‘2019 is in the books and 2020 is a new story waiting to be written.’ This is how I ended my last blog and whew what a story so far!
I’m sitting here having my last breakfast (on a paper plate with a plastic fork) at my Mom’s house. I leave for a quick little beach getaway in a few hours. And when I get back I’ll be going straight to my Dad’s house to live with him and my stepmom. Who knows if or when I’ll be back in this house again. It’s all very surreal.
As I mentioned in my last blog, my Mom was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer two days before I left to move to Vietnam. I came back in December to take care of her and was in the process of moving back to Vietnam at the end of January. But the chemo stopped working at the beginning of January and she quickly went downhill and passed away on January 24 (which also happens to be my birthday). During that last week, I worked with the organization in Vietnam to push my start date.
And then COVID-19 happened, it’s June and I’m still in the US.
The original plan when everyone thought I was going to be moving to Vietnam was for my sister-in-law’s mother and grandmother to move into Mom’s house (my brother now owns it and the land). My Dad and stepmom have been renovating an old log cabin and will be moving there and my brother and family will move to the family farm. Since I’m still here, I’ve been living at Mom’s while trying to clean out and pack up everything (huge shoutout to my aunts for helping on multiple occasions before the virus hit!!).
The cleaning and packing has multiple layers: 1) donate 2) keep 3) throw away and 4) what to do with my stuff.
Donate: we’ve already taken 2 trailer loads off and have at least one more. The donation center was closed for a couple of months due to the virus but has recently opened back up (yeah!)
Keep: obviously there are keepsakes of Moms we wanted to keep, plus some furniture my brother wants and dishes and crafts my niece wants. The question became ‘where do we store it all?’
Throw-away: oh my goodness the amount of trash! And since the virus, the garbage pickup will only get items in the garbage can – nothing sitting on the ground. We should have gotten a dumpster…it would have been easier.
My stuff: Back in 2016, I sold/gave away most of what I owned, joined the Peace Corps, and moved to Morocco. What’s left is keepsake items and some clothes. I just figured everything would be here at Moms until I decided to live in the US again. So now some things are in a storage shed and others (that I don’t want the weather to affect) are going to my brother’s house and a few things at my Dad’s. Maybe I need to keep a list of what’s going where?
Over the last couple of months, I wasn’t too concerned with getting everything done since I don’t know when I’ll be able to travel back to Vietnam. So I was slowly making my way through closets and drawers. But 10 days ago my sister-in-law’s grandmother’s house sold and they have 30 days to move out. This means we had to get everything done here and that’s how I’ve spent my last week. Shew!
So far 2020 has definitely been a story. Just not one any of us could have imagined. Dealing with the emotions of losing my Mom, not being able to move to Vietnam and pursue my teaching career, the effects of COVID and staying healthy at home, recent protests (not all of which are peaceful) due to the systemic racism in our country sparked by the horrible death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery over the past several weeks, and now leaving a house my Mom lived in for 27 years has been tough.
For most of the last 5 months, I’ve been in a major funk. I’ve felt like my life was out of control, I have no answers for my future and my health and fitness have gone to the wayside. On the other hand, I’m thankful I live in a small rural town near my family and have been able to get outside anytime I want (most places in the world have not been able to do that during this pandemic). I see my family several times a week and have enjoyed spending more time with my niece and nephews.
But I’m ready to start working again. I’m ready for a new beginning. I’m ready for a new story. I’m ready for change.