Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Parade of Goodbyes

I've already managed to leave so much unsaid, undocumented.
Maybe I'll get to it retro-actively, as I so often seem to do with this blog . . . but incase I don't, a snapshot of the last 6 weeks for me to remember it all by:

  • April 20th: Book Club Overnight - Point Reyes Station coffee and pastries, a hike on the beach, sunburns, cooking dinner in a beautiful and rustic cabin, a walk in the field at sunset surrounded by horses and tall green grasses, a surprise bachelorette complete with a quiz for Devin and I, lingerie and yoga class pass, stargazing, storytelling, and board games. Five women who I've shared my life with for more than 5 years. What a gift their companionship and friendship has been, I will miss their humor, their intelligent discussion, their sense of adventure, their cooking, their support . . .

  • May 6th: Wedding Shower at Maggie's - Surrounded by a group of wise and talented women, given gifts of support, love, humor and gratitude. Toasts that brought tears to my eyes, an abundance of joy and appreciation showered on a warm and sunny Sunday. Recipes on cards from every woman, a handmade apron, hugs and pieces of advice I'll always treasure.

  • May 13th: Bon Voyage BBQ at Jeremy & Elaine's - Our dear friends hosted an amazing backyard potluck on a cool but sunny Sunday afternoon. Flush with tasty grilled vegetables, taco fixings, cookies! cookies! cookies! More desserts than I could count and a photo-booth to boot! The goodbyes began that day as I said goodbye to dear friends and mentor from my JFKU graduate school days. 
  • May 20th: Hake Family Farm Party - To celebrate Devin completing his PhD from Berkeley we were invited to the Hake Farm in Bolinas. Warm sunshine, a beautiful drive, home-made pizzas in an outdoor wood-burning oven, baked alaska, a solar eclipse and so many family and friends my head and heart exploded with joy and laughter. 

  • May 21st: My 34th Birthday and Chez Panisse - A morning yoga class (which kicked my ass), an afternoon at the UCSF Spine Center (which kicked Devin's and my ass, but in a sort of good way . . .), and dinner at the much anticipated Chez Panisse Cafe with Devin, his parents and his uncle. Fresh greens, hand-made pasta, fantastic wines and over-the top desserts. An evening full of toasts, pride, celebration and love. The day full to overflowing with well wishes and messages of love from friends and family, near and far. A blessed way to begin my 34th year of life.

  • May 22nd: Devin's Finishing Talk - A full room. A mind-blowing talk. I've never been so proud of Devin. I cannot wait to see what he does next. Dr. Devin O'Connor, has a nice ring to it!
  • May 30th: Surprise Goodbye Party at Children's Hospital Oakland - I was naive to not see this one coming, but the weeks at CHO have been so busy, so jam packed . . . that I didn't even think of it until about 15 minutes before it happened. In the cafeteria, buying lunch and making my way to the Teen Lounge for a meeting our manager had called that morning (I hadn't even checked my email that morning so was going by the word-of-mouth of my coworkers).  Realizing on my way up to the floor that there was likely something about to happen, though I thought it small, I met with my dear friend Alexina outside of the room. She promised me there was nothing big on the other side of the door, and like an idiot, I believed her . . . In that room all my colleagues were gathered, streamers hanging from the ceiling, colorful tablecloths, and a joyous SURPRISE! rang out as I stood there dumbstruck with my sandwich and lunch tray in hand. A few minutes later I was told to close my eyes as they brought out my "large" present from the office. Eyes closed and head down they told me reach out and then open my eyes . . . Standing before me was my dear, dear friend and former coworker Rachelle who had moved away from Oakland over 3 years ago. Without even thinking I grabbed her by both arms and threw myself on her, hugging her and crying with shock and surprise. A reality TV show moment to be sure. The potluck continued to unfold with a custom game of MadLibs, a song customized by friends to the tune of "Leaving On A Jet Plane" (but with much, MUCH better lyrics *more crying*), heartfelt gifts, a CHO jacket, a cake with edible glitter (WHAT?), more toasts (*more crying*), and general merriment and bittersweetness mixed alongside one another. In a haze the rest of the day played out as I spent the afternoon saying goodbye to yet more coworkers and caught up with Rachelle who had flown in from Utah only for the day (12 hours!). 
I sit here now, an hour after taking Rachelle to the airport with the last drops of Templeton Rye in a glass beside me. When I got home I immediately threw myself on the bed and cried until I couldn't cry anymore. I had no idea being loved this much could feel so bittersweet . . .

I'm trying to take this all in. To absorb it as it comes, to ride the waves . . . but it's so hard to do. The waves are coming more quickly now, with less time in between them to catch my breath. I can only imagine that the wedding will be a jam-packed microcosm of these past 6 weeks, but with less time to absorb and process. 

Oofta indeed.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Don't Fix The Sadness

From our front porch at sunset

Last night after coming home from work I felt really sad.

All the changes we've been planning for these past two years are finally starting to come into motion.
I've never been so excited and so sad at the same time.  The strangest thing about all of this is when I share with people that I'm starting to feel sad about all the upcoming losses and transitions they immediately try to redirect my attention and focus on the happy and the good.  "But England will be such an adventure!"  "Think of all the new things you'll get to experience!"

Why are people so uncomfortable with experiencing loss, with allowing people to experience their sadness?

I'm learning that this transition isn't to be ignored, to be swept under the rug or packed in a box for later review.  This is all happening now and I want to experience every bit of it it as it washes over me in waves.  I'm so thankful for the fulfilling, dynamic and wonderful life I've had here in the Bay Area.  I don't know yet how to help this chapter draw to a close, and it likely won't be as graceful and tidy as I'd like it to be.  There will spontaneous tears, random acts of hugging, an abundance of laughter, and of course sadness.

Please don't fix the sadness, it isn't broken to begin with.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

That's a lot of white fabric.

And it's hanging in our front hall.

Today, I brought home my wedding dress.

Today, Devin said the words "I'm done writing." (in regards to his thesis)

(He wanted to say "but, but, but there's more to do!", but I didn't let him say anything more because those three words are too pretty to dirty with another sentence.)

Today the HPC (Health Professions Council) in England began to process my application for becoming a UK Art Therapist.

Not bad today, not bad at all.