Posted by: Chelsea Novak | October 7, 2014

Letting go

As we prepare to move next week, there has been a great deal of purging. While I’ve tried to keep us from being owned by the things we own, you collect a lot of things living somewhere for 11 years. It’s not unlike life. You collect experiences. Some you cherish. Some change you. And sometimes you reach a point where it’s time to let them go.

Today, while sorting through the office, I came across a notebook I purchased in Italy during our honeymoon back in 2006. It was from this amazing paper shop in Venice. When I studied there in 1998, I would visit that shop and lust over the marbled papers. I remember I bought gifts there for my mother and promised myself that I would return there one day when I wasn’t a poor student and buy something nice for myself. I just knew that I would get back there. It was so special to me that I was able to go back there with M and buy something.

Items you buy with meaning always come with pressure. The words I was going to write had to be as remarkable as the paper itself. So for years the pages sat blank. Life was good, but nothing seemed to merit being documented in the beautiful book. Then in the fall of 2010 I fell pregnant and I knew that it was time for ink to meet those pages. For 10 weeks I shared hopes and thoughts. My first lines were about the wonderful significance that I was using that very special book to chronicle this moment in time.

Then entries stopped. And then they started again. Full of heartbreak, grief and rage. Feelings that dominated me for many years to follow. The entries finally stopped as that pregnancy ended in the middle of that November.

I don’t remember putting that book away. I suppose I saved it for a reason. I had forgotten in almost entirely. But today when I found it and began to leaf through the pages, remarking to my best friend, who was with me to help with watching Felix, that I wondered what I had written in there. And we saw the dates from 2010 and both just went “Oh.”

I looked at Felix and thought for a moment. It was time to let those pages go. That experience taught me to many important lessons. How to grieve and make space for sadness. About how resilient I can be and so much insight into how we all cope with loss. That’s baked into my being now. I don’t need to carry words on a page to remember that.

That book is still beautiful. I couldn’t bear to throw it away. Instead a had a lovely moment of catharsis, tearing the pages out and realizing that I’ve moved on. Forever changed, but no longer hindered by the experience. Ready to move to a new home just a little bit lighter. Excited to write new words in that beautiful book.

Today’s sing-a-long song “Moving Through Time” by Angelo Badalamenti


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