Letting Go of the Past
When I decided to move from my longtime home of Los Angeles to New York, there is one huge detail that I didn’t take into consideration. It was that I wasn’t just moving out of my apartment with years of memories, but the memories were attached to my late husband. I couldn’t wait to leave the apartment and start over, but before I had the ability to let go, I had to face the past. I left New York on the afternoon of January 30 and arrived back in Los Angeles that night. For the next two weeks, I went room-to-room, going through things that I hadn’t touched since Guy died. Paperwork, photos, notes, cards, keepsakes, and many other random items were sprawled on the floor in our old office that had been converted to my bedroom. I had to make a decision: what to keep, what to donate, and what to trash. It was excruciating.
Ever since Guy was gone, I periodically went through his things, ridding myself of a lot. Each time I did this, I emotionally prepared myself for it and only attempted it when I knew that I was ready. This time, sitting in that office, I didn’t have the luxury of waiting until I was ready. I had to cut the wound open right then and there, whether my heart was prepared or not. A few days before, I had just been hired for a job in New York and they wanted me to start on February 17. I had 16 days to move everything, including those things I was avoiding. I started with the hardest things to face: boxes of his most personal pictures and other memories. They were shoved to the back of my closet. I told myself that one day I would go through them. That "one day" was here. I went through them one by one, taking deep breaths in between. Some boxes ended up to be nothing, and others were exactly what I expected, and just as hard as I thought they would be to go through.
I spent each day I had in Los Angeles organizing, packing, reserving movers, scheduling appointments, and taking care of all the details that go into a cross-country move. My roommate helped me through a lot of it, both the moving and the emotional toll that it took. I know that during that time, Guy was helping me and bringing people into my life to help me get through it because he knew that I couldn’t do it on my own. During this time, something happened that surprised me. The more that I got rid of things, the freer I felt. It was an indication that I needed to let go of my past to embrace my present. Los Angeles was slowly becoming my previous life, and New York was my present. I couldn’t fully embrace what was to come until I said goodbye to what was. This meant letting go of objects that had no significance to me anymore. I had to accept that getting rid of Guy’s things was not ridding myself of him because he is always with me. This was a healing and freeing realization that strengthened me and made me more ready for New York. I wouldn’t realize how much it helped me until a few weeks later when I was in New York and drew upon that strength to help me succeed.
The two-week interval between Los Angeles and New York wasn’t only spent moving. I had a dance show to prepare for and friends to spend time with. I spent time in dance practice and going out with my closest friends, including my roommate. We went dancing, hiking, and sightseeing. My roommate and I enjoyed many nights talking on the balcony of our apartment and having the last conversations that we would have as roommates. It was fun but bittersweet. I knew that I was the luckiest person in the world to have the friends I did, and I didn’t look forward to the day I would say goodbye. The weekend before my moving date, I hosted a farewell party with my friend. Old and current friends showed up and we had a great time. We had a lot of food, drinks, and laughs. After singing “Happy Birthday” to my friend and co-host, my friends surprised me and shared what I meant to them over the years. It was truly touching and meant a lot to me. It reminded me of all of the wonderful memories that I made over the years in Los Angeles, and the amazing people I discovered along the way. When the party ended, I knew I was ready to go to New York. I would take those people with me and our memories would be my guide as I embarked on a new journey in what was to become my city.