Home is the one place in all this world where hearts are sure of each other. It is the place of confidence. It is the place where we tear off that mask of guarded and suspicious coldness which the world forces us to wear in self-defense, and where we pour out the unreserved communications of full and confiding hearts. It is the spot where expressions of tenderness gush out without any sensation of awkwardness and without any dread of ridicule.~Frederick W. Robertson
My husband and I recently agreed to stay in London for one more year. It will be our third. Taking into consideration how swiftly time seems to pass despite the pain or pleasures life hands us, I’ve been thinking about what this place means to me, and what it will mean to return to Canada.
In the weeks following Sadie’s death we flew back to hold her funeral and to spend time with our family. Angry and desperately sad, I vowed to return permanently as soon as possible. I listened and believed those around us who said it was time, all things considered, to be closer to our friends and loved ones. It was all well intentioned; something to offer when there was no other way to help: Come back, and while you don’t have her, at least you’ll have us. We are both so loved.
I was emotionally chaotic; I viewed our return as the light at the end of a very dark tunnel. Yet after months passed and I did what was the right thing for me – getting a job – I started to doubt my hasty proclamation. Despite it being the polar opposite of what I wanted to be doing, I believed that distracting myself with work challenges and making new friends was the healthy, responsible way to channel my grief.
I began to experience this home from a different perspective. I was extraordinarily sad, and still am. But I was forging a path as a new person. Everything I looked at was at once starkly different, as though through the eyes of someone else. It has taken many months to understand how deeply losing Sadie has changed my very essence. And now, ten months later, I can see how London has been a integral part of this transformation.
I’ve always told my husband that I am an adaptable person by nature, and he knows all too well how much I enjoy change. In the years before we bought our Toronto home, I moved both on my own and with him no less than once a year over the span of six years. Needless to say, the idea of moving overseas and making a life for ourselves in a new country was particularly appealing.
I believe that being here throughout this time has taught me what I’m made of.
Now, faced with the reality of our time here coming to an end, the thought of leaving saddens me more than I ever expected it to. I know how quickly this year will fly by. This is the place where my husband and I chose to strike out independently of everything we knew and make a life distinctly our own. It’s where our daughter was conceived, and where we came to terms with what becoming parents meant to us. It is where we were fortunate enough to experience the barely describable love and joy that was being her mom and dad.
It is where we shared both the most glorious and the most heartbreaking moments of our lives.
How hard it is to escape from places. However carefully one goes they hold you - you leave little bits of yourself fluttering on the fences - like rags and shreds of your very life. ~Katherine Mansfield
Do you associate a certain place with your lost child, be it a city, home, or otherwise? How has that relationship changed since your loss?