I'm writing this somewhere between Nashville and Louisville, on the big move from Texas to Ohio to be with Mike. We've been on the road since yesterday, and while today has been a far better day with more feelings of excitement, I wanted to share the really raw feelings I wrote out yesterday... because this is a very real and painful part of this experience of deciding to move and begin a new life with someone else....
“Somewhere near the Texas-Arkansas border, the night is inky black and the rain is beating relentlessly on the windshield. It's been pouring the entire day, enough to flood half the state. The rain, and the whole of this bizarre apacalyptic day of flooded highways, closed side roads and thundering clouds, has added an eerie chaos to my departure. A special festival of triggers in my mind about dying in a horrible rainy crash. They are thoughts that never bothered me before Drew died in an accident. Now I know, it could happen at any moment. At times like this, that really gets the best of me.
It's nearly midnight now, and I've managed to doze for an hour or so. Mike has been driving steadily through the black sheets of rain, and we're just 30 minutes from our stopping point for the night: Texarkana. This hitting of the Texas-Arkansas border appears to cause an eruption of emotions...
I wake up when we're about an hour out from Texarkana... and I've got an uneasy feeling. It seems, in my slumber, as the miles of road stretched on behind us, that my body finally began to feel itself nearing the edges of the only place I've ever called home. And moreso, the home state where my life with Drew was. It's a threshold of painful proportions... for so much of my heart has been left back in Seguin. It has been left there, at the grave of a man that I love, in order to follow the rest of my heart north, to be with the other man that I love. Suddenly, his body and our old life seems so excruciatingly far away. I feel so completely torn in two.
Somewhere near the Texas-Arkansas border, the night is inky black and the rain is beating relentlessy on the windsheild. And this is where it all finally starts to sink in.
It could all be better tomorrow, but right now, in that inkly black night, the 14 or so more hours we have to go feel unbelievably agonizing. Like a surgeon tearing open a three-year-old wound in my heart... a milimeter for every mile farther we travel. It feels unbearable and terrifying. And I just break down in tears before beginning to write this.
The degree of faith I am putting into this new adventure and new love is also terrifying. I am overrun with fear at deciding to trust to such a level again sometimes. I keep thinking, what if Mike dies? There are no guarentees. What if he dies and I am stuck in Ohio, 1400 miles from home? And what will I do then?
Somewhere in the background, no matter what, there is always the question of when the next ending will come. Tapping its foot on the cold, hard floor just behind me. Just enough to remind me that death can decide to take someone from my life at any moment. No, death is never a neglected thought in my mind. Not even in the midst of new love and incredible new joys. Actually, especially then...”
That was just a portion of what I wrote last night. Shortly after, Mike and I arrived at the hotel in Texarkana, where I fell into his arms and burst into tears about how far away I felt from Drew. And he looked me right in the eye and said in no uncertain terms, “Drew is NO farther away from you than he was back in Texas and he will be NO farther away from you when we get to Ohio.” The certainty and deliberation in his voice was the kind of thing that made me believe it completely... or perhaps remind me of the truth of it. It was one of those moments when I knew exactly why he is the person chosen to love me after Drew.
Today has indeed been a better day. As we got into Tennessee and Kentucky, the fall colors began to creep in and I was instantly lost in the beauty of a golden new world. And there has been a calm about me today that wasn't there yesterday. Perhaps because the weather is calmer today. Or maybe because we made it past the border and out of my home state... leaving room for the new.
All I know though, is that as I'm wrapping this up just now, the song “I'm Coming Home” came on the radio. I stopped writing a moment, surprised, and taking in the lyrics....
“I'm comin home. I'm comin home.
Tell the world I'm comin home.
Let the rain wash away all the pain of yesterday...”
It's eerie how accurate these words are to my exact moment in time. Suddenly, now I'm looking at yesterday in a whole other light. Maybe wasn't just bad weather adding anxiety to my night. Maybe it wasn't just a pointless overwhelm of emotions. Maybe it was exactly the kind of traumatic weather to match the trauma going on inside me as I left Texas. It did after all feel as though the great skies over Texas were greiving and raging with me. Maybe it was the kind of severe cleansing that needed to happen on day one of this great migration.
This morning I woke feeling just that, a severe cleansing. A deep longing and missing of everything back home is still in my heart, but also I remembered something else... that it's okay for the pain to be here. It very much should be here. After these past three years since Drew died, years of holding grief in my heart almost constantly, I have learned to allow pain and joy to exist simultaneously. This this big move will be no different.
There are already pains to feel, and will be for some time, as I greive the life I had back in Texas. And the life I would have had with Drew had he not died. I am beginning to accept that I must leave room for the pain to be cleansed in this major life change. Just as much as I must leave room for the joy. There will be room to cry for everyone I miss back home, and in the next breath, room to fall in love with everyone new I meet. Room to miss warm winters and room to embrace the new cold, snowy ones. Room to long for the beaches and room to roam the forests with delight. In the end, I must remember, there is always room enough in our hearts for the storms to come in and cleanse us... to hold both joy and sorrow so deeply intertwined is to live life and feel life fully.