Friday, November 27, 2009

Last Night

Last night the four of us grilled out hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner and then we watched a DVD together.

Last night. When I write those words, I really mean them in a whole different way. What I really mean is last night. As in final night.

When our DVD got over at about 9 pm, I looked around the room--at Steve, at Nathan, at Sarah, at Snowy and I thought, "This is the last night the four of us will ever sit in this room."

And before I knew it, I was crying. From "funny movie laughter" to "moving trauma tears," it was a dramatic emotional dive.

And it's not just that our whole family is moving to another house. That's traumatic enough. It's the fact that this is the last house we will ever live in as a family of four. From here on out, Nathan will be away more than he's home and then, in the not-so-distant future, he will be gone from us altogether.

I sat in that living room last night and was so emotional about all the memories. And then Sarah, bless her female little heart, started crying too.

With Steve and Nathan being empathetic, and Sarah and I both sniffling and Kleenex-ing, we all sat for about thirty minutes, and shared memories--both good and bad.


The well used Kleenex box.


Sarah remembered that she had sat in that very room when Steve and I told her she had relapsed. We all remembered our tears (even sobs) when the unspeakable news was spoken.

We reminisced about the times Nathan had gotten all dressed up to go to his school's formals. We talked about the phone call I got in February of 2008 saying that there was a 90- 95% chance I had breast cancer. We talked about birthday parties and sleep overs and how I used to come downstairs on a summer morning and look at all the flip flops and tennis shoes piled at the bottom of the stairs; that was the only way I had of knowing how many of Nathan's friends had camped out in his room overnight.

We talked about the parties and dinners we've had over the years and reminisced about Sarah dressing up for two Daddy/Daughter Dances and her Honor Star Crowning ceremony. We mentioned that Sarah was eight and Nathan was fourteen when they moved into this house and talked how much they have changed and grown up since then. We looked back at Nathan's 15th summer when he had mono and slept 12-14 hours a day for a couple months.

Nate and I also recalled a big talk we had in the living room a couple years ago as he grappled with whether he should go to the local community college or to Southeastern. After three hours of conversation I remember him saying, "I feel like I should go to Southeastern." And what a life altering decision that has been for him.

After we had all been talked out and cried out I said, "Okay. The first person to get up and leave the room will close this chapter of life (all of us living full time under the same room) and will usher in the new chapter."

No one moved. No one wanted it to end. No one wanted to acknowledge that five years of life in our house in Smithfield was morphing into something different, something new, something unknown.

We sat in the silence and looked around at the room, looked around at each other, looked behind us, looked ahead of us. We reluctantly came to the realization that we couldn't keep on reading a chapter that had already ended; we could only turn the page and find new memories on the new pages.

Steve slowly stood up. And then Nathan. And they walked out of the living room, leaving Sarah and I behind. With the memories. And the tears. And the joy. And the promise of new chapters and new last nights yet to be written.

8 Had Something To Say (Just click here!):

Lesley said...

Becky, I read this post with sadness and empathy as I did the same thing a couple of years ago- ie- we moved from the kids' childhood home of 15 years. It was heartbreaking, but as I pulled out of the driveway for the LAST time, I was surprised to feel a sense of excitement and adventure. I pray you will feel this too :)

Anonymous said...

We've lived in our home for 21 years. I can't imagine leaving it but I hope my kids will support us in moving on. It's 4500 square feet, 100 years old and a big old money pit. We have 21 years of memories. But,its time to move on. The kids will always be home wherever we are. I have 5 wonderful children who support me... they say wherever we are is home....as long as we are all together!! Are they great or what!!!! My youngest, Joey, has been with his friends since kindergarden....we hope will will not distrupt his last 10 years of education but he is 100 percent supportive of us!!! He says as long as he siblings come home, a house is a house!!!!!! Am I luck or What!!!!!

lifebythecreek said...

