You Can’t Go Home Again

Maybe it’s the holidays that are making me a little wistful, but lately I’ve been missing the “good old days” when my family and I lived in the big house on the hill. I miss the summer grass, the big above-ground pool in the backyard, the delicious meals that came from our barbecue. I miss seeing the leaves turn yellow in the fall and watching the woods fill up with snow in the winter. I miss the Easter egg hunts with the grandsons in the spring. And I especially miss the holidays and birthdays with the family gathered in our huge living room, with lights draped over everything that would stand still and good smells coming from the kitchen.

Let’s face it: I miss that life.

So when the opportunity to drive by the old home place presented itself the other day, I gave in to the temptation. I don’t know exactly what I wanted to see, other than a house that was being taken care of and loved by the new occupants the same way I loved it.  Instead, what I saw was almost unbearably sad: a broken-down truck alongside the house…wood slats stacked on the front porch…and worst of all, every single one of my flowering plants had been ripped out. Even my beautiful hydrangeas and the Hot Chocolate tree roses. Gone. As if I had never planted them or spent countless hours nurturing them.

It was all I could do not to burst into tears. There wasn’t a single trace of our family’s existence or the fact that we had lived there for almost 12 years. I can understand why a new family would want to do things their own way, but…ALL of my flowers?

Will was upset as well. He’d put in plenty of time around that house too, and it made him angry to see the beat-up old pickup and the wood out front. We didn’t waste any time driving away from there either. It was just too sad. I almost wish we hadn’t gone there; at least we wouldn’t have had to see our onetime Shangri-La desecrated, as it were. But unfortunately, what has been seen can’t be UNseen, and now I’m left with those disappointing images in my head. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Whoever said “you can’t go home again” was spot on!

So, once again I’m mourning the loss of my old life, the one in which I was productive and able to enjoy the fruits of my labors just by looking around the house and the 2 3/4 acres we lived on. I wish with all my heart I could still work and keep up the lifestyle we had then. But I have to accept the fact that that part of my life is over and it’s not coming back.

Besides, I have a perfectly decent life now. It’s different from the old, and my outlook and expectations have required considerable adjustments, but it’s good in its own way and I’m grateful beyond words for the people who have made it possible. A year ago Will and I faced a cold, joyless Christmas; now we have a pleasure cruise planned (we leave in 2 1/2 days!!) and there are multicolored lights everywhere. My son is an over-the-top decorator like me, and he’s turned the house into a Christmas fantasy land.

This is my reality. I know the “Shangri-La” is not my home anymore and never will be again. But the shock and disappointment are fading, and I think maybe seeing it the way I did may be the key to moving forward.

In the meantime, I’m getting ready for the trip and the next two days are going to be insanely busy, so I’ll say good-bye temporarily until I get back on the 14th. If you’re new to bpnurse, I hope you’ll peruse my old posts, and if you’re an old friend please feel free to re-read them. Gotta keep my stats up!


Published by bpnurse

I'm a retired registered nurse and writer who also happens to be street-rat crazy, if the DSM-IV.....oops, 5---is to be believed. I was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder at the age of 55, and am still sorting through the ashes of the flaming garbage pile that my life had become. Here, I'll share the lumps and bumps of a late-life journey toward sanity.... along with some rants, gripes, sour grapes and good old-fashioned whining from time to time. It's not easy being bipolar in a unipolar world; let's figure it out together.

3 thoughts on “You Can’t Go Home Again

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