I had a wonderful end of 2013, with my 50th birthday spent with my closest family and a good friend, with delicious food, the people I love the most (most of them anyway), and even time on the beach in California! It was a perfect day. Except, of course, that Elizabeth wasn’t there, though I certainly felt her presence.
For months I’d been wondering how I could gather my family and friends to celebrate my 50th birthday, which is on Christmas eve, but it felt too overwhelming and stressful to orchestrate. Somehow, (and I believe Elizabeth helped out here), the only time we could all meet up for our annual family vacation was my birthday week! We’ve never done our trip Christmas week, but it worked perfectly, and I didn’t need to do anything other than say yes and show up. Family flew in from Hawaii, the East Coast, and drove from Tucson and northern California, and we had a beautiful week together in Santa Barbara…
When we arrived at the restaurant for my birthday dinner, the hostess showed us to our table, strewn with rose petals, and said, “Someone named Elizabeth was here earlier and left the roses for you.” We all stared at her, asking her to repeat herself, until we realized it must have been my friend Victoria, who was staying nearby. She had brought the roses and said to tell us they were a gift from Elizabeth, but the way that was communicated was a bit startling to us all!
My year has started off wonderfully too. Since coming home, I’ve had the pleasure of my partner Zelie being home for a few days, and now my daughter Julianna being here with me for her winter break, likely our last time together in Tucson. I have put my house for sale and am preparing for my move to Hawaii, where I’ll be based on Maui and continue to spend part of my time on Molokai, offering retreats with my partner. I move at the end of February, and it’s been a very busy few months of clearing, packing, and organizing!
Julianna has been amazing, helping me with not only the practical aspects of preparing for a huge yard sale (I’m not taking much with me to Maui), but also the more emotionally charged ones of going through Elizabeth’s boxes of belongings. Yesterday we sorted through 3 boxes of her journals, jewelry, photographs and clothing, and it somehow felt relatively easy, making decisions about what to save (journals, of course) and what to let go of. It was wonderful to have Julianna with me while I made decisions, taking what she wants to have, knowing that we are both clear on what feels right to save, and what to let go.
Today I still needed to get through Elizabeth’s file folders, and that was unexpectedly much harder. Perhaps it was reading many of her papers from high school, or seeing her handwritten notes and to-do lists. Perhaps it was tossing piles of teacher’s evaluations of her, and feeling like none of that mattered, as she’s not here anymore. What difference does it make what her 9th grade English teacher thought of her work? Perhaps it was seeing again her funny labels on her folders that I threw away, but couldn’t help photographing first, as they are so endearing:
It feels good to be letting go of so many things, feeling like the things are not very important anymore, and traveling lighter feels right. The move to Hawaii also feels very right, after years of feeling it coming, knowing it is now time, and that moving away from this home and this town where Elizabeth was last, mostly feels healing. It feels expansive and like my work and my life can open in new ways, hopefully to be in service in larger ways, and in a place that will be healing for me as well.
And so I will continue to write, write; talk, talk. Edit away. And pack, and store, and recycle, and sell, and cry, and laugh, and love.
Last, I want to express so much gratitude to all of you who’ve found this blog and surrounded me with so much support, friendship, and love. 55,000 of you visited last year, from 136 countries! That may be small in the blogging world, but it’s huge to me, and I can’t say how much I value each of you who read this blog, and who share yourselves with me.