which I have been called: Sedona, Arizona, a beautiful, sacred place. I could feel its call as I drove from the airport in Phoenix toward its holy red rocks, and I felt that from them I would draw a new strength. I am tired now and my back hurts. Moving is traumatic. Deep. I’m sure I strained every muscle in my back lifting a suitcase and a heavy cat carrier, many times. Between there and here my cat Dorian Gray and I slept in three different hotels – in Cambridge, in Baltimore near the airport, and in Sedona, waiting for the movers. But I’m healing. I am on the floor every night on my yoga mat, doing what I have been taught to help my back. And I am deeply, deeply happy.
The movers were marvelous; everything arrived intact. I am unpacking slowly, giving my back a chance to recover. But there is no deadline, no one to walk through my living space until I am ready.
And because nothing is simple, and no happiness is absolute, I think every day of the dear friends I left behind, the wonderful, generous people who loved me through one of the darkest times of my life. I think of my wonderful writers group, who gave me a luscious party, the dear people who walked me so patiently through my book, who gave so generously of their time and skill, who gave me the richness of laughter, a balm for my sorrow. I think of the one who came to say goodbye to me as her own husband lay dying of the same disease that took my husband. And there were the ones who gathered at the beautiful home of a dear friend, my hometown friends, who brought food and love, the same ones who supported me unselfishly, week after week, and whose presence and memories I shall always cherish, whose faith and wisdom will continue to give me strength. I will never forget the balloons in the tree outside my friend’s house, how the wind gently took one at a time, and how they floated up, up, up until they were part of the Universe.
No, no happiness is absolute, and nothing in life is simple. But I am convinced that there is a place for everyone that is filled with peace, with rightness, a place where, if we are quiet enough, we will know that the Universe has set us down gently where we belong.