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Such Sweet Sorrow

I got out for a 14-mile hike the other day – an awesome five-plus hours of a complete immersion in nature and nothing else. Time to think, to reflect, and to feel. Of course, I invested most all of my thoughts to the impending departure of my son, daughter in law, and my grandkids. As Dylan Thomas wrote: “I will not go gentle into that good night”…..but I really have no choice. They are leaving Rhode Island and will be living in Maine by this time next week.

That point has been driven home to me time after time: the “For Sale” sign, the packing of boxes, and of course the purchase of the land in Maine. But there was one more reminder on Tuesday when I followed my son in a box truck loaded with most of their possession up to a storage unit in Maine. The truck rental was quite expensive, but would have been double had he driven it back here to RI, so I followed to help him unload and to drive him back here once he dropped off the truck. It was a surreal and bittersweet day for me. I am thrilled they are pursuing their dream to live in Maine yet am so painfully saddened by it all.

This weekend will be the last overnight with my beloved grandkids – for a while. They will absolutely be back, probably for a week at some point in the summer. And we will certainly go up to see them. But it is the end of a tradition where they slept over with us probably 49 or 50 weekends every year going back over a decade for the eldest. That in addition to our weekly Wednesday family night we’ve had for the last 7 years or so. It will leave a hole.

But they are not “gone”, just in a different place. And that place is not overseas or across the country; it is just a five- or six-hour drive away. I did a roundtrip Tuesday and proved to myself that I could get up there to see them and then get home again in a day. Tedious but manageable. All that aside, I am a borderline basket case to be honest! I will find a way to keep them well entrenched in our life, but it will take a lot more effort than it used to. And that’s OK; but the time gaps between seeing them will have to widen – there is little I can do about that other than embrace our moments together more tightly.

My poor dear daughter in law has been going full tilt for several weeks now packing up the house and making countless arrangements for the move; and her grandfather died yesterday. Granted, better now than next week when she was 350 miles away, but what a terrible added burden to an already stressful time in her life – in all their lives. He was not comfortable for the last few months so it is a blessing to have him at peace and she finds comfort in that.

Almost a week has now passed since I began this and a lot happened in that time. We had our last sleepover – for a while – over the weekend, we had our family farewell party for them on Sunday, we spent most all of Monday at their house packing, boxing, and loading the rental box truck for the final load of their possessions, and we had our last hugs at their now empty house. We went home, they slept in an empty house and headed north in the morning.

We heard from them all as they arrived in Maine, which was wonderful. I think back 30 or 40 years and the lack of means of communicating then; landline telephone, mail, and not much else, Very few people had computers, maybe a pager here or there in the early 80’s, but not much else. We received texts, Facetime calls, and DM’s from them and it was wonderful. As much as I feel technology and social media is to blame for much of what is wrong with society these days, it is also a blessing in allowing as near-normal connection with them all as is possible.

Time has moved along once again and it is now a full week since the party. I saw my son, briefly, Friday as he rented a car and drove down to pick up their second car (which was left behind due to the truck). It was nice to see him and catch up a bit, but it was really just 5 or 10 minutes together. However, I will see him again tomorrow – all of them in fact – as my truck is loaded with the ATV and a dirt bike, both destined for Maine use from now on! The weather does not look good so I am not sure how much time we’ll have together but that’s OK – any time is good. And with two summer birthdays coming up, we’ll be seeing them all again in the blink of an eye.

I will end this here in order to get it up posted on the site. I will update on the old Wolff seeing his cubs again once I get back on Tuesday. Traveling on the 4th of July is not the best way to celebrate America’s independence but that’s just how it’ll have to be. Enjoy your 4th and stay safe dear reader!

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