It was more emotional than I thought, the day those trees came down. I slept in that morning while Matt got up with Lavinia. He heard me stirring and came in to break the news that my favorite, the lemon tree, was the first to go. He also had to break the news that my beloved dog, Bella had passed away in the night (she lived with my Mom in The States.)
The following Saturday I read that a friend from my hometown lost his life- he was only a year older than me. And today, another week later I woke to the news that my Mother’s best friend of 50 years lost her battle with a quick, ruthless, illness.
My heart broke for those little birds because I could relate. When things are suddenly taken from us, we see ghosts where branches used to be. We try to lean against something no stronger than a memory. We think we see our tree for a second but really it’s just a phantom.
Loss hurts. It’s one of those things made incredibly more complicated by living abroad. I have not yet been able to look at my own backyard and see those empty spaces with my own eyes. So instead I imagine: My dog won’t greet me as I walk through the door, I won’t bump into Mike if I go out for drinks, Debbie won’t be visiting and I won’t speak to my Grandmother, who left us in March.
I had a dream this morning where I tried to explain life in Australia to my Mom. I told her that even though I don’t have a youthful memory on every corner, somehow it’s become home.
When I arrive in my hometown next week perhaps I’ll be like one of those birds, flitting around for a while trying to get my bearings without some familiar landmarks.