I remember the first time that I saw the lights of Louisville going west on I 64, almost to Indiana. They were unfamiliar but I knew that this was home now.
I remember getting off the interstate at exit 150, Greenville IN. I pulled off at the gas station because my parents wanted to make sure that I made it to the new house safely. I remember how glad they looked to see me, how hopeful they were for the future.
This was a new chance, new beginnings, leaving behind the old for something new and adventurous. I remember the first drive down that road and up our driveway and I remember the last.
It's strange, the only close experience with a family member's death that I remember vividly was when my grandfather passed away very suddenly a number of years ago. We traveled down to Alabama for the funeral and to make preparations. I remember riding back to my grandmothers house after his funeral and feeling a deep sadness and hopelessness come over me. I hadn't felt that way until recently, it was a poignantly sad feeling and strangely familiar to how I felt when I was 15 driving from my grandfather's funeral. No one had really "died" but it felt like they had.
I remember the couple of years leading up to when my grandfather passed, and feeling a sense of inevitability about what would happen, death comes to everyone but there was a palpable sadness that I felt because I didn't want him not to be there anymore I didn't want him to be gone, I didn't want Christmas or Thanksgiving without him but I had a sense of that in a number of years there would be just an empty chair where he used to sit.
You can probably relate to this, the feeling is quite surreal, you're driving down roads that you have been down hundreds upon hundreds of times and you know that it's for the last time, it's really a bit of an out of body experience, saying goodbye to the reality that you have known for so long.
The years and even months leading up to my parents marriage ending felt strangely similar. It was like I knew that the end was coming, except, at the same time I still felt like I was being blindsided in a vehicle going down the highway, it felt like it came out of nowhere but in reality it probably didn't, nothing ever usually does but that was how it felt.
I walked through the rooms of the house and as I closed and opened doors, peered into closets I heard the echo from the doors and from my footsteps, in some places louder than others but there was always an echo.
This was the first place where my family was anchored down for more than a few years, in fact they had been there for 13 years, it's the first place that felt like home and the first place that I accepted as Home.
When you don't stay one place for more than 3 years and have lived in 7 states and 3 completely different regions of the country "home", an actual physical place, town, city, area, region, becomes a very treasured thought and when you see people who seem to "have it" you get envious. Not in the "green monster" sense but in a "sad, longing" sense of the word.
After I gathered the last of my things, mementos, things from my childhood, I took a few shots on the old basketball goal that was in the driveway from the family that owned the house before my parents, I made a few baskets, missed a few, I took another shot and the ball got stuck in the hoop and I thought that might be a good time to leave. So I left.
For me, it was different from when we left Delaware 13 years earlier, my family wasn't there anymore but I had plenty of great friends and people that I considered "family" and our family was at least "together" in a sense.
I remember seeing friends of mine when their parents split up when I was younger, I always remember feeling really sad, because their lives were being changed forever not that they couldn't ever experience good times again or enjoy things but family life as they knew it had been altered forever, damage had been done that was irreparable. There was a muted sadness that I could see in their faces and hear when we talked. Honestly, it feels so similar to that right now but I'm grown I have a family, I have a lot of amazing things, but I recognize the sadness, the muted emotions, it's very real and you feel it when you know something is coming to an end. Sometimes it's more, sometimes it's less but it's always there.
I'm reminded of how fleeting life is, even how fleeting family is. It's sad but we move on, or at least we try.
I don't really know what else to do right now but create, write, pour out. So that's what I'm doing.