It is fascinating the way life reaches up and slaps you in the face. Just when you think you have finally gotten back to some sort of stability, you are bitten by the sting of devastating pain. You breathe and ask the question: Where did this come from? You breathe again.
Four years after the death of my husband to suicide, I decided to sell the home we shared. The home where laughter echoed as children grew and dogs barked. The home where tears overfilled the pool in the yard. The home where, on that fateful summer day, he chose to end his life.
Finally, I was ready to begin a new chapter in my book of life. A new home without all the memories. The process took over a year before the right buyer showed up. The negotiations were unpleasant and at times even cruel. The closing eventually occurred, despite the many complications. I felt so good about my decision to move, getting the house ready, interviewing agents, etc. But as the closing approached, things were very tense. That gut wrenching feeling surfaced a few times. What is this about? I demanded to know. I want this behind me! I breathe again.
Fortunately, these emotions are now transitory and do not linger within me anger about the decision he made to end his life; sadness of the dreams never to be realized; confusion about the reasons. Why? Although I do not like any part of re‐experiencing the depth of these feelings, it appears to wash over me like a wave. It ebbs and flows like the ocean. But, it does not knock me down this time. I have gained strength and developed resiliency. I have a knowing deep inside me somehow, somewhere, sometime, this will make sense to me.
It has been several months since I moved and left so many memories behind. Amazingly, it feels very good. There has come a sense of freedom and relief. Sometimes I wonder why didn’t I move sooner? But, I know I wasn’t ready. In my personal expedition, what I used to call a journey, I wanted to reclaim that home as mine. Despite the trauma that had occurred within those walls, I needed to be able to walk through it and embrace the home for myself and my children. And I did. Then, and really only then, it was time for me to take another step and move forward creating a new life with brighter memories.
The curious part about the healing process, however, is not these major changes that we make. We can and do prepare for those changes. We understand these events carry an emotional punch that can, and usually does, come along with it. The surprises come from the little things and incidents that transpire and generate the enormity and the depth.
I have come to realize, this is part of the delicate and intricately woven tapestry of my life. It is here, that the true beauty of living resides.
In memory of my husband: Dr. Dayle Hilley
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