In two weeks’ time, the place I’ve referred to as home since I was ten years old and entering fifth grade will no longer be my family’s home. The familiar feel of the slightly worn square key sliding into the lock; the ‘I could walk it with my eyes closed’ path from the side entry door (which is the main entry door if you know us) to the staircase and up the fourteen green carpeted steps and a quick left into my blue-carpeted room that still contains the energy of my youthful dreams. The lushness of what may be the oldest living Willow tree smack in the middle of the backyard, shading my dad’s prized greenhouse. That place on the couch in front of the air conditioning vent that my dad said made the den feel like a meat locker; and the countless subconscious-mind things I know in that house, will become memory only after the moving truck rolls out and those square keys are handed over to the new owner.
As many of you know, my mama was flooded out of her house by Hurricane Harvey on August 31, 2017. The past nine months (hello, gestation, anyone?) have oozed sadness, reverie, anger and disbelief. They have had us all dig deep into energy reserves and practice a kind of patience we didn’t know we had. They have helped me release past grief around my dad’s death in spite of my right kidney inside of him. They have let me relive some high school glory days. And they have given me the opportunity to fully own who I am by experiencing my past as the grown woman I am today.
These months have also given my brother and me an opportunity to laugh over the stupid things we did as kids, (including the EPIC New Year’s Eve party – Epic on the scale of the movie ‘Dazed and Confused’ epic!). Sorting through drawers, shelves, and closets, we have shared memorabilia through the Jack & Jill bathroom connector. My brother and I have been a good team from the start, with complementary skill sets, and his wife is nothing short of a whirling dervish miracle in her ability to help clear a room and sort/organize.
And my mama, my precious mama and I, well, we weathered the storms of my teenage rebellion and hormonal years and the storms caused by our very different approaches to life. (Nothing like two Chief Operating Officer of Control masks colliding!) Then there are the real storms Rita and Harvey. The weather storm, while alternately terrifying and infuriating in our powerlessness to wind, rain and tidal surges, is just the precursor to the emotional storms to come. My mama is, and we all are, still in the “emotions to come” storm.
Upheavals like floods, fires, and earthquakes call us to expand beyond our comfortableness of routine immediately. When my mama starts spinning about all the new, I remind her of all the comfort zones she has burst through in these chaotic months – starting with getting on that rescue boat as much as she is a land-lover, to deciding not to rebuild her home and sell as is, to deciding to leave the well-grooved comfort of a 50+ year life in small-town Texas and move to the hub-bub known as Southern California. Yes, gestation all right. She is rebirthing her life.
I am learning about my strength as I witness my mama’s strength and resilience. A resilience enhanced by sobbing over the loss and grief, allowing the fear of the unknown to see the light of day and shaking her fist in anger at having to do all this in her 80’s. And then there’s the ache of releasing family memorabilia in downsizing. Memorabilia she’s held onto to pass along to grandchildren that never came.
And that is the reminder lesson – allow the emotional storms their due, stop when you need to stop AND keep moving forward out of the comfort zones along the way to rebirth into new normal. And this is exactly my plan for the next two weeks as we enter the “red zone” of the move date.
What lessons have you learned from your life’s storms and upheavals? Please share your wisdom below so we can all grow.
Love & Light,