We drove down the driveway, turned right so that we could see the front of the house one last time, and then the dam broke. The tears and the deep breaths and the attempt to control all well-intentioned behavior was for naught. The house looked so empty. The grounds were just beginning to look like winter with little foliage, and just by looking up and through the light of thewindows, you could tell it was empty . . . as in nothing left, no furniture, no lights, no paintings, no curtains, etc. It was time for us to keep moving.
We headed the car toward our beloved Martha’s Vineyard, knowing that we were going to a place not only loved, but a place that would enrich us and nourish us and make us feel wonderful . . . once we made the break from our home of almost 30 years. With all the turmoil going on in the country and around the world, with all the people suffering, we knew we had nothing but blessings in our life and had no right to be maudlin or depressed. So we kept our sights on the road and kept on moving.
But it is not possible to leave a home and neighborhood and friends and everyday people that we interacted with for so long without feeling something, make that a lot of something. Not only is it a change in a lifestyle and area, but a realization that we are now at an age where this is expected. Maybe it is even a rite of passage. That is what was hardest for me. To know that even though we could have stayed in our home outside New York city, it was a time in our life where it would be too much to take care of, worry about and spend money on. Why shouldn’t we be doing things for fun and excitement and broadening our horizons in new worlds? After all, we are of the age where the saying goes “do it now or you might not be able to do it at all.” That always sticks in my craw and is never easy to accept. Our home had been home for so long and we had lived through every wonderful, sad, challenging and riveting emotion one lives through in a life, so age had to be a factor and remind us of the times we had had and the memories that will be with us forever. A house is only a structure. A home encompasses lives and living. But still we must keep moving.
Now, after all the boxes have been unpacked, all the memories of a 50-year marriage and a lifetime of children and now grandchildren, I think I have made some sense out of why we are here, why we moved, why it was time (even though that has to do with age!) and why we can never look back if we want to move ahead. The years ahead are just as exciting as the ones we left behind. And with technology we never feel really far away from kids and friends. And it is also not like moving to some really far away place. We are only three hours from any of our kids and one lives right here on the Vineyard. So it is a bittersweet time, but a positive one too. How lucky we are to have made the choice at all, butespecially to a place like the Vineyard. We don’t need to keep on moving. We are here.
Susan Lamoreaux lives in Edgartown.