My agent called with the news – we have an offer, a good offer! And strangely, I felt upon hearing these words a kind of slow-spreading, somber sadness. A low bass note filled my heart and tears welled up – don’t blink, I told myself, so that tears will not fall. Inhale a quick breath and square the shoulders, be strong. Be strong.*
Detach. It’s just property, it’s just a building. Take scissors and cut the string binding your heart from the rooms and the things that happened, good and bad, in these rooms.
Detach – it’s an asset, an investment (and a good one at that).
(Time stops and mind starts: But it was within this asset that I lost and found my way, it was in this house that my children last jumped in bed to snuggle or came to tell me of a nightmare, in this property I cooked and sang and loved and laughed and prayed. Here, in this place, I last saw my brother alive. In this building, I wrote the words I’ve writ, and I’ve read the books I’ve read. It was here that I cried a thousand tears and laughed ten thousand times.)
My agent: Hello? Are you there?
Me: Sorry, yes. I will think it over and call you tomorrow.
My agent: Mary June! I cannot tell you what to do…but I’m telling you…you have to take this very good offer!
It was the verbal equivalent of shaking me awake.
My agent is wise, and I do begin to detach. Detach from the property, comfort yourself with your memories. We are all going through this short passage of time and none of these things in these rooms will go with us wherever we go next. I will keep: an internal memoir from the time spent in that house…the place of it. I will take: the family. The family is my home, it is there that I attach.
*Sometimes I cannot be strong. Sometimes, I want to give in to the complex grief, the trauma, the stress, anxiety, pain, surreal-ness, sadness, residual sickness, misunderstandings, quiet hurts – and sometimes, I do give in. Sometimes, it is too much to hold in my too-small hands.
And sometimes, I find out how strong I am because strong is the only option.