Sunday, 27 July 2008

Packing and crying

We are leaving Belgium in two weeks time. I first came here sixteen years ago. My husband has lived here for twenty years. We love our house here and Brussels is a wonderful city in so many ways. But we're going .... I know it's right. We badly need to start again and we can't do that here. At the moment I'm packing all day, every day. Our house is big and we are very untidy people. I'm taking car loads of stuff around to the charity shop. I know that this has to happen but it is so, so hard. Everything I touch is charged with some huge emotional significance - and I haven't even got to all that baby stuff in the attic yet. But the truth is that the life we used to have in this city came to an end three years ago ....... What we're leaving behind is the shape of a life, not a real life. I just can't think about what is happening. I can't. All I do is tell myself (and everyone else) that we'll come back often - even though I know that we probably won't. Since I got married seven years ago I lost my father and my brother (both of them refuse to speak to anyone in our family), then I lost my daughter, a good friend died of cancer, another is dying of it now, and I'm leaving a city that I love. But life is all about loss, I suppose. And the people who survive best in life are the people who are good at losing things. Well, let's hope practice makes perfect .....


niobe said...

life is all about loss, I suppose.

I've often thought exactly that. In almost exactly the same words.

Tash said...

Wow. I understand the need to start again, I just can't imagine doing it myself. I read about women leaving their houses and neighborhoods, and I think that I wouldn't have gotten through this mess to this point without my house and neighborhood. No way I'm leaving now.

Good luck with it all. It sounds traumatic, and yet somehow lighter.

janis said...

good luck with the move, Alice.

catherine said...

I think you are very brave Alice. But I still wish you were not leaving Brussels.

Julia said...

It's interesting, I think, how individually we react to similar experiences. Unlike Tash's neighbors, mine are nothing to write home about. But A's death made me want to hold on to our house much more than before. Before it was mostly about the hassle of the move. Now it's a lot more about this was the house he was supposed to come home to. I feel the attachment loosen it's grip with time, but not exactly let go. I am still unwilling to entertain the idea of moving.

Best of luck to you with the move. I hope you find the new place to be exactly what you need. That's not too much to ask for, is it?

Anonymous said...

Dear Alice,
I am the one that left a comment on your blog some time ago about 'sadness in the world.'
It is my belief that those who have gone through grief are slow to judge, quick to find empathy and fast to offer a shoulder. These are good people and you are one of them.
You will be happy because you are taking responsibility for your own life. Something that is pretty rare.
I wish you strength and peace.

Alice said...

Thanks so much for the comments. It is interesting how different people react to loss. Actually this move was planned even before my daughter died. So we're not going because of that .... but it may prove that that means it is a good time to move. I don't know. I never found people here supportive really - but that may say as much about me as them.


Karin said...

"And the people who survive best in life are the people who are good at losing things."

That is powerful. I'm going to be thinking about that. I will catch up on your other posts but I just wanted to acknowledge your thoughts here. I hope it went ok.