I walk the familiar streets of my neighborhood knowing there are precious few days left. I reminisce about block parties, impromptu neighbor visits under the shade of an oak tree enjoying a beer or a glass of wine after yard work, children playing basketball in the street, triumphs and losses. As I walk, I meet well familiar faces and stop to say a few last words, pet their dogs and feel the ache of a sore heart. I am already missing them.
As I walk through my house I relive the events that colored it “home”. Pool parties, graduations, bible studies, holiday celebrations, as well as recovering from the plethora of illness, eating disorders, cancer, and yes even deaths. Our home was our castle and provided comfort, protection and safety from an uncertain life.
Attending church I realize that there are only two more Sundays left before I close the door to what was my church family, my place of spiritual growth, my sanctuary. Oh, I will be back for visits but I already feel the miles as I remove myself from the various positions and ministries that have been such a large part of my life for the last 17 years. The ache grows.
I pass by Florida Atlantic University and remember when it was a small fledgling university built on an old army air force base and runways. It was where I got my first job, met my husband, and developed an interest in medicine that would eventually lead me to being a medical advocate.
I drive along the ocean, stopping to lovingly stare at the Condominium where my Mom and I moved after my father died to start a new chapter in our life. The memories flood my mind and I remember walks in Spanish River Park, through the tunnel onto the beach where the waves lapped my feet bringing solace; removing whatever concerns and fears consumed me at the time. Many hours were spent along the beach sunning, walking and have fun. It is where my husband professed his love to me and proposed that we should spend the rest of our lives together. Tears manifest my aching heart.
I leave behind two brothers whose genetics, love and kinship flood me with memories reminding me how connected we truly and forever will be. I leave a cousin who is more a sister than a cousin and friends that I call family because that is truly who they are to me.
Thirty nine years in Boca Raton, FL created a patchwork quilt of many fabrics, colors and threads. Some are dark fabrics with threads tightly wrapped threatening to squeeze the life out of us. Some are spun gold and silver, shiny and bright. There are snags in the quilt, well-worn areas and even some holes. Nevertheless, the threads are woven to create the quilt that makes us who we are and who God wants us to be.
I am in some respects mourning. I fear I will lose my patchwork quilt of many colors in the pile of boxes that are collecting in my house of 29 years.
I am mourning what I fear I will lose. Will what I gain heal the ache in my heart?
With the birth of our second grandson Thad and I wanted to be more present in their lives. Not like the in laws in Everybody Loves Raymond but more to be there for the small milestones as well as the big ones. First steps, award ceremonies, the race car derby or simply picking up the kids from school and taking them for a snack at WaWa’s. I want to be a part of the little moments as well as the big ones. And yes, I want to be there in the turbulent times as well. We are excited about being closer to our daughter and her family. I have missed the impromptu coffees Francesca and I shared before she moved to Orlando. Quick moments where we shared our joys, concerns, as well as, grumbled, and growled when needed. I miss what weekly telephone calls just can’t evoke. As I have said before in my blog, we want to make memories while we are still able to run, jump, bike, swim and see life through the eyes of our grandsons. I don’t want to wait until the only thing they will remember is how Nana and Opa sit in a wheelchair in a local assisted living facility, sporting a bib and depends. That day will come. But I hope the memories we make over the next few years will be vivid enough that the normal process of aging brings forth a thankfulness of time spent and memories created.
As I write this, I realize that I am not under threat of losing this woven quilt of life. Interwoven are threads of faith, grace and Christ’s presence throughout. It is a strong strand of three (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) which cannot be broken no matter what and is woven steadfastly throughout. It is this Trinity of threads that strengthen it (and me). It is this thread that first planted the seed to move so that memories could be made and it is this thread that will help me transition to a new chapter in my life.
So I will bring my quilt of many colors and threads with me; lovingly unpack it and when melancholy, I will drape myself warmly in its memories. But I plan to be very busy making new memories with new friends, a new church, and new ministries that God will lead us to. New threads, new pieces of fabric and new colors will weave their way and perhaps even create a border around what already has been a most spectacular life.