I’ve been trying to write this post for just shy of a week. I open the tab, start writing and walk away. I delete everything and close the tab, I’ll come back, I say. I come back – lather, rinse, repeat. I don’t know that I’m going to feel better after I write it but at least I will have done it.

Last week was weird. The first week since all of this begun that didn’t feel quite as heavy. It’s still incredibly hard to be away from people you love deeply but here we (still) are.

Monday, in our normal Duo – was the first time since I’ve known that THE MOVE was happening that I allowed myself to be vulnerable with J. It’s not that I don’t feel safe in that space but more that my heart is breaking about being away from them. The pandemic changed everything. Everything. Took away our ability to spend these final days together. Forced the move to happen sooner. Separated me and the baby and I hate it so deeply I can’t even put it in words. I know this change is right and good for their family but it is so hard. We’ll be fine. I know we will be fine but it’s also facing the fact that things will be different because they have to be different.

For more than a decade we’ve forged this bond – a relationship that is incredibly rich, forgiving, educating, thoughtful, fun and loving and that’s changing and I am sad about it. So sad.

I guess I’d avoided writing about it because it would feel real and because I know I’d be hovering over this keyboard a mess of snot and tears (spoiler alert: that is exactly what is happening). Again – I’m so happy for them. This is such an exciting new chapter and it holds so much promise and goodness but they’re such an integral part of my chosen family that it seems impossible that I’ll ever be able to reconcile how my life looks without them in it the way they were before the pandemic.

Again, we will be fine. I know this. Because we chose one another and because we love each other – it will be okay. But for now – I’m just going to allow myself to be sad.

My Aunt Linda died a little over seven years ago. If I’m being honest though, the version of her I like to remember was gone before that – struck down by an aneurysm. 

I remember first her smile, followed by her laugh – she had such a great laugh; warm and enveloping. I remember her little house at the bottom of a hill in my hometown. I remember that she was the most stern of my aunts, I remember how much I loved her in spite of that :)

In the time since she’s been gone I’ve not thought often of her – and as I was sitting in the passenger seat of my car last week, it was like my brain turned on and asked if I were ready. I wasn’t. I’m not. 

The aneurysm sent my aunt to a nursing home. It took away so much from her, from our family. That aneurysm? It is an asshole. I remember visiting her at the nursing home and having to leave the room to weep in the hallway even though I’d been warned. When I went back in the room, I gave her my best smile and stroked her hand. 

I think that really, my heart would not allow my brain to remember her that way and so I tucked it away until the feelings rushed up and the tears in the car blindsided me. 

So, as my husband drove and I tried to gather myself, I did the only thing I could think of – I called my mom. My Mom who keeps a photo of her sister on her dining table and regularly talks to her. In one sense I felt guilty for heaping my grief on my mother but also, so comforted because my aunts all share a love for one another that is inspiring. 

Grief is a strange creature and you really don’t ever know when and where it will catch up with you. And really, when you lose someone the way we lost my aunt – it feels like two deaths, which is so horribly unfair. 

Still, I’m comforted in the goodness of the woman I remember. When my family gathers and stories get told, I’m happy because she is there. I’m not sure where my grief goes from here, if anywhere. I just wanted to put my thoughts into words so that instead of suppressing, I allow all of the good, and there is so much, to be the thing I remember.

I’m sitting in a children’s play museum with my best friend, her nieces and my goddaughter and I figured know was as good as any to finally update this thing.

I came back earlier this week from a trip to New York with my friend Christina which was so fun. New York makes me appreciate the simple parts of my life. I can appreciate the make it here, make it anywhere spirit but thanks – I’ll visit and leave.

All the same, I had a lovely time and there are parts of New York that are really beautiful.

Look – Jesus is the reason for the season (and my being!)but Christmas is not my jam. I’m a Thanksgiving girl – gratitude, no pressure to buy gifts and all of the delicious carbs you can eat. I mean, let’s all just get it together and agree that turkey day is superior. The only area in which Christmas trumps Thanksgiving is movies, but still.

Originally my family had planned to travel to Virginia Beach to visit my brother but a few days before Christmas my grandmother ended up in the hospital with congestive heart failure which sounds like something you hear about in a Grey’s Anatomy cliffhanger. She’s okay for the time being and being closely monitored by a solid team of cardiologists and physicians and we’re optimistic that she’s going to be okay because she’s tough and she’s my grandmother and it just has to be that way. It just does.

it was nice to be at home, to see most of my family and just be in the place where I grew up. I don’t go home often, not for any other reason than I just am not good at making that a priority. I drove around my city a lot – quiet, early mornings and some late nights when it felt like no one else was awake but me. I saw things with new, adult eyes, thought to myself how some parts of this place are just so beautiful – I want to go back again sometime soon and just walk around – me and my camera.

I also made time to see my oldest friend and my goddaughter. Without going into an unnecessary amount of detail – I’d missed both of them in a way that was bigger than even I understood until I was there, and hugging both of them. Time really can be the great equalizer.

All in all, I was glad I went and I’m also glad to be back in my new home, hanging out with my husband. I hope you had a safe and happy holiday!