I’m sitting in my friends’ shady patio, listening to a silence broken only by the birds and the light fall breeze. I’ve been in California for a month now, and like every time I’m down here in what was once my home, I dread leaving. Despite living in and loving Vancouver, the Bay Area wil always be a lifeline and a refuge for me. I can’t – no, I won’t let go.
It’s not unusual for people to hold on. How many times have we clung to family and friends at the airport or train station, cried at going-away parties and grieved at memorial services? We hold on to dreams, we hold on to hope. But sometimes, we hold on too long. We reach a point when we have to admit that it’s time to finally let go. I learned that with my late husband Dave as he suffered through a long battle with heart failure and finally died. And I’ve just gone through another painful process this wek.
For too long I’ve been storing many of my most treasured possessions from my time living and working in Silicon Valley. I’ve been paying too much keeping my previous life within the concrete walls of unit 3103, hoping against hope that some new job would come along, that at my age I’d still have the chance to obtain a work visa in the US, that everything would be the same again. But of course, nothing will ever be the same again. So I’m finally, painfully, letting go.
Two junk trucks have been and gone. Dear friends have taken some lovely and useful things. I’ll be shipping some treasured books, bells and old photos back to Vancouver. And there’s nothing left but an empty storage unit that will soon be filled again with the remnants of someone else’s life.
It’s been hard. Only Dave’s illness and death, and my mother’s declining health have been harder to bear. I’ve shed many tears sifting through box after box. So many reminders of so much… But it’s done, and it is not only necessary, but it will eventually be liberating once the ache in my heart goes away. I will soon cherish my memories without forever clinging to a life that won’t happen again. And I’ll also be strong enough to free myself to look forward and make new choices, follow new paths, and embrace new adventures. Lucky me:-)
But I’ll still cry every time I say goodbye.
What are you holding on to?