Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Reflections: the last day

I know I do this a lot on here, but I've been thinking about this lately. So I thought I'd write a post about it. It's a reflection on.... once again, life in Connecticut. I guess one reason I'm doing it is to have it written down.

Here's some background information. So from Dec '06, I knew I was moving home on the morning of July 30, 2007. For a long time it seemed way off. So far off that I didn't think about it. Then my friends (Tamara, Sarah, Katharina, Ellen) and I started talking about how our time was halfway over. Or more than halfway. Then we all started traveling, so we realized we didn't have that much time together. Then all of a sudden, it was June, and we had one month left together. We wrote down a bunch of things we still wanted to do together, like to go the NJ coast (we did it!), spend a day in NYC taking photos at our favorite places (check!), have a last breakfast at I-Hop (not sure if we realized it was the last one), have a picnic in Central Park (done!), and some others that I can't remember right now. Then it was the middle of July and I was saying goodbye to Sarah on a street corner in the city.

Now it was my last couple of weeks. I have packing anxiety, so I started packing WAY early. The couple weeks leading up to going home, I was really excited to be going home to see my family, friends, and enjoy the rest of the summer. I didn't let myself think about leaving this place for good.

Sunday, July 29, 2007 I didn't sleep in very late, and I didn't have many plans for the day. I spent a few hours doing laundry and packing some things. Spent some time with the boys. Talked on the phone a little bit. Finished up a scrapbook I made for Marcy, Eric, and the boys. Wrote out a card for all of them. (THAT was hard!) Daydreamed about everything I had done since the first time I stepped into that bedroom (back to the present -- I'm getting tears in my eyes!) . I started getting very nostalgic. How could I be leaving already? I spent every day with these boys, and I had to leave them. Who knows when I'd ever see them again?!

Marcy, Eric, the boys, and I went out for a "goodbye" dinner. We went to a hibachi place in town. It was really fun and festive... until the ordering was done. Then the boys all gave me cards they had made. You could tell they all put a lot of thought into them. They all said in their different ways about how sad they were that I was leaving. That they were really going to miss me. (I still look at those cards every couple of weeks and relive fun times I had with them.) and I started getting tears. Then Marcy gave me a gift (which I LOVE!) and a card from all of them. Reading her card, I couldn't stop the tears. (I carry the card in my purse and read it every once in awhile -- it still brings tears to my eyes.) It was overwhelming -- all of that emotion.

Marcy, Eric, and the boys loved the scrapbook! It was so much fun giving it to them and seeing their expressions from each page (that I had put so much thought into)! After a delicious dinner, we headed back home. It was time for the boys to go to sleep, so I got to tuck them in one last time and say goodbye (I had to leave the house at 6:00 am the next day). I can still picture brushing my teeth with them one last time, doing all of the little games we had come up with over the year.

Then came the hard part. In one way, it felt like every other night I had tucked them in. In the back of my mind, though, this voice kept saying "this is the last time you're ever going to do this, Karen!" A. started sobbing when I was leaving his bedroom. It was hard to close the door. Then M. (who is a tough boy most of the time) was fighting back tears when I had to say goodbye (that almost undid me). T (the oldest) said some nice things, then said "It's okay, Karen. I'm not going to cry -- I don't ever cry...":) (he's 13)

After I said goodnight and goodbye to the boys, I talked to Marcy and Eric for awhile. I wasn't ready to say goodbye to them, and I didn't have to quite yet. Eric was bringing me to the airport in the morning, and Marcy was going to get up with us. Whew!

Then I met my friends (Tamara, Katharina, Ellen, Gillian, and Julie) at Starbucks one last time. We spent a couple of hours talking and visiting like any other Starbucks night. Then they turned the lights off because they were closing. So we just went into the parking lot and continued talking. We took a few photos. And kept talking. We got around to reminiscing about so many awesome things we had done. I finally told them that someone else was going to have to leave before me, because I was just going to keep on talking and visiting all night. I was in denial that I was leaving, so I'd stay all night. Finally someone said they had to get home. So amidst the tears, I said goodbye. (Here is one of the photos from that night!)

I got into my car and called my sister. She knew that I was kind of in denial, and she came up with a good idea for me. She said to take a drive through town, and drive past all of the familiar places one more time. She specifically mentioned the beach, a place I would go to when I first moved out there and call home when I was feeling lonely. I spent many hours in that parking lot overlooking the Sound, talking to home.
So I drove out there and had to pull over a few times to fight back the tears. I can still feel those last moments driving around those familiar streets, wondering when I'd make it back, and reflecting on all of the wonderful times there. I drove past the train station and my thoughts turned to so many train rides into the city. Past the post office that I went to to drop off letters every single day for the first month. Past the boys' friends houses. Through the last four-way stop before our house, then onto our street. When I got back, I just spent a couple of minues in the driveway, looking around.

I went inside and talked to Marcy and Eric a little longer. Marcy said that M. had put something in my room -- something he forgot to give me earlier. It was a picture and card from their dog :) that M. made for me. :)

My suitcases were packed, and I went to bed for the last time in Connecticut. What a day of emotion and reflection.

*****It felt really good to write all of that down. I'm glad I did -- even if no one reads it. I know it's long! The next day is a whole different story. Maybe I'll write it someday.***** So, if there's anything you can tell from this whole blog, I hope it's that I loved my life in CT and I really miss it. But I love life up here and can't imagine leaving again!

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