I wrote this on Friday night, July 30th before I went to bed. I kept delaying putting my head to pillow; not ready yet for this last night to end. This past weekend was bittersweet. We held my mom’s one year memorial service; her final instructions to me and the Greek tradition now fulfilled. While we raised a glass in her memory, I looked around the circle of friends and family gathered in our garden, glasses in hand waiting for our son Richard to speak, as he so eloquently does. They’ve all been on this rollercoaster journey with us since Rich’s first diagnosis in 2004. As have those who couldn’t join us but have sent their messages of love and support. For seventeen years we’ve been surrounded by a family created over the years who have kept us afloat mentally, physically, and spiritually. They have celebrated and cried with us. It’s hard to relocate far from their warmth although we know it, and they, will be with us always wherever we are. So below are my thoughts on that last night as I walked through the house with only the lights from the street coming through the windows. As I did, the final song of Peter Jackson’s movies ran through my head. Although this is not the last goodbye, they did seem fitting.
July 30th, 11pm:
It’s a bit surreal. As I have been since Covid started, I was working remotely. Only today the house is near to empty. The rugs, lamps, photos, furniture is for the most part gone. What made this house our home for the last thirty-odd years is on its way to Rochester, NY. There waits our new house. In the area of the city known as the South Wedge, we can walk to the river, parks, pubs and restaurants. Initially it was to be our getaway-near-to-the-kids; a charming 1888 brick townhouse that would host grandkid sleepovers and visiting guests.
And then the reality hit. Rich’s health is better up there. The brick house has always been a two family. Our space on the first floor offers one level living. Without those stairs, Rich’s BP remains steady even as we tackle the expected projects to make this place our own. We’ve tested this for months, alternating weeks up and weeks on Long Island. Every time, within 24 hours of being downstate, Rich’s BP would drop. There is no way to live on one level in this cape style house without some major changes. Our heart failure guru said it best: “You’ve found the problem and you found the solution. You need to implement it.”
News travelled fast. An hour later, we’re at the office of our kidney failure guru. “I hear you’re moving.”
And so here we sit in a near empty house. To our chagrin, we find even the toilet paper has been packed and shipped. The time between decision and today has flown by. What we refused to consider a few months ago is now a reality.
Our files from NSUH will be transferred to University of Rochester Hospital system. What a read that will be, to be brought up to date for our new health care group! Appointments and meetings will take place in the coming months as we learn to navigate this new mental and physical reality.
Tomorrow at 6am we load up the car with some things that we didn’t trust to a truck and for the last time as Long Island homeowners, we cross the bridges and head up to our future.
…Many places I have been
Many sorrows I have seen
But I don’t regret
Nor will I forget
All who took that road with me
To these memories I will hold
With your blessing I will go
To turn at last to paths that lead home
And though where the road then takes me
I cannot tell
We came all this way
But now comes the day
To bid you farewell
I bid you all a very fond farewell