I wanted this, so why am I awake at 5 a.m., weeping? I’ve felt more and more for several years now that we’ve outgrown this home, that it’s too big for us now, too expensive and time-consuming to maintain. Still endings are sad, and this move will mark the end of an era.
I expected a degree of sorrow, and anxiety is normal with a big change. The guilt has been a bit of a surprise though. It feels like a large black muddy weight, the scale of which I’ve only ever felt once before, when I had no choice but to admit to a failed marriage. It’s guilt that we will no longer be providing the soft cushion our many-roomed home has been for the family, guilt that what I want to buy now is beautiful and new. And perhaps guilt that goes back to a lifetime of falling short, I don’t know; my personality does that sometimes, unravel the whole ball of wool.
We have three weeks. Three weeks to sort through a lifetime of things. Anxiety about that is predictable. (And were we insane to agree to that kind of short possession date?) But it goes much beyond this. I’m anxious that the kids will be disappointed, (even though they’re all adults and well on their way), anxious that I won’t be able to manage all the changes ahead. Anxious that the choice we’ve made isn’t financially conservative enough. Worried that my health will fail, and that the new place won’t feel homey. Anxious about the silliest things, too: that I’ll be the oldest person in a building of strong, young and accomplished men and women, the only one hiding gray hair. Hoping we made the right decision. It’s all happened so quickly.
Anxious and sad and trapped is what I feel this morning—this place too big and unwieldy now that most of the rooms are empty, too loaded with a role that no longer fits; the new beautiful but small, and foreign, and in an unfamiliar part of town.
It will become home, I tell myself. I still have a balcony, and will still be able to step out to smell the rain and watch the storm clouds roll in, or have a cup of tea in the fall sunshine. Without these I would be utterly heart-broken. I’ll be able to walk to the river, or the coffee shop, even the grocery store. There will be many lovely things, less of the quiet isolation I feel in this suburban neighbourhood, more time for new pursuits. It will be an adventure.
Still, it will involve saying good-bye to so many boxes of memories. So I sit here and weep while I wait for the mercy of daybreak. …which has now, a cup of tea and piece of toast later, arrived. A wet, windy, cold October morning, the yellow on the trees out back announcing a new season.