(I haven't edited this for typos or read it over, so bear with it and indulge me).
A long time ago I wrote about sitting in “the pink room” that was Alexis’ bedroom. From October 2010 until the day that Alexis was taken from us we spent many hours surrounded by friends and family in that “pink room.” That room became a shelter in the storm that developed into our lives. It was in that room that we held Alexis as she transcended the earthly bounds that cage us all. And, beyond that terrible date in January 2011, Alexis’ room became a place that I escaped to in an effort to find a connection. Visit her bed, stuffed animals still in place. Items that we utilized with hope for healing. Her room became a location for me to simply go to that place that brought me to my knees in tears and desperation for the ability to simply see her again, feel her presence. Each night before heading to sleep, I would open up Alexis’ door, spend my quiet moments in thought and reflection and simply be taken into that universe of connecting pain.
For fourteen years we have resided in the same house. It was not supposed to be that way. This was a house we were supposed to be infor three to five years. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love our house. Alexis, Gabe and Trevor all were “born” there. It was where I took refuge after my sister’s death in 2002. It has been the castle that has provided shelter through many unimaginable storms. And so, when we decided that it was time to finally act upon our three to five year plan the gravity and reality of moving from “our” house struck me with full force and shook me to my core. When this decision was made and we finally moved Trevor into Alexis’room in many respects that portion of my connection was severed. Moving Trevor into Alexis’ room was difficult. Removing a significant amount of Alexis’ belongings, clothing, and animals was like a knife in the heart. Neely marshaled the task with an amazing strength that inspires me. Neely was the one who was undertaking the task at hand and she did so with an unimaginable strength that belies the amazing person she is. It was a knife to her heart without question; but she knew that what our family needed was more room, a house that worked for us now, and in the future with whatever changes may come...
We will walk out of our current house on July 18th and begin anew. I’m excited in so many respects for a new house. More space for all that we have amassed over the past fourteen years that we have made a life in our current house. Gabe and Trevor will have more room to play, run around and give each other a loving punch, shove or even the occasional hug. I will have an office that I can work out of and become more productive. This presents a real opportunity for us to create new memories. That is the good part of our upcoming move. And don’t get me wrong; I’m truly excited about all of these prospects. It’s just that I am grieving the loss of what our current house represents and that amazing connection that it allows me to have with Alexis. Of course Alexis is “coming with us.” I hold no thoughts that this is not the case. In fact, we intend to set up her room in the new house. It simply will never be the same.
Since Alexis passed away, there has been this significant part of my being that has hoped beyond reason and rationale that I would have this significant encounter with Alexis’ spirit, her energy so to speak. I don’t know what I expected this to look or feel like. Yet, I have always hoped that I would have this moment of clarity that I could without question feel her presence and being. Maybe this has occurred and I simply have not taken note, or it has been subtle. Maybe Alexis has been there with me each and every day, providing me with the “emotional sustenance” to take one step at a time each day since her passing. Heavens knows that the path since we lost her has been filled with difficulties both from the inside and others who I once considered to be confidants. Anything is possible I suppose. I just have this notion that this feeling of closeness and connectivity would strike me over the head and provide me with this moment of pure elucidation leaving no doubts. And, although I have never had that moment even in her room, though I’ve tried to create it on many occasions, it is as though another piece of me is being ripped away. It is by choice though, and so “don’t cry for me Argentina.”
Moving certainly does not foreclose the possibility of this singular feeling of connectivity mind you. I often sit on the bench before Alexis’ marker at the cemetery and pray and hope beyond all rational thought that maybe just once I will see a vision of Alexis, feel her spirit connecting with me or experience some unexplained occurrence that unequivocally is Alexis being present with me. That has not happened. It is often through the pain that I experience simply by experiencing life following her loss that provides this connection. Or, there are times when I’m training for a triathlon, running or out on my bike, the pain building up in my legs and lungs, that I find this connection.
So yes, a house is just a house no matter how much of a home you made out of it. Most of us live in a house or apartment that once was occupied by someone else. They had experiences there just as we do. Those people are long gone either physically in body in that location or on this earth. We now inhabit “their house” and that connection the former resident feels or had is gone. Life moves, it flows, and it changes. That is not necessarily a bad thing. Change in the form of moving to a new house that presents new opportunities and an ability to make a better life is a good thing. It is exciting. I frankly am very much looking forward to this next chapter. It simply will never be the same again once I take my final steps from that “pink room.” And that is when a house transcends simply the bricks, mortar and wood that make up the physical bones.
Today we begin the road to another new chapter in this story. One that we hope, no we pray,will bring better days and roads that don’t rise against us. One that provides us with opportunities and boundless energy for a future that is open to us. One that provides us with more family time, more time to remember clearly, more time to honor Alexis and continue to grow her legacy. One where her spirit is evermore present, bringing us comfort knowing that there will be a time down the road when we can reunite in the sweetest of experiences. I hope…
I promise I will write a more substantive post updating everyone(who may still be reading this) on our activities. At the end of the day, we are “ok.” And that my friends is all relative.
As always, the days pass and we are brought one day further from Alexis, yet one day closer. Soon baby, soon.
Jon, Neely, Alexis, Gabe and Trevor.