I guess I mean that in both senses of the word.
Even though just the other day I was writing about how my departure from Atlanta feels more like a gradual dissolve than an abrupt transition, today things felt pretty real.
This morning my oldest son and I loaded up the van with as much furniture as it would hold–things that we could use in our home for the next year–plus several more boxes, all of our coats and jackets, and all of my clothes. Then he and I moved just about the last remaining large pieces of furniture into the pod, plus a few more small items.
Shortly after lunch, my wife loaded the kids into the car and drove down to see her parents. I puttered around for a bit, packing a few more things into the van and taking care of a minor chore in the house. Then I got in the van and headed north.
And that’s when it really hit me. I’m really leaving.
I had a wave of sadness come over me. Sure, I am very excited about our move. But as I started to head out of the city, I started to think about the people I would be seeing far less frequently. It’s not “goodbye” by any means–but there’s going to be a much bigger gap between “see you later” and “how have you been.” Sure, I will see some of the people I will miss the most in just a few more days when I come back to Atlanta–but today, I felt the loss of having these important people in my daily life.
To complicate matters even more: my wife called me from her parent’s house this evening to tell me that her father is doing very poorly right now. Given his condition, he could pass away if not in days, than in a matter of weeks. Needless to say, she is torn: there is still more work to be done over the next few days, but obviously she also needs to be with her father and her mother right now.
All of this has made our transition seem more complicated… and more final. It is also a forceful reminder that as this period of change realizes over the next few weeks and months, at some point the only power we will have to affect that change is: to remain open to what it brings–good or bad, joyful or heartbreaking– and to be attentive to the process as it unfolds.
So I’m up in the mountains now, writing this entry. It’s a beautiful, quiet night. I ate my dinner out on the porch, taking in the quiet and enjoying the cool breeze. And I’m thinking about my wife, and her father. And I’m thinking about my friends. And I’m thinking about all the new firsts that will start for me tomorrow when I arrive on campus for my first official day.
I suppose that’s as real as it gets.