Our lives are full of beginnings and endings…life, careers, relationships, creative endeavors, homes, routines, cities, the list goes on. Whether they are happy, sad or bittersweet, beginnings and endings and the transitions that come with them are an inevitable part of being human.
I have recently been navigating my way through an ending behind the scenes of this blog.
On the weekend of my own move back in early October, my grandmother told me that she was ready to give up her house and had scheduled a meeting with a real estate agent for the next day. Everything moved faster than we ever could have imagined. They met with the agent on Sunday, listed the house Monday, had multiple offers by Wednesday and the house was under contract by Thursday. We were all reeling by how quickly it all happened. We thought it would take 6-12 months for the house to sell and that there would be one last holiday season. Maybe it was better this way.
It was a lot to process emotionally, especially given that I’d just uprooted my own life and moved away from a home that had felt like a safe haven for me for the last six years. I felt pretty ungrounded but focused on talking to friends, family and my therapist about all the changes and accepted that my life was in a period of transition. I was also worried about my grandmother and wanted to support her through this.
My grandmother has lived in her house in Milledgeville, Georgia for 45 years. I was born in Milledgeville 32 years ago and lived there until I was 5 and we moved about 45 minutes away. Since the time that I was a baby, my grandmother and I have been best buds. I can’t even begin to count all of the amazing memories I have inside of this house and with her. They have been playing like a movie reel in my head nonstop for the last couple of months.
My dad sprung into action as soon as my grandmother’s decision was made and was instrumental in making the whole process as painless and easy as possible for her. As soon as I knew all of the details and timing I made plans to go down and help my grandmother prepare to leave her house.
I had the incredible gift of spending my grandmother’s last week in her house with her. I am so grateful for a career that allows me this kind of flexibility in my schedule. My clients were so supportive and understanding and my fiance encouraged me to do whatever I needed to and to stay as long as necessary. I think he taught 23 classes the week I was gone…his and all of mine!
I helped my grandmother go through drawers, closets and entire rooms to decide what to keep, sell or throw away.
My parents arrived half way through the week and we had the added job of going through a storage unit that they have had since they downsized from their house in Atlanta to their condo in Florida.
We had family and friends visit throughout the course of the week.
And I soaked up as much of the small southern town that has been so familiar and comfortable to me for so many years as I could. I had some wonderful, cathartic solo runs around town.
My grandmother ended up in Milledgeville 45 years ago when my grandfather accepted a job at Georgia College.
Things begin and things end. My grandmother’s street is not the same as it was when she moved all of those years ago. My grandfather passed away over 20 years ago and many of my grandmother’s neighbors have slowly passed away or moved away. Family homes are turning into college student rentals.
My grandmother moved to Florida where she has her own condo in the same building as my parents. It’s a sad ending and a happy beginning for her all at the same time. I stayed with her until she drove off with my mom, waving her goodbye in the same way that she did for me so many times over the course of my 32 years of visiting her. My dad stayed behind to get everything ready for the movers and the estate sale and I left to head back to Charlotte.
Yesterday I faced the tough task of heading back to Milledgeville, this time with Zoey and my fiance, to pick up a few things that I couldn’t bring back with me due to size. We rented a truck and made it a very long day trip.
The storage unit had been cleared down to just a few boxes and a washer left for me to take and the house was ready for the estate sale which takes place this weekend (which thankfully none of us have to be there for). We made it through getting a 200 pound front loading washer (it was my parents and had been sitting in storage so we gladly gave it a new home) onto the truck, driving it four hours home, unloading it and getting it in the house at 10 p.m. all on our own so I’ll call the trip a success.
I can’t describe what it felt like to drive into town knowing that my grandmother wasn’t there and that this chapter of my life was over. My reasons to visit Georgia are now few and far between.
My dad commented that I’d have a lot to blog about regarding my grandmother’s move to which I replied that I wasn’t sure if I was going to share. This feels so deeply personal to me and I still have a hard time putting myself, my family and my feelings out there in this capacity. But at the same time I share so much of my life with you that over time I’ve realized that it can be equally as hard not to share these types of big life events with you. We all go through ups and downs, failures and successes and beginnings and endings. I think talking about them can help pave the way towards being more open about and accepting of our feelings and also help us all support each other.
I will miss long hours sitting on this porch with my grandmother but I know that she will love her new ocean view just as much. It’s a comfort to know that my parents are right there if she needs anything and that she’s not alone. She visits them every night for dinner and has been out and about running errands with them. I can’t wait to visit soon and it will be so nice to have them all in one place.
I am so, so grateful to have been able to support my grandmother during this ending after all the unconditional love and support she has given me in my lifetime. I am so lucky to have her and thank god for her every day.