leaving

Today is my last real day in the cabin. Tomorrow my family shows up to help me move all of my shit to either storage or the new home.

I’ve done most of the packing already; moved more, much more, of my belongings than I have remaining. The thing about packing is that it doesn’t leave time to just be; to stop and look around absorbing as much as I can of the goodness and serenity that this home has provided for me.

I’m so focused on the future, on the new place, that it detracts from the sorrow that comes with leaving a home that has been my refuge.

This cabin caught me when I was falling faster than the speed of sound. I was so lost and damaged and broken when I moved in.

Really, to be honest, when other people moved me in while I crumbled.

The day I moved out of my last home, the home that we shared together – MXB and my sons – was one of the saddest days I have ever survived.

My children helped then, but they too were broken. We were lost and scared and floundering. Tomorrow they will again help, but it will be with lighter hearts.

3 1/2 years ago when I moved, I was literally climbing over MXB’s shit that he left in the house when he bailed. Every time I carried boxes through the garage, I had to maneuver around his couch, his two freezers full of animals that he had killed, his ammo reloading table that he built and never used.

At one point that day, just to add insult to injury, she (the friend that was no longer a friend because she was the new love of his life) showed up on the ranch to drop something off for another resident. It was the first time I’d seen her since she blew up my world.

And on that painful, agonizingly heartbreaking day, she tore me a new asshole. She self-righteously shredded the last little bits of my soul.

Still not sure how her betrayal got twisted into being my fault, but she made me pay.

I lost my home, my friends, my sanity. My son almost died…and this cabin caught me. Healed me. Quieted my mind and gave my heart the space to repair, to become whole again.

It became my sanctuary.

These 800 square feet, my east wall of windows that brought the mountain peaks into my living room – made them my constant companions, the leather recliner in front of the woodstove, my deck under the stars: these are the bits of the cabin that gently held me while I clawed my way out of my pit of despair.

I can’t begin to count the hours spent curled up under a blanket in the chair, next to the fire, staring at the view, sporting the green hoodie that belonged to my dead best friend.

Deep, all-consuming, unadulterated, crippling grief.

In the early cabin days, every time I pulled into my driveway I thought, “Thank god I have this place.”

Each day since then, as I began to feel sane again, to feel happiness and joy and gratitude, I have said, over and over, “I love my home.”

As excited as I am to move to the desert and have a new adventure, I feel as if I am being kicked out of the nest.

And..I am ready. I’ve recovered.

I have changed. I am a different person than the one who took up residence here all of those years ago.

There is no way to survive what my family has been through without changing, without becoming new.

Or at least revised.

At Outward Bound we had a belief that we imparted upon our students…

‘Outward bound’ is a term that applies to ships – as a boat sails out of its safe harbor into the open seas, it is said to be outward bound. As we dragged kids up mountains and encouraged them to learn new life skills, we reminded them that their Outward Bound course really began when they got on the bus to return to the big wide world – taking with them all of the skills, knowledge, and self-awareness that they gained while with me for a month in the wilderness.

Tomorrow, I am outward bound.

 

Love

Love a place. Love a friend. Love a child. Love a woman. Love a man.

I love a man.

So very much.

Sometimes I stop and pause and just allow warm gushy feelings to wash over me. I feel it from my scalp all the way down to my pinky toenails.

He is wonderful: kind, caring, nurturing, witty, smartsmartsmart, playful, supportive, and oh so sexy.

Lucky me.

It has (and continues to be) so healing for my delicate wounded heart. I say wounded because my heart, though it has been broken into little bits and has felt delicate, isn’t fragile. My heart is strong, I have the heart of a warrior.

I love fiercely.

Because of the past pain, past experiences, I did not fall into this with reckless abandon. Apparently, he didn’t notice any hesitation on my part – probably because I jumped into bed with him on date #2 and still haven’t crawled out of said bed.

But oh how I did panic behind the scenes. My gals at work can tell you.

I freaked out. I liked this man and he said that he liked me too.

But I’d heard that before. And it didn’t mean all that much.

So when this man, who, one evening, was hanging from the rafters stretching his back, said the word “girlfriend” and looked over at me wondering what I thought, I said “yes,” but inside I thought, “Yeah, we’ll see where this goes – if anywhere.”

Now don’t get me wrong…my reservations, my skepticism had absolutely nothing to do with him – I want to make it clear that all of the turmoil and uncertainty was all in my head; it was due to my past, not anything that this man had done to cause question.

It was me that didn’t trust him because I couldn’t trust at all.

One friend said to me, “I wouldn’t fucking trust anyone after what you’ve been through.”

In the very beginning, if I didn’t hear from him one day, I would start the mental spin out and end up hyperventilating in my kitchen, pursuing the idea of breaking up with him.

I felt that I just couldn’t handle it. I’m not ready. I’m not strong enough.

I can’t possibly go through another heartbreak like the one from which I had just emerged – totally scathed.

So it seemed easier to run than risk that again.

My gals would talk me down, or up, off the floor, as the case often was.

And I would gather the courage for one more date. One more adventure with this glorious, generous, gregarious, all-around great guy. And it would be fun and I would feel so content and fall for him just a little more each time.

And then the freakouts at work, or sitting on my deck with my friends, would double in intensity.

But I didn’t want him to see my crazy because that would, for sure, scare him off and send him running for the hills.

And I knew enough to know that I didn’t want that to happen.

So, for this man, I played it as cool as I possibly could. I only periodically let on that I had “some concerns”. But I kept moving forward because I really liked him and wanted to believe that he was as good as he seemed to be.

And he is and I am so happy that I didn’t run away.

Even happier that he didn’t run away.

It hasn’t been an easy time. US, the two of us together, our relationship – that’s been easy. Our lives, the challenges put to our foundling relationship – overwhelming.

Bruised hearts, children, health issues, money, surgery, (which meant no sex for an extended period of time at that point in a relationship where we were supposed to be having sex ALL OF THE TIME), work, irrigating (which, if you are a farmer or rancher, you understand that irrigation season does not leave time for a relationship, or a life of any kind really.)

Our relationship has been put to the test multiple times – things that could have proven to be too much under any circumstances, much less a brand new romance.

And we pulled through – I think, with flying colors.

We just celebrated a year together – and then he left town for a tropical paradise with his children. I miss him terribly, but not in an angsty, what’s he doing without me, will he call me when he gets back, sort of way.

I miss him in an I can’t wait to hold him sort of way.

I miss him in an I’m a lucky girl sort of way.

And I am lucky.

And so grateful for the friends who scraped me off the floor and encouraged me to keep trusting that he is who he says he is.

I am grateful for him – his kindness, patience, love.

His integrity.

But most of all I am grateful for this strong and loving heart of mine that has been resilient enough to try this, to open up to one more possibility…

this heart that allows me to fiercely love this man in the way that we both deserve.

PS: and now, from this point forward, he will be referred to as TAM (this amazing man)