Oh. Well, I've been at my mom's for the last few days, so I'm picking up here after reading the last several posts. Now. AFTER wiping a few tears away. I know that a home is much more than a house, but we humans have a way of hanging our memories on "hooks". Sometimes, these hooks are made of scents (cookies baking, mom's perfume) or sounds (a special song, a bird call, the babble of a creek) or the way the sunlight falls on a meadow at precisely 6:05 on an autumn afternoon. But so many of those hooks have to do with the space we call "home", be it a 10,000 square ft. mansion or a 700 sq. ft. apartment. And SO much as been hung on hooks in that house, Becky... some of it being the most stressful things that could be encountered. (really.. you could possibly vie for the Guiness Book of World Records for the greatest number of stress-inducing things in your life in a 1 year span of time). So, while you leave behind so many good memories, you also leave behind a LOT of stress. Please understand; I'm not saying that you shouldn't be sad or miss your old house. BUT.. just as a scent or sound can trigger anxiety if it brings up a bad memory, I have to think that there are things in that house that subconsciously bring on extra stress. So.. on to a new home, with many, many, MANY prayers for only happy "hooks" to be hung there. You know that Nathan will always come home, because home is where YOU are. And when it's Sarah's turn to leave the nest, HER personal GPS will always have a "home" setting that has nothing to do with a physical address and everything to do with where YOU are. I look forward with you to what God has placed in your hands, knowing that, because you were faithful and waited for HIS timing, that it will be perfect.
Love you... so much...

Sue G said...

Pam D, you are so wise and wonderfully eloquent. You should have your own blog. Oh. Wait.

A friend of mine who was dying told me once when we were discussing memories and life that "it's all the same." I had no idea what he meant, but the way he spoke it to me was so earnestly and with profound conviction...as if it were the most important thing in the world that I understood.

I didn't. Not until several years and several cancers into the cancer journey. I learned a lot. And he was right. It is all the same.

No matter what is going on, no matter what is happening, no matter how joyous or how tragic...God is in it. In His own way and His own time, He is blessing it. We're never without Him. And He's in charge, completely and without question.

Does God think in terms of good or bad, happy or sad, wise or stupid? Does He see the challenges or the changes in our life the same way we do? I don't think so. I think He sees the purpose in them, the glory in them, the necessity in them. And He sees Himself in there, too. And He is the ever present constant. He never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

We look at our lives and label the parts of them as good or bad, happy or sad.

But really, all they were ... were God.

brooke said...

well, that post nearly made me cry. but, your next adventure is so exciting! good luck on the big move tomorrow, i'm sure it will go smoothly. i wish i had more to say - i certainly thought i did when i came to comment. anyhow - i continue to be jealous that you get to live in manteo.. at the ocean. insanely jealous. living in manteo at the ocean with people you love and a community excited to make you a part of it. yep yep, i understand leaving what you love behind and memories, but as you said - this next chapter.. it's good. and have i said how jealous i am that you get to live on the obx? really, seriously, insanely jealous. :) i'll shut up now.

Lisa said...

I called my mom sobbing the first night I lived away from home, quite certain that I could not live in this strange new place with a virtual stranger (though we had family connections and had traded a few emails, I'd only met my roommate about 10 days before we began life as roommates).

I was absolutely certain that it was not possible to live in a place without all of the familiar comforts of home and my family, even though I was and am still in the same city.

I've moved twice since then, in just under three years, and each move has been hard, each move has marked a change in season and people. From one roommate to two. From two back to one as the original one got married. And the roommate and housing situation will likely change again, when the current roommate's visa to be in the country expires in March. Each move has been hard, but I've been grateful for the memories made in each place.

I'd lived in the same home for 23 years until I moved the first time. I've lived in three homes since. And I'm grateful for the things learned in each place, and I've felt bittersweet in leaving each of them. But my parent's home will always be home, I think, and I'm still there often, grateful to be for the moment at least, in the same city as them.

Jen said...

Precious post. Best of luck. Many, many more beautiful days and memories ahead.
Jen Clowdus

Kristy said...

Hi. We just moved recently, too, from our home of 10 years (2nd grade to now senior!). I am reusing the bags used to transport clothing by placing a piece of duct tape over the hanger hole. Thrifty and environmentally savvy tip!