I’ve saved the hardest until last. I’ve junked and stored, celebrated and cried. I’ve doubted and been certain.
I’ve had my rounds (and rounds) (and rounds) of Lasts: last time I watered, last time I slept in a proper bed, last time I took out the trash, last time I cleaned out the fridge, the stove, the floor, the shower—the lasts of The Shoulds, the tasks, all the necessary distracting responsibilities of moving. Physically and emotionally grueling. Stressful. Beyond, and then some.
I’ve written to the new owner.
I’ve written to my wonderful neighbors.
I’ve set aside thank you bottles of wine. I’ve waved. I’ve hugged. I’ve regretted: Why did I wait so long?
I’m about to have my last dinner at 510; tomorrow, before my trip to Oregon to visit with my sick brother and his family, I’ll have my last breakfast. I just paid my last utility bill, spent the last weekend with my grand boys at Gma’s house, enjoyed my last wine and cheese gathering around the fire pit, watched the stealth egret fishing near the pond for the last time, felt the Redondo ocean breeze for the last time, brushed up leaves, thought about chores and all the ongoing maintenance that never, ever ends. Sitting here in the gazebo, enjoying the view and tranquility of my back yard, feeling the feelings of what it means to have loved this home. For the last time.
It has been an honor being Angel Cove Cottage By the Sea’s mum for almost 30 years. She has blessed me, my family, and those who have gathered here. She has loved me as much as I have loved her. We’ve been buddies, best pals, a partnership of creativity and passion. She is my Velveteen Rabbit, my realized dream. To live by the sea, in an old house filled with history, a place where there’s elbow room amidst a city of shrouding concrete and greed. Hope. A safety net. A future I thought I had, but didn’t. A dove without a partner, just finding her way from branch to tree to babbling stream.
No harm will come to Angel Cove, I made sure of that when I had her registered as a historic property. The new owner can enhance, but not demolish. For Angel Cove, like me, having a new family to love her will breathe new life into her so she can live another hundred years. So she can be glorious.
A fresh, new start. For both of us.
As much as I want to be happy and chipper, which I am, I am also deeply sad that this part of my life is over. I no longer have a career. I no longer have children I’m raising. I don’t have a life partner to share my days with. I don’t have this wee house to fuss over. I have sagging skin that keeps getting saggier. I have all my life possessions in a 10′ x 10′ storage unit.
I am alone. I am without.
No more memories of my making will be shaped here. Today, Angel Cove belongs to someone else.
This is the quandary of love, of walking away.
It’s like growing up, leaving your parents’ home bound for college or a dream job. You want to leave, start anew, but you’re scared, and you can’t wait, all at the same tornado time. Swirling. Churning. Parched. Drenched. Gregarious, yet craving solitude.
It feels exactly like that; the adventure of a wide, open road, only when I look in the rear view mirror, I see a grayer me that doesn’t at all look like me. Instead of decades and decades ahead to make mistakes and recover, I have fewer chapters left. I have to be mindful, fiscally smart, measure my moves, be steady, yet free, unburdened, joyously young.
On the eve of my Great Next, I want to remember everything: the plants carefully considered, the view from the swing, the Christmas trees that now tower well over Angel Cove. I want to remember the kids playing Army around the pond, The Ticklemonster, Fairytale birthday parties, safaris, our sweet Bailey, Tahoe, Grace—their ashes buried at the foot of the silk oak tree. The Monarchs, who don’t mind me talking to them, the pesky squirrels who cheekily steal my plums (I only managed to rescue one this year), the rocks from Dad and Mom’s house, the jade plant from Dan and Kay’s, the forgiveness Angel Cove modeled to me over the years having made dreadful decorating decisions (hand-painted beach scenes on the kitchen cabinets, for example). She just stood there, with her arms wide open, smiling, I suspect, amused by my silliness. That’s how much she loved me, as I loved her.
Will it ever happen again? Will I ever fall in love with a home, be as devoted to a place as I feel about Angel Cove Cottage By the Sea? I suspect not. How could one ever love as deeply, care as much? Will my next home be a financial investment vs. a home? Time will tell.
I wonder, do others LOVE their homes, their cars (I own a 21-year-old car I have a hard time parting with), their ex-husbands, so much that you hold onto for more years than is probably healthy or necessary? Well, I’m that person. Taurus that I am, I don’t give up. Which means it is sometimes–NO–let me be honest, it’s ALWAYS hard, for me to say goodbye.
Tomorrow, when I shut the door for the last time, I will most likely drive up the street and have to pull over because my ugly cry tears have made it impossible to see. (Note to self: bring an abundance of tissue paper.) I just can’t help it. I’m that person. I’m that way. But I hope, as my new life unfolds, I will remain sentimental and appreciative as I discover new things about myself
In closing, I want to convey my sincere gratitude to you for sharing your stories and finding a connection to mine, for being vulnerable and inspirational. You have no idea how much your comments have encouraged me, providing a lift when I felt a bit lost.
I’m going to go through some stuff. No doubt about it. I’m in the midst of a big life passage/change. Thank God I have God–and writing–to help me figure things out. I have faith that something marvelous and unexpected is on the other side. For all of us.
Cheers, until tomorrow.