Last month I went “home” for the very last time to help my parents move. This was very bittersweet. Sweet because my parents will be moving closer to their children and grandchildren. Bitter because I am saying adieu to the place I have called “home” for quite some time.
I was born and raised in Lansing, Michigan. I also attended college there – Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) which makes it even harder to say goodbye. College was a wonderful time with great friends at a University that I was proud to attend.
“Home” was a place that I could always go to, no matter what ailed me or what chapter of my life I was in. I went home when I needed to get away from the hustle and bustle of living in Chicago- when I was accustomed to the single and independent life. I would also go home when I had just had a break-up with a boyfriend and needed some clarity. I would even go home because I was homesick and just needed support.
So, I was basically saying goodbye to a lifetime of memories.
…and there were SO MANY MEMORIES. Some joyful, some sad. We buried all of my grandparents in my hometown and I said goodbye to many friends there over the years. But I also had many joyful memories as well, like winning races during track and field meets and playing outdoors with my sisters.
During my last visit home, I went through many, many bins of pictures and old mementos while I was there. I had procrastinated doing this for a long time because I didn’t want to face what was in those boxes. They were attached to my past. And I didn’t want to open that backup. Nor for anything.
But I did, anyway.
Not just because they belonged to me and my mom needed to clear space in her basement, but because I wanted to say goodbye to space in my life that no longer fit.
By doing this I faced my past. I let go of past hurts– friends that had betrayed me and memories that no longer suited my well being.
Folks, this was hard. I mean really hard.
It was like diving into a sea of darkness head first. I didn’t know what to expect or if I was going to come out alive.
After having gone through the boxes, I felt sad but so much lighter as well. Feelings can be so confusing.
It was bitter AND sweet all at the same time.
So much of life is letting go. Surrendering. Moving on. Even when you don’t want to or think that you’re not ready to. We are scared of letting go, scared of getting rid of a picture because we think we won’t remember anymore, scared of losing control, scared of the unknown.
Let’s try to trust God and trust life because things happen when they are supposed to, at the right time.
As I drove home alongside my husband, I looked in the back seat of our new van and observed my two children. I was looking forward to going home, back to Wisconsin, and helping my children build the memories that I once had.
Letting go was healing, and I feel a great weight off my shoulders once I did.
Whatever you need to let go of, an old picture, or even the same old negative thought patterns, do it! Let go of what is haunting you, it will be well worth it!
I guarantee you will survive, and you will be a lot better off for it as well.
I looked back in the rearview mirror and took a deep sigh of relief. I had let go and I survived.