Sunday, November 30, 2008

Saying Goodbye

Erin D, Cath and Sami, Erin B, Leigh and Henry

Amid lots of teary farewells, a few bursts of sobbing, packing boxes, and watching the movers most efficiently empty our house, I had little time to process the many emotions I felt. Now that we are here in Salt Lake, I am beginning to decompress - trying to make sense of all that has happened this last whirlwind of a week.

Last Sunday we spoke in Church to the congregation (or "Ward" in LDS terms) we have come to love so very much. Both Doug and I struggled to maintain composure as we expressed gratitude for the many kindnesses shown to our family. I will post some of our remarks later so you can read a bit of what we said and why it breaks our hearts to leave our Virginia family (which includes our friends within and without our church).

Sunday evening, treasured friends of ours, Scot and Maurine Proctor, hosted an Open House for our family so we could say goodbye to friends from our Ward. We enjoyed every minute we had to visit with many of you, hug and express thanks, and wish you well. Scot sang two beautiful numbers, written by John Denver - "Friends with You" and "Around and Around". It was so tender. Thank you Scot, Maurine, Michaela, Truman, and Andy for a lovely evening. We will remember it always.

With the Bennion Family

Doug with Steve Johnson and Scot Proctor - the other men he served with during his time in the Bishopric of the Fairfax Ward

Monday, Doug's mother, Renae, accompanied me and the girls for some last minute visits and errands while the packers boxed up every room of the house. Monday afternoon and evening were filled with a few more visitors, a trip to Merchant's Tire and Auto because the power steering went out on Doug's car, and one last night's sleep in our Latney Road home. By Tuesday morning 7AM, the moving truck was there and the movers were anxious to get to work. The girls were glued to the window (see above) watching the movers carry several boxes at a time into the truck. The team of movers worked hard and were done by 1PM.

Eliza and her friend Ben got to honk the diesel horn on the moving truck before it pulled away. A startlingly LOUD experience but they seemed to enjoy it.

With Angie

With the house empty and a plane to catch, we loaded our bags into the car, huddled for one last picture in front of our home, then piled into the Odyssey to head for Baltimore's airport. We were unexpectedly rear-ended on 495. Thankfully, damage was minimal, but it was a delay we didn't need. Traffic was sketchy. And we barely made our flight thanks to some divine parting of waters in the form of decreased airline passengers, streamlined security, and a visitors' pass for Doug so he could hurry with us carrying one car seat in each arm. We rolled into Salt Lake City around 10PM EST, almost bumped into Mitt and Ann Romney at baggage claim (I smiled but didn't say anything - although I wanted to. My Dad, however, did. "Sure wish you were President" he said to the Governor as we were pulling away. Romney's response with a laugh was, "So do I".)

Finally, by 11PM MT, I put the girls to bed at my parents' house and crashed onto the couch. It was an eventful few days. (Renae - thank you for being "Super Grandma" and getting us through this whole experience . You deserve a Purple Heart!)

Doug and his Dad stayed an extra day to paint, clean, and get the house ready for our renters. (Thank you Jim for all your work. Doug couldn't have done it without you!) They drove into Salt Lake via I-80 Saturday afternoon to find three girls anxiously watching out the window calling "Dadda! Dadda!" as our car whizzed up the street.

Doug offered the most telling insight when we spoke Wednesday on the phone. He thought it was going to be nice to have an extra day to say goodbyes and take care of things in the house. But he likened being in our empty home to going to a funeral viewing - when you see the person you love and you know they simply are not there. Once we left, and our things were gone, Doug couldn't stand to be in the home. It was sad, lonely, and empty. We weren't there. And the life was gone. What he said reminded me of a quote my Mom has on a little plaque in her bathroom. "It's not the home I love, but the life lived there."

This has comforted me as I remember our little family will be alright, as long as we are together. Home for me, is where Doug and my girls are. And no matter where we are - you (our Virginia friends) will remain a part of our life. You will be here with us - always.

It was wonderful seeing as many of you as we could before we left. Unfortunately, I didn't have the presence of mind to snap photos of all of you. And some of you we were unable to see, but we want you to know we love you and remain grateful for your influence in our lives.

"Friends, I will remember you
Think of you, pray for you
And when another day is through
I'll still be friends with you"
- John Denver

At dinner with Rosemary and Pat

Pizza Night with the Benstens

1 comment:

  1. You know, while we were living in CT I thought about moving back to Utah all the time-I didn't realize how great I had it out there. Now that we're back here, I think about moving back to CT all the time. It is amazing the bonds you make when you're living away from family, I really miss my CT family and think about them ALL the time. I hope you guys are happy out here and that you get to see some your VA family often!


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