As I was growing up, my family moved more than most. Bill and I lived in seven different places during the almost 36 years we were together. This week, I am packing everything to move again, but Bill isn’t here to help or organize.
When I was in the seventh grade, we moved from one small town in South Georgia to another. It was incredibly painful because I had several friends with whom I was very close. Saying goodbye to people you love is difficult at any age. That move was especially hard because, as a new teenager in a new school, replacing those friends seemed impossible. So, I withdrew into myself and became an introverted scholar.
The move that is overwhelming me this week is more excruciating than that one, or the one when I left home, or when I left behind the place I had pastored for 22 years. The pain of this move is mostly because it exacerbates how much I need and miss Bill.
Every photo, every piece of furniture, every piece of paper seems to hold a memory. We are selling the bed where Bill and I slept and where he died the night of my birthday last year. We are selling the chair where he prayed every morning for almost 20 years. His dog Brix made the back of it his special perch. We are selling Bill’s desk and the chair he wore out while doing the job he held for 27 years. The many wine books he collected while he became a sommelier need to go. We are selling the furniture on which our daughters grew up.
This move is supposed to be part of the healing process, but it reminds me that healing is incredibly painful. If it doesn’t kill you, MAYBE you will emerge stronger and healthier. In this case, the verdict is still out.
Bill has been gone almost 10 months. I’m not sure I am any less grief stricken than I was when he died. My heart aches like it will break. I blame my watery eyes and runny nose on allergies, but I think Bill really is to blame. Preaching resurrection while I am still in the tomb feels hypocritical.
Still, I persevere because of the hope that the joy of the gift of our intense unconditional love someday will overwhelm the pain of the loss of his physical presence. My love for him is as strong as ever, but I’m really pissed that he is not here to help me pack.
Rev. Michael Piazza