This was it. Time to say goodbye. My footsteps quietly echoed through our empty house as I said my final farewell to our first home. Nearly six years ago, we made this house our home. Its walls witnessed the magnitude of our family’s journey and kept us safe as we weathered the roughest storms of life. I quietly walked through each room one last time and the memories of the past played on the blank walls like an old movie projector.
I first walked to the front bedroom, my office. This room saw such lonely despair only a few short years ago. It became my office in the fall of 2010, when I took a job requiring me to work from home. My mind and body quickly gave out on me that fall and I eventually sought treatment in December. After treatment, the office transformed into the bright and colorful business of Dazzle Designs. But eventually my office would find its true purpose. Southern Smash. It will forever be the place where I realized my destiny and began my life mission. As I looked around one last time, I couldn’t help but smile thinking of the room’s incredible evolution. I look around one last time, said goodbye and closed the door.
I then moved to the nursery, my sweet Manning’s room. To me, the room has no other memories because nothing can compare to the joy and blissful moments that took place within its four cream colored walls. I’ll never forget taking Manning’s baby bedding out from the box the day it arrived. My eyes welled with tears of joy as I touched the toile patterned fabric. It was the moment I had waited and worked towards for so long. I was soon to be a mom, a healthy mom, and I was finally decorating my baby’s nursery. That simple moment still stands today as one of my favorite recovery memories. And words cannot do justice to how I feel about the first room where my baby laid his sweet head and the simple crib that kept him safe in his first year of life. There are no words. I said goodbye and closed the door.
Next, I found myself standing in the den, which opens up to the kitchen and dining area. What fun times we had here. From football games to birthday parties to random Tuesday nights with friends and family, these walls have seen it all. I laughed thinking back to all of our ‘morning afters’ when we were forced to clean up and yes, even wipe wine handprints off the walls after those really rowdy nights (It should be noted the frequency of those nights seriously declined after becoming parents). Of course, there are the not-so-fun memories that linger in these rooms, as well. Forever emblazoned in my mind is that Wednesday afternoon my best friend came over. She handed me the phone and sat next to me as I made my first call to seek professional help. I sat in a tight ball, knees under my chin as my shaky hand dialed the number. It was also in that kitchen where I kissed my beloved puppies goodbye that early December morning I left for treatment. A memory that still chokes me up. But above all else, it is the happy visions I remember the most. Watching my son take his first steps in our den and even those panic moments of me leaping across the room as he attempted to head dive off the couch onto our bulldog, Lilly. In the end, the good memories far outnumbered the bad. I smiled and said goodbye.
Lastly, I said goodbye to a seemingly insignificant room, my closet. Before recovery, my closet was my secret hideaway. I spent countless hours curled up on its floor, praying that God would just let me dissolve into the carpet below. My closet held secrets not even my therapists knew of. To this day, I shutter thinking back to those fetal position moments and the feelings of hopelessness. Back then, recovery was this foreign concept. I could not see a life outside my closet door because to me, my only way out was to disappear. With time and work towards recovery, my closet became the place of my rebirth. The place where I eventually stood up and took every piece of clothing off its hanger one by one. The clothes were dripping in ED memories, each labeled with tags of fat or skinny, sad or happy. My clothes did not match who I was discovering within. So out they went, never to be seen again. And off I went on a mission to fill my closet with clothes that were ME! And oh what fun that was…and is. Recovery is not only about becoming healthy, it is about discovering who you are in every way. Favorite colors, movies, music and yes, even your style. That closet not only saw the changing of fashion seasons, it observed the awesomeness that is recovery and personal growth. I rose up from that closet floor and rediscovered a part of me that was missing for so long. As I held the doorknob in my hand and looked around one last time, silent tears streamed down my face. I muttered a soft goodbye and closed the door.
Leading up to moving day, I kept trying to process why I was feeling such intense emotions about this move. Then it hit me as I silently walked out of the house on that final day. This was not just our ‘first home’ or the place we brought home our son. It was the place where I found hope and joy in life once again. I moved into that home hoping it would magically heal me, just as I had with every other life event before treatment. I always thought if I could get this job or move here or there, then I would be ‘healed’. Until this recent move, I had always credited my time at the Carolina House as the place I found hope. And while it certainly planted the seed of hope, it was back home where I truly realized and felt its full potential. It was on that street of Pinebrook where I took that seed, nurtured it and watched it blossom into the extraordinary life I have today. Today, I know that recovery and healing does not just appear with a life shift. Rather, you make that choice to work towards health and recovery and little by little you discover joy and find hope along the way. Hope doesn’t reside in a single place or house. Hope is portable. It lives inside you and you move it with you wherever you go.
And for your viewing pleasure, a peak into our Cajun moving day and the madness that ensued…