I’m moving. Yep…again. There are some who might think I have lost my mind—packing up my entire life to move to a small duplex in Olympia, WA, to a house that I have actually not seen other than a quick glance from the sidewalk. But considering the trajectory of my life these past seventy years, the constant movement from place to place, this is not a crazy decision.
I have lived in grass huts in jungles, old woodsheds, miners’ cabins, beautiful, big custom built homes, funky trailers, single studios with kitchens in the closets and bathrooms down the hall or outside. Where I live seems to matter less that what it is that I am doing where I live. It all lies in the context. Why am I there? The rest is secondary. So long as I have a roof, am warm, and at this stage – have running water and an indoor toilet – I’m good.
I have lived in a beautiful coastal community the last three and a half years because I wanted to work with the dying and this is where the hospice center is. I love it here, and I have loved my job, but…and this is a BIG but… I want to be closer to my family now, my daughter and son in law, and especially my grandchildren.
When my friend died two months ago, suddenly at the age of sixty, I sat deeply with the truth of impermanence. I asked myself what I would regret if I died today. What arose from my heart space, again and again, is that I want to be in my grandchildren’s lives – not just as someone they adore who visits from time to time in their space for a week, but a grandmother who lives down the street. Who can volunteer in their schools and go to their aikido and ballet lessons. Who can bring them into MY space and MY life so they can know who I really am, a woman who has led, and continues to lead, a rich and full life. I want to have picnics on my living room floor, and write and perform plays, have sleep overs, and kids running in and out of the house. I will stock up on peanut butter and jelly and put the air back in my bike tires. I need to be with them now while they are still young enough to want to hang out with an old lady.
I also want to explore the community, which is a gorgeous one. I feel I have more exciting chapters left in my life. No matter where I live I always have my first responder’s bag with me. Who knows what new ways I can offer to the world. My house always has been open to passers by. That will not change.
But first… I leave now to drive inland to the life celebration of my incredible friend who blessed the lives of so many people. “Gather a few friends and have a party when I die.” he wrote. Craig…you don’t have just a few friends! You did this life well and died with such dignity and grace. Now we shall gather and salute you and drink beer and tell stories into the night. Onward.