In the days following our backyard tree removal I noticed birds flitting around, flying from corner to corner stopping to rest on the fence line. They were confused.

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.

Buffalo is also my home. the roots I have back there are sturdy and in Australia they are young and flourishing. My home, my life, my family and my heart will forever be in two places.

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.

Rest in peace: Mamie, Bella, Michael and Debbie


Author: dawnrieniets

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11 thoughts on “A Place to Rest

  1. I hope your trip is wonderful and healing. Such a lot of loss happening for you right now, I'm sorry that you're going through it.

    Posted on June 7, 2015 at 8:37 am
  2. Thank you Lila, it's really strange how things keep happening one after another. Prior to this year I've been incredibly lucky- it makes me want to squeeze my little girl tighter and hold my family closer. xo

    Posted on June 7, 2015 at 8:58 am
  3. Wowsers, what a week/year for you. I know what you mean not being able to look at where the trees once were. When my dad died I could not look at photos of him for months. Grief is such a strange beast – where others sought and found comfort all I could see was loss. Safe travels and enjoy your trip home.

    Posted on June 7, 2015 at 11:05 pm
  4. I do hope that your trip home gives you solace and some peace. I don't believe that this life is the end for any of us, but it doesn't make it any easier when those we love leave it.

    Posted on June 8, 2015 at 5:47 am
  5. My heart goes out to you Dawn. What a horrible time you've had. I hope your trip home helps. Grief and loss is such an upheaval of our lives. We've recently lost our 2 chihuahuas – they escaped under the back fence and then disappeared with no trace – it has been really traumatic and our family is still trying to get our heads around it all. x

    Posted on June 8, 2015 at 5:58 am
  6. Grief is so strange isn't it? And so different for every person. I keep concentrating on getting home and it has been the perfect distraction. Not sure what I will feel when I arrive but what ever happens is all part of the process. Thank you for your kind words. x

    Posted on June 8, 2015 at 6:43 am
  7. Thank you for saying that Robyna, I also believe that death is not the end. It's the hardest for those left behind that's for sure- I realize you know that all too well. Nothing left to do but hold the memories close and our loved ones closer. xo

    Posted on June 8, 2015 at 6:46 am
  8. Oh Karen- how awful not knowing! That would be absolutely heartbreaking. I'm so, so, sorry about your doggies. I hope someone stole them and are caring for them (best worst case?) Big Hugs for your family. 🙁

    Posted on June 8, 2015 at 6:48 am
  9. I am so so sorry for all the heartache you have been going through. I hope you find peace and healing in your journey home.

    Posted on June 11, 2015 at 3:43 am
  10. Thank you so much Danielle, we made it home and though it's really strange in some ways due to all the change- it's as familiar as a comfy old pair of shoes. Xoxo

    Posted on June 11, 2015 at 6:19 pm