Long Time Gone
I was gone too long from home. Going back to Alabama this weekend was just what I needed. I cried so much this weekend but it was cathartic. Many of those tears were tears of joy.
I went home because my aunt almost died last Wednesday. She rallied and is better. She is still nowhere near 100%. She is very ill and she is elderly. It’s not good. But she was talking when I got there and she knew me. She was confused, though. She asked me was I still married. No. I have been divorced 16 years. She laughed and said good. We all laughed at that.You find the humor where you can. She said some funny things in her confusion which was also really sad. But you focus on the good of it.That’s all you can do in hard times.
I had lost all of my childhood pictures years ago and another aunt was generous enough to share hers with me. I cried like a baby. I have pictures of me with my parents and other family members that are so precious. It broke my heart and made me so overwhelmed and overjoyed at the same time. I made everyone cry because I just couldn’t stop crying at first. The first pictures I saw had me sobbing.
I saw cousins and aunts and an uncle I hadn’t seen in over a decade. I was blown away with how much love a heart can hold. It was amazing. I knew I loved them, but my heart was overflowing with love.
This morning I met with one of my oldest friends who I haven’t seen in 23 years. He is one of my biggest cheerleaders and the one of the very best men of my generation I have ever met. I’m glad to have him as my best male friend. We got to meet for a quick breakfast and the only change in him is that he has gotten wiser and kinder with age. He told me I was still pretty and I actually believed it for a minute. I hugged him today for the first time in forever and it was like a time machine. I didn’t want to let go. It was as if I had gone back in time and hadn’t made all of the stupid mistakes in life, still had all of the people in my life that I had lost and I felt loved and safe. Who would want to let that go? Unfortunately, I had to. And thankfully for him, I only teared up a little. I couldn’t watch him drive away or I would have burst into tears. I had already cried so much that I just couldn’t do it.
I hit the road and drove through my hometown of Huntsville, Alabama and just soaked it in. I thought about the what-ifs of never having left and all of that. I love that place. My heart ached as I drove east towards Chattanooga. But I kept driving. It was an easy drive. I was happy to see the signs for Asheville, North Carolina, though. I have missed my mountains and my precious cats. It was good to get home here but I do miss home there.
Praying I can make another trip this summer or fall. I need it.