It took a couple of hours to load up and a whopping 90 minutes to unload the moving truck, get my bedroom set-up and all the boxes upstairs for me to unload at my convenience. Let’s face it…no one likes to move, no one likes to help someone else move! Packing can be a cathartic experience, but the moment of truth presents itself all too quickly when it’s time to find room for all that stuff! Thank God for friends, family and a church community who is willing to be there…even when you’re moving!

My parents and I drove down to Southern California last Wednesday afternoon. In tow was my 3-yr-old nephew, Cyrus who thought it would be entertaining to grab my hand, twist my fingers in all different directions and laugh hysterically when I said, “Ouch! You’re hurting me!” In need of a break, I would remove my hand from his intense grip, only to be met with the most adorable, pouty face as he exclaimed, “No Aunt Kewie, I want to play wif you!” Who can say no to that? So after a grueling 30 minutes passed and there was no life left in my digits, I succumbed to bribing him with part of an apple fritter (so what if that tastes really good to me right now? A girl deserves a donut after having some taste bud trouble, right?) Afterall, isn’t that the role of an aunt…to persuade through the use of inanimate objects in order to receive the desired behavior? Anywho…I digress.

We spent the first night at my sister’s and then the next with my brother and his family. Even though we’d all been together for Christmas, it felt like the time went by much too quickly and when Friday morning arrived, we headed for Anaheim to collect my belongings.

The moving van was an adventure in itself. The manager at Budget, although sitting directly at the counter in the full line of sight of all customers just couldn’t be bothered to look away from her romance novel long enough to offer her assistance, so the task was left up to the mediocre clerk who acted as if answering questions would be the end of his existence. A quick walk around the truck presented with a lovely spray of gang tagging on the side. My father drove the truck to our first location and it took all of two seconds when I walked up to the door to smell that the cabin was wreaking of leftover cigarette toxins from the previous renter…despite the very clearly labeled sign in the office that promised a $250 fine for smoking in one of the Budget fleet. Not the best combination for a girl recovering from cancer and her father who suffers from severe asthma. Calls to both the manager and then customer service did nothing to alleviate my concerns and both representatives assured me that they didn’t really care about my discomfort nor the fact that there was graffiti sprawled across their company logo. They agreed that the fine for smoking only applied to their cars and not their trucks. They also admitted that there was nowhere in the reservation process that this was explained. I was directed to take it up with the manager when I returned my truck in Sacramento on Saturday. The return manager was incredible, although ironically he would have charged me $250 for the smell of smoke in the cabin had I not explained ahead of time the issue. He firmly follows the fine for smoking and disagreed with the other manager but said he couldn’t do anything about it on his end…that the compensation had to come from the original manager. Hello rabbit trail…may I chase you? Needless to say, after one final conversation to customer service, they credited my account $60 for my trouble. Not the world’s greatest accomplishment, but a small victory for truck renters everywhere!

Monday and Tuesday I spent clearing a few boxes, here and there, but it became obvious rather quickly that the number of things I still had left to find a home for just wasn’t realistic to the amount of space that remained. So that’s when it happened…Wednesday…”D-Day!” DE-CLUTTER DAY! I began ripping open boxes…and I sorted. I made a throw away pile, a give away pile and a no, I cannot get rid of that pile! I took a trip down memory lane as I came across mementos from my childhood…clippings of the articles I wrote for my high school paper, spirit buttons from Friday night football, a gavel I received for being Senior Class President…I collected 5 boxes worth of clothes and other items and donated them to my nearest thrift store.

While I still have a few boxes left to sort, last night I felt this overwhelming sense of calm, a sense of direction, a sense of clean…not physically because there was less junk in the house, but emotionally clean. This feeling that in the past 12 months, I have truly come full circle. Not only have I experienced the de-clutter of things in my life, but I’ve worked really hard at getting rid of the mental and emotional clutter that I had allowed myself to be paralyzed by…the things that kept me up worrying at night…the past choices that continued to haunt me…the regrets of pain I caused others…the wounds never quite healed. I am learning to forgive others and in the process I am learning how to forgive myself.

That’s when it struck me. D-Day. Deliverance Day.


Moving Day…Again

“Moving on, is a simple thing, what it leaves behind is hard.” Although not my usual source for finding uplifting quotes, Dave Mustaine, the founder and lead vocalist for the band, Megadeath (and the creator of this statement) may have just gotten it right. I’ve moved a total of 20 times in my life…19 of those since leaving my parent’s home for college at the ripe old age of eighteen. I’ve lived with a total of 23 roommates (college was a blur of constant adjustment), resided in 5 cities, 2 states and 2 countries, and each time, I may have just left a little part of me behind.

Up until my mid-20’s, I had this overwhelming urge to be anywhere but where I was at any given time. I loved the excitement of a new location, starting fresh with a new attitude and clean slate…the smell of new paint and professionally cleaned carpets…exploring an unknown neighborhood and making it my own…until the next time the bug hit me, and I felt the familiar ants-in-my-pants sensation strike yet again! By the time I was 27, I was over it and ready to call one place home. Life had other plans; however, and I moved a few more times after that. This last big move, though, did a number on me!

An unfortunate victim of the rapidly declining economy, I was laid off at my job in Sacramento in November last year and found employment in Southern California. Not 2 1/2 months later I left all my worldly possessions and traveled back to Northern California to move in with my parents in order to tackle treatment for the cancer. In September, after completing treatment, I moved out of my parent’s home and in with a good friend from church. My current living situation is more than I could’ve hoped for! We get along great…our schedules are just opposite enough to give us some independence but provide us with time to catch up on the events of the day. We’re both laid back enough to not care about the little things, but we have a solid communication that eases us through the bigger issues. She was there for me when I was at my worst and provided me with a change of scenery when I needed a break from my reality. We laugh a lot (mostly at ourselves), we cry together (at silly girl movies) and we are learning from each other’s areas of expertise (Danielle played professional basketball and now trains others and I, well I’ve introduced her to a culture mixed with sappy wedding shows and psychotic thrillers). The best part, though is our mutual love for God and the relationship of accountability we have established.

Last week I was offered a job at my old agency back in Southern California. As of New Years day I received my final payment from disability insurance and the offer of employment couldn’t have come at a better time. All except for the fact that I was oddly devastated at the idea of relocating again. I’m the type that pulls myself up by my boot straps when needed so this overwhelming sense of sadness was quite unsettling. After seeking the counsel of several close friends and family, all whom provided me with different opinions and left me more confused than before, I decided to contact the social worker from my Oncology office in hopes she could shed a little light on the situation.

Apparently I’m still recovering. Apparently there is quite a huge bereavement road I’ve yet to walk. Apparently I took a proverbial nap for the past 11 months and am just now starting to wake up to a whole new reality, a new body…a new me. Apparently I’m not dealing with that as well as I would like to think I am. Apparently while I no longer look sick, my body still needs to do some healing. Apparently if I leave my support system and treatment team and start a new job that has a high level of stress, I may run the risk of putting that necessary healing on hold. Apparently the Oncology Social Worker is a lot smarter than I am! I took her professional advice, opted against financial security and chose to take care of me. Apparently I need to do more of that.

With each past move, I left a little piece of me behind…memories, good and bad; a piece of my heart with every goodbye and a little dash of hope that this would be the final destination. With each move; however, I also took a little something with me…lessons learned; lifelong friendships and a peace that God was with me every undefined step of the way! This weekend I will travel to Southern California to pack up my belongings, clean out my storage and make the long journey back home. And maybe, just maybe, Sacramento will hold onto me for good.

My roomie and me