There is always some level of grieving that happens in me each time I pack up and leave some town or even simply move farther away so that I know it will be more difficult and costly for me to visit.
It’s strange, I know, because the time was so brief (9 months) but each time I drive back into this rural town in nowhere USA where I used to work I I miss it. It feels good to be back. And I feel as if I lost something by leaving it behind.
Don’t get me wrong, my time at this particular job was difficult. It was stressful and most of the time I had zero clue how to accomplish what was expected of me. But when you live in a 900 person town life is quiet and simple. It’s a whole new level of chill in rural America. You don’t spend 45 minutes deciding where to eat because there are only 3 restaurants in whole town. You can go to the creek and sunbathe or hit the local bar and play pool. And that’s about it. If you live here, you best have some people here that you like to spend time with or else you best enjoy lots of alone time.
I fall into the former category: I enjoy it here because of the people. Three people in fact (the other three moved to an ISLAND which makes it VERY difficult to visit). A wife, husband, and my Godchild live here after the business we worked for was sold to a company in Michigan. I adore coming for visits. When I visit I suck up as much time as I can with them. We go on long walks. And buy sandwiches at the local market where we can eat them all stretched out on the porch in the sunshine. We have photoshoots on the lawn or in the forest. And make crowns out of wildflowers. We sip tea and cook and watch movies and steep in glorious Shabbat on the weekend where we do nothing but enjoy each others company and eat incredible food all day long.
In the Jewish tradition the Sabbath (or Shabbat) is kept holy by setting it aside for a day of rest of worship. When we’re together we scour the house and cook all day long until sunset comes and then we dim the lights, light the Shabbat candles, say our prayers, and sit down to several hours of food. It’s nice to sit and eat and know that you have nothing on your schedule except fellowship and worship for the next 24 hours. I’m not Jewish but the more I learn about Hebrew roots the more and appreciate it and see its power.
Life like that isn’t for everyone. But to me it’s glorious. And it’s part of my history that I cherish.
I always sleep well out here. Which for someone like me who tosses and turns at night – this is significant. It’s so quiet out here. Here you can chill.
I have SO many good memories here. Back when I lived down the street from K (the wife) we worked long hours together (sometimes 10+ hours a day) at the same company. We took breaks together, ran errands together, made dinner together. And once a week we had “Therapy Thursday” where we had talk therapy (aka talking out ALL the things) and physical therapy (long walks and stretching). PALS fo sho.
When K (the wife) was pregnant with my Godchild we/his/her family came from all over and threw her a soul-feeding baby shower. Surely I can’t be the only person to attend those banal baby showers that consist of fluffy tissue paper and overly ornate cupcakes. Banal = so lacking in originality as to be obvious and boring. This party, though, was so intimate and personal. We prayed over her and the baby. We wrote encouraging notes for her to read during labor. We helped her prep for her home birth. We ate all her favorite foods for like…hours. And two days later I was there by her side as her postpartum doula.
Platonic soulmates DO exist and I have definitely found one here, so knowing that I will no longer be a couple of hours away is…killing me. Not even gonna sugarcoat it. I HATE that I can’t pop over on a weekend trip. I don’t even know how to process the loss I feel at the moment. My heart is literally hurting that I leaving them.
So as I give hugs and kisses to you my beloved friends, your house, and the familiar landscape – I say “see you later” with gratitude and thankfulness. And as I drive slowly through town at the posted 30mph on my way to the interstate and say “see you later” with gratitude and thankfulness. Things will be different now so maybe this is the end of a chapter in my life, I’m not sure. Until next time…