Sometimes everything has to be enscribed across the heavens so you can find the one line already written inside you. Sometimes it takes a great sky to find that small, bright, and indescribable wedge of freedom in your own heart. David Whyte

Deja Vu

on May 9, 2017

Early in the month of May five years ago I had “the talk” with my husband that got the wheels rolling for me to be sitting here at my computer telling this part of my story. For a great while my heart had longed to move to Cleveland and live near my family. And so on that sunny May day I gathered my courage and asked my husband to help me figure out how to make my dream a possibility. Of all the ways I expected him to reply he surprised me by immediately saying he would help me. He was aware that I had not been happy for a while, and neither was he. I remember the tenderness of this moment when we both acknowledged we were ready to let go of our marriage. I think it was one of our finest moments.

The next months were a whirlwind of making the arrangements necessary to pack up and begin my life anew. It was three months and two days after that talk that I arrived in Cleveland to stay. My time here has borne rich fruit. I spend good times close to family members, especially my growing grandchildren. We share in celebrations and hardships as a family. It is a precious surprise to find I have a life and friends of my own here. I have even allowed myself to enjoy the gift of being my own person apart from family members. I consider myself settled in my new home in every way. The other day it was a real jolt to discover strong feelings I still have for my former home.

Recently a couple of my friends and I went to a Book Discussion Day. We learned that Virginia Woolf’s novels influenced the writing of the featured author. One friend decided to read Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway and explore this idea. She invited me to read the book and discuss it with her. I remembered that Virginia Woolf was one of the Bloomsbury school of writers. I also thought I remembered that the small group of town houses I called home in Chicago was called Bloomsbury Townhomes. To check my memory I Googled the name Bloomsbury and my street address. Suddenly there appeared on my computer screen pictures of the sidewalk in front of my house and a low brick wall beside it. I could see the Jewish Day Nursery and its playground across the street from me. The sound of children always made me happy. Seeing these familiar scenes took my breath away. My chest tightened and I cried. I could not believe what I was feeling. I thought I had said good-bye to Chicago. I had packed up and moved the things that really mattered. My dream of living close to my family was a reality. So why was I overcome with emotion ?

I could leave my husband. I could let go of almost all my books, many household items – mine and some that were my mother’s, clothes and even furniture and never look back. What I could not erase was the sense of place that encompassed me and the home I inhabited for almost twenty years. I will never want to erase living through good times and growing pains that I experienced there. It has found its place inside me as part of my whole. I am grateful.

17 responses to “Deja Vu

  1. I of July says:

    Wow, this is special. Your voice rings true. Reflective, nostalgic, emotional – everything that conjures up feelings. I respect the way you speak with love and genuine affection for your loved ones, even your husband. The way you describe your parting paints a picture of human dignity through acceptance, understanding, and movement. Really enjoyed this one. Brilliant.

    • vivachange77 says:

      Your words make me feel truly heard. There is no better gift. It’s like writing from my depths forms a bridge to your depths. This is the best of being human. Thanks.

  2. Christy B says:

    Thank you for sharing so openly with us. And it’s beautiful how you describe how amicable your parting was with your husband, which shows maturity, respect and love. If you are getting into Virginia Woolf then I suggest you watch the movie The Hours (it’s fascinating!).

  3. Dale says:

    That was a most generous share,Vi. I love that your parting was filled with love. You were truly in the same moment for it to work out that way.
    Everything we experience becomes a part of us, doesn’t it?
    As for Mrs. Dalloway. I have started that book three times and still have not made it through even 1/3! I think, when I’m in the right frame of mind, I shall try again …

    • vivachange77 says:

      I appreciate your warm thoughts and words, Dale. It was pretty amazing to part that way. And to find new feelings arising just looking at a picture of our townhouse. I probably had a lecture on Mrs. Dalloway in Modern Novel class as an English major but I never read the book. It is remarkable I think and takes time which I now have to linger over it and see that.

      • Dale says:

        I went to a French high school and felt I missed out on reading the classics. So I read a few. Most of them I hated! Go figure…
        I shall be trying again soon…

      • vivachange77 says:

        I didn’t much like some of the classics. I skimmed Moby Dick and Ulysses. A couple of years ago I took a Living Room Learning class on Moby Dick and saw what I could not appreciate when I was 19 years old. Recently my son read it as a fifty year old and loved it.

  4. I found this quite moving – it also resonates as my wife and I begin to take steps to leave our home of the past 13 years

    • vivachange77 says:

      I appreciate your comment, Paul. I can imagine that pulling up roots and leaving your home for another is a challenge for you and your wife. I pray for your journey through a new stage in your life together.

  5. hbsuefred says:

    Home is where the heart is. It’s just kind of surprising to discover sometimes that we have left pieces of our hearts in unexpected places: places that have may have been forgotten by the mind but are remembered through the continuing existence of the void in the heart.

  6. JoHanna Massey says:

    Oh this is such a beautifully written essay. Your words resonate with many others I am sure when you speak of this sense of place. I know they certainly resonated with me. Thank you.

  7. shilyot says:

    There is so much to gain from being a Loner, and so much that we seek to share, but have no-one to share with.
    A sense of loneliness is also present in a relationship: when the balance between Loneliness shifts to the reality of being a Loner, that’s the time to go..
    Brave move.
    The reality of the marriage in its’ early days changes and shifts. Two people with common interests don’t necessarily follow the same path into later life. The strength of marriage comes when the paths follow similar and compatible trajectories.

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