The fog has blanketed the city of Saint Charles these last two mornings. Yesterday, it felt like a dark, grey fog had settled in my soul. The puppies seemed to sense my sadness, and they took several naps with me.
When I feel like this, I tend to return to old habits which include grazing my way through the day. I have eaten too many cookies, and too much ice cream these last couple of weeks. Rather than address what's bothering me, I eat until I feel numb. Then I sleep.
This morning Chuck was at the breakfast table, reading from his iPad while he ate. The steam from the crumbled sausage rose to my cheeks, mingling with my hot tears. I wiped my eyes, and tried to focus on the sweet, maple-scented sausage. I was afraid if I spoke, the dam would break, and I wouldn't be able to stop crying.
Today I will fly "back home;" only I won't even see my house. All of the kids have places of their own, and we are congregating in Saint George for my long weekend in Utah. I've always felt like I was "going home," whether I was flying to Utah or Illinois, but this time, there will be no time at home; not mine, anyway.
I looked up from the sausage, glancing at Chuck. Would he understand my attachment to a building? Would I burden him with my inevitable tears?
"Honey, I think the thing that bothers me about going home this time is I am not actually going home. I won't see the house at all." That's when the tears really began to fall. Chuck pushed his chair back, and wrapped me in his arms. He knows he can't make everything better, but he can listen to me, and hold me.
You see, the little house that got me through two divorces, and welcomed Chuck into its coziness when we met in the fall of 2014, is standing vacant right now. I am 1,400 miles away from my home of healing. I love The Cozy Cottage for everything that it was, and what I hoped it would be, our retirement home. What it is right now is empty. Very, very empty.
There are no loaves of home-baked bread cooling on the counter. There are no silly conversations taking place at the kitchen table. There are no suitcases and duffle bags in the bedrooms. There are no dogs or cats on the couch. It is just the shell of the home it once was.
When my daughter needed a place to live, Chuck and I offered the cottage to her. It proved to be a place of refuge for her, too, until she was ready to spread her wings and fly again.
After Chuck left for work this morning, he called to let me know the fog was offering beautiful photo opportunities this morning. He reminded me all of my little chores could wait. I didn't have to be told twice. For one thing, I was glad to postpone dealing with all of these feelings ricocheting around in my heart. I left as soon as I was dressed.
My photography session went from walking around the city by myself, to driving out to a bird sanctuary with my friend Susan. I'm lucky that Chuck and Susan are both good listeners, and they both let me cry when I need to do that. Taking pictures, especially while outdoors, calms my spirit.
By the time I got home, I was calmer. My oldest son called me, and I told him how I was feeling. He offered to take me to my house this weekend; it would be a quick round trip so we could be with everyone in Saint George. I realized how silly I sounded, and thanked him sincerely for his offer. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and we will go home for our Thanksmas. And that will be just fine. I'm going to be okay.
When I got home, I took the last of the ice cream, and filled the carton full of water and emptied it into the sink. I ate an apple while I edited my pictures. Letting the tears fall and my words find a voice has soothed my soul. I feel so much better, even though nothing has changed. The fog is finally lifting.