"...heaven knows what happens now..."
- Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD). 1986.
Well, this feels weird. All of it. I am sitting alone in an expansive hotel suite and room service just delivered me a big chunk of “welcome chocolate” in the shape of an 80’s cassette tape. It’s very cute and you know how I appreciate the music of the 80’s…but it’s weird. Also, it costs $900 to sleep here for a night (NOT so cute) so it’s kind of the least they can do…but that’s not my point. I used to spend so many weekends in fancy hotels…sometimes with Darcy and the kids, sometimes alone or with girlfriends…but tonight I have no idea where I am. It has been a long time. So much has changed. Everything, really. I feel lost.
Allow me to set the scene…
The three o’clock afternoon sun is blazing. Live music is being performed outdoors in front of the hotel and guests are sprawled out on loungers being served cool cocktails and happy hour snacks. Tiny branded napkins blow around in the breeze. There is laughter. There are adorable sundresses and there is celebration. There is excessiveness. But Tara can’t feel any of it. It is not for her, anymore. At least not today. Tara doesn’t even know how to DO this sort of thing anymore. It all feels foreign to her.
Tara pulls her vehicle up alongside two Maseratis and a Lamborghini with a baby seat in it. (Again…cute AND weird…) She valets the car, tips the driver (well) and grabs her own bags.
She hobbles on an injured foot, wearing grubby clothes, into the massive hotel lobby to check in. She feels numb to the scene around her. She has just finished the final cleaning and decluttering and said a final farewell to the home that was meant to be 'forever' and she is grateful for the bathtub that she knows is awaiting her. It was the home where she and Darcy fell in love as they spent their first several years renovating and designing it. It is the home where they struggled to conceive and ultimately were blessed with TWO incredible perfect babies. It is the home where they learned that they were capable of being an extraordinary parenting team to kids with unique needs. It is the home where they hosted parties, navigated challenges, battled their demons and celebrated triumphs - too many to count. It was home. And now it isn’t. Tara is confused. It feels impossible that this "goodbye" could be happening.
As she waits to check in, Tara is pondering this monumental moment of her life when another hotel guest storms through the front entrance. Her energy is big. Too big to not notice. She is greeted by the concierge.
“Welcome back Ms. Whatever! How is your day going?” the hotel concierge asks, genuinely.
“How can you be smiling while you ask me that?! This has been a horrible day! Your concierge service is the worst! We had to wait 20 minutes for the table you booked us and they didn’t even HAVE mimosas on the menu! All I wanted was a mimosa. You promised. Then our uber never came and we had to walk ALL the way back here in the heat. I want drinks in the lounge, NOW. And I am not paying. You have put us through enough,” demands the scowling Ms. Whatever.
Yes, that is chocolate. And gold. This is what 900 clams a night buys ya. #imsofancy
I am in a hotel I have stayed at many times before. I have sat in that lounge, listened to that music, wearing that dress, those heels, drinking those drinks. I am in the city I have called home for almost 25 years, yet I feel completely lost. They say that “everywhere you go…there you are.” But I can’t find myself anywhere. Not here. Not in this environment. What has happened? Where have I gone?
Well, we all know what happened. 21 months ago, today, my husband walked out the back door to catch his breath and get a change of scenery, and he never came back. This very average decision of his tripped a wire that changed the trajectory of my life and since that day I have essentially been holding my breath. Running a race. I have been putting one foot in front of the other, doing my best to steward my children through their grief as I too learn to understand loss and strive to evolve into a higher version of myself as a result of this experience.
Looking back, I remember a vivid realization I had on the night Darcy disappeared. I had never experienced this level of uncertainty before. I always knew where he was. He never wanted to be away from us, so I knew that something was very off. I innately knew I had a choice to make. Frozen in terror, I knew I had to decide who I wanted to become if he never came back…or even if he did. Now that I had experienced this brush with his potential death, I had a new, terrifying, deeper understanding of just how fleeting life was…and so, regardless of the outcome, my life was never going to be the same. I knew that. So…how was I going to live it?
