The Gleaming Pearl from the Wreckage

I’ve been procrastinating a bit on posting about my recent South Dakota trip. Over the years, I have learned this about myself: I have to jump on an emotion when I feel it if I want to write about it fully. Trying to revisit it later only results in something lukewarm, a recollection that is less intense than it was originally and thus somehow less authentic. So, while I felt so jumbled on emotions during and immediately after my pilgrimage that I felt it best to wait to devote time to writing about it all, now that I have waited I have lessened the impact. So, I’ll just have to write about each thing as it’s fullness hits me again.

Which brings me here tonight. I was listening to a iTunes Genius playlist as I focused on my homework tonight. It stayed appropriately neutral as I wrote about systems thinking and critical thinking and managerial roles. But I swear, as soon as I finished, the creepy bot that is iTunes sensed the second Peach cocktail downed and the notebook closed, and switched gears. Now, as Mae’s Painless plays softly, I’m jolted out of my current reality and into the current running in the background. I miss that kid.

I knew when I started planning (albeit quickly) the trip Northwest, that it would be difficult. My Mama offered to come with, to keep the Little Man nearby and be ‘warm bodies’ in the hotel room in the evenings when I would need support after hard days. But I knew instinctually that, although it would be very hard, I needed to do this alone. I needed to force myself to face my old life, to fully feel everything, on my time in my own way.

The first few days, I was totally fine. I was focused on planning, keeping my eyes on tree-planting, staying busy with my realtor getting the house listed. I had a great friend to keep me company. I was more than fine, I was great. I thought, ‘Hey look at me, I’ve really made progress!’ Until the house was actually listed and the morning of the planting ceremony actually arrived… I still held it together until it was finished. But that afternoon, while everyone else went about their business, I sunk in my hotel room. I sat like a stone in that awesomely decorated room and felt the heaviness in my chest, the sensation of being utterly alone.

After tearing up and talking to Little Man and my Mama on the phone, I took myself out to a fancy dinner and let myself be cheered up by the amazing leek tart and blood orange martini, along with thoughts of The Hubs being happy that I was breaking old patterns. The rest of the trip was much in the same fashion, with Saturday proving amazing yet Saturday evening difficult, Sunday enjoyable but Sunday evening lonely. It was a back-and-forth, double-edged, a duality of a trip. While I’ve carried so many beautiful moments of growth and affirmation away from those 6 days, I’ve also carried a tinge of heartache.

Gone is the home I once knew. It has been inhabited by tenants for the past nearly-two-years, wonderful tenants but still… It looks exactly the same on the outside, yet is vastly different. The things that made that house a home are gone. The neighbors may be the same, but the neighborhood has changed so much as to be almost unrecognizable. The places we used to visit are still there, but are surrounded by newly added places, changed exteriors, updated personalities and people and lives. We are there in memories, but tangibly long gone. Replaced, refreshed, renovated. Removed.

On one hand, this makes my transition easier. It feels permanent, final, finished. That brings closure (I hate that word), a sense of peacefully closing a door on something I no longer need to wonder about. But for all of the positivity that brings, it also brings a side of pain, a dish of  heartache, and a dessert of longing.

I know I was meant to make this visit for a reason. A reason more than planting a memorial tree, more than seeing a museum dedication and a ballast in The Hubs’ honor. A reason more than reconnecting with friends and spending time in nature (all for future posts). While those things were amazing, I know instinctually that these deeply illicited emotions were the reason why I made this journey. God wanted me to confront my past, to draw out the emotions I’ve been suppressing for quite a while, to reconnect me with the heartbreak in a positive way that He will help bend and shape into something amazing to carry forward.

I just have to weather the storm until I wash out on the other side, soaked and weary, but carrying that pearl I gleamed from the tumbling waves.

Iris

It means so much to me reading this today for various reasons. This loneliness sounds painfully familiar, although I have not been in your particular situation, I’ve had to part with loved ones. And everyone who has had to ever let go like this, knows this loneliness and hollow feeling to a certain extend. So when I get it (usually in the form of homesickness), I like to think that I am feeling this loneliness together with a lot of other people. In a twisted way this always helps me a little. Your conclusion to this is so very valuable.. it’s very wise and shows that all of it was worth the trip. You WILL wash out on the other side and be, as we say ‘Wetterfest’ (weather proof?). And what was once a rock like many, will have been shaped by water and wind into a beautiful and unique gem that has resurfaced with all its wonderful patterns that where once hidden under a grey surface. You, in all your unique-ness, pain enduring, ever adapting and wonderful strength make this a place worth living and learning in.. Just like that beautiful tree you planted :)

Erin

Thank you for sharing with me Iris! I’m so glad when we are able to connect through shared experiences, that is my hope for writing and sharing and living in general. It’s not twisted, it’s comforting, to think of sharing with others when we feel alone. I truly hope to become ‘Wetterfest’, I think I’m getting closer every day! And you, my dear beautiful friend, are an inspiration for it! Thank you! <3

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