It’s hard to go back to the place I called home for so many years. Four walls that are dangerously close to feeling more foreign than comforting now almost eight months after September 29th.
We pulled around the corner to 48 Amantes, just like I’ve done thousands of times, and some of those since he’s been gone. It never gets easier. I see his truck sitting there. I see his house. The bricks he laid with his hands. The rooms that hold a lifetime of traveling artifacts, his baseball caps, his shoes. All the other mountain bikes out enjoying the trails this morning. It feels like a betrayal in some way to be in this space without him. Wouldn’t it be so simple to jump back to a day when he was here?
Sometimes crying is conscious. Your nose starts to get tingly and you decide if you’ll allow it or not. This wasn’t one of those times. It was the kind that takes over and you’re left to either surrender or surrender. The cold hard fact of him being gone hit like a wall as I walked through the door. His BBQ, his office, his chair, will somehow never be his again.
Yet in the same thought, none of that stuff matters. After he died, one of the lessons that deeply struck me was that we take nothing with us. It’s us and God, at birth and death.
So what does that mean for us in this beautiful, complicated dash in between? What do I do with this firsthand information? Sell all of my things and live in a tiny house with my husband and kids? That’s going to be a firm, toddler-style “no” for me (at least in this phase). Sell all my things and move back to Australia? A little more likely.
Right now that lesson is manifesting as “do the soul work”, which means constant, merciful reminders to myself.
When the kids are running rampant and your finger is aching to scroll or phone a friend – be present. When you’d rather sleep in – get up to pray. Pause before you purchase new things. Connect with new people. Cherish and nurture the time with people who have steadily been along for the ride. Turn toward hard emotions/pain and away from distractions. Invite God into all parts of your life first – the same God you ask for protection is the same One who inspires your creativity.
After the dust settled, I walked into the garage. It’s the space in the house that still feels like he never left. His workbench and tools that frequented his calloused palms, still in perfect order. I always admired how he worked with such ease and comfort on projects around the house while classic rock stars hummed a low beat on the radio. He would always be the first one to greet us as we pulled into the driveway.
“Hey Dadio”, I would say. “Hey Jen”, I can still hear him say.