It has been an epic journey trying to figure that out. I have spent almost two years diving deep into understanding my own relationship with the universe – the God of my understanding. I have explored Universal Law and found comfort and acceptance in the idea of soul contracts. I have sat with mediums and gifted channels and felt easily connected to Darcy and my guides. I landed, almost immediately, into a state of acceptance and gratitude that has served me through this painful experience and I have developed a relationship with myself that allows me to trust that all is well. That I have all that I need within me. That I am all that I need to be.
I believe it’s this trust in myself and the universe that has landed me where I sit tonight. In this hotel where I no longer belong. It isn’t relaxing or restorative like I thought it might be. Not tonight. It feels more like a very costly way to kill time between my old life and the one that is about to unfold, but here I am in the space between. It’s uncomfortable but it’s also rich in possibility. Anything can happen and, to be honest, I find that wildly exciting. It’s like I hit “pause” on the cassette player to take a breath between the songs of my life. Like I am passing through a portal from the life that was… to the unknown life that is ahead of me. This hotel is the vortex and all I have packed in my suitcase is the wisdom that has come from this unique experience. I have no idea what life is going to look like moving forward. I don’t know what the climate will be or who will be there with me. I didn’t know what else to bring with me (bikini and flip flops? Cozy sweater and a good book?) but I trust that this new wisdom will be enough. And what I know for sure is that, as fun as it can be sometimes, I do not need a fancy hotel or a “welcome chocolate” to make me feel worthy. I don’t need anyone to promise me a mimosa, or book my uber for me to ensure that I have a great day. I don’t believe that anyone owes me anything because they didn’t deliver perfectly on a promise. Things will go sideways sometimes – they sure went awry for me 21 months ago - but I am completely in control of the choices I make and these days I practice making choices that lead me to joy on the regular… I don’t leave that up to anyone else. That is what brings me security and stability. This is how I FIND myself when I feel lost. I go home to me.
Okay, admittedly, there are worse places to feel lost and in-between.
Being in the home that I built with Darcy has been necessary for our healing. To feel his physical presence in our surroundings was important for a time, but it also comes with a heaviness that has blanketed our lives and smothered us at times. As I develop my relationship with Darcy spiritually – I feel him with me all the time - the physical attachments to him have become increasingly less important. Who he was to us lives on in our memories, our hearts, the stories we tell about him and the laughter that he still generates for us all. He is in our cells and that is enough. It’s different, but he is still with us. We are good.
It is time. Time to feel light again. Time for us to stretch our limbs and emerge from the weight of that grief and so, after almost two years of healing and about a year of dreaming and scheming, the kids and I are finally claiming our change of scenery and stepping forward into the unknown. We have decided it will be magical, and so it is.
The final scene…
Tara walks through the empty spaces of the home she has loved. She talks out loud to Darcy, despite his physical absence, as though they are reminiscing in person. She points out the woodwork that they spent three years restoring, and the spot where Miller met his baby sister, Summer, for the first time. She cries when she vocalizes her memories of Darcy building the bathroom cabinets and teaching the kids to make perogies just like his mom did.
She wanders through all the empty rooms. Eventually she sits on the floor of the empty living room and writes a note of gratitude and congratulations to go with the celebratory wine she has brought for the new owners and then she walks out the front door for the last time. As she turns the key in the lock, she lowers her forehead to meet the front door that she and Darcy painted a deep cabernet red and she asks the house to release all the trauma it has known and bring only the highest vibes and joy to the surface. She prays for peace and she calls in love, abundance and wild new adventures for herself, her children and the new owners too.
No words. That house is built of love. The end.
In television and film-making when the director gets her/his/their final scene shot to their satisfaction, the tradition is for them to “call wrap” and then usually, after the clean-up, there is a party! So, now that our move is complete and the paperwork is signed, I can confidently say “that’s a wrap” on our wildly wonderful life at 1795 East 34th Avenue.
15 years and 2 months later, we are no longer residents of the city of Vancouver. We will be living, playing and continuing to heal with our people on an island in the Pacific and we couldn’t be more excited.
So let’s get to that party…
Because what's a party without cake?!
Til next time…
Heal & Be Healed.