Julie in Michigan

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

This too shall pass~

I left my home in Michigan just before my 30th birthday. I had been planning the move for six months. I loaded my Ford Mustang with everything I thought I’d need to setup a home for two children and myself. I was heading to Texas for the first time in my life. I’d been reading the classifieds, print at that time, which had been sent to me by my brother who was already there – in Houston. I was going to Dallas. I had interviews ready for my arrival and a friend who had been there for only a few months herself.

I was leaving my Mother and it was breaking her heart that I was going and taking my children with me. She had helped take care of those children since their births as I worked and went to school with hopes of a career in computers.

I don’t know if you watched the HBO series Six Feet Under or not, but it was one of my favorites. All five seasons are available by DVD. Many episodes are memorable and I’ve watched all five seasons from start to finish again in addition to the original. The seasonal finale brought everything to together and as I watched it the first time, my reaction is still the same to watch it today, the tears stream down my face.

The series begins with the death of the father and every episode begins with a death. The family run business is a funeral home which the two sons take over running after their father's passing. The story line includes the arrangements of the deceased and the interactions and relationships of the family as they all live upstairs over the funeral home.

Unlike many televised series, starring members of the family and friends die during the series. They do not disappear from the show, rather we know they are dead and they remain visible at times to various family members and occasionally speak to some.

The series finale features Claire leaving home to pursue a career in New York, as she drives across the desert the future flashes as the next 80 years pass and all members of the family age and die. We all have but a temporary interlude here. The final vision for each is a visual of a loved one who has already gone on to the other side.

I have always identified with Claire in this last episode as I left Michigan 30 years ago, driving for three days to arrive in Dallas where I created a life and career. My children grew and married and created families of their own and now great grandchildren. While I was gone, time passed and many of the loved ones I left behind aged and left this world.

Two years ago I returned to Michigan to bury one of the more significant ones, my ex-husband. I stayed to go through his home and clean up and finish all his worldly business. I found parts of myself that I had left behind that had been treasured by him in those years. I wondered many times as I went through his belongings what my life would have been like if I’d stayed. With great sadness, I knew that for my own personal growth I had made the right decision.

Now, I am in Texas, preparing to leave to go west. Plans were made while I was finishing in Michigan, I’d said good bye for a while to my family there and stopped in Texas to visit my daughter. I thought it would be a short visit but it turned into three months. She and her husband had been having some difficulties and were considering whether to stay together to finish raising their four sons or to split their family now. This place in Texas is well suited for them to complete their job and I think they’ve decided to work it out. My job here is done although I could stay; it’s not a place that’s well suited to me.

A week from Monday I will be packed and heading off on another thousand mile journey across the country to place I’ve never been. Hopes and dreams packed along with my clothes, I’m traveling solo and I know that as I leave to pursue a life in another new city, time will pass; my daughter and her family will grow and go their own ways. I won’t be here to see it. There will be visits but not the same as Sunday get-togethers.

I watched the season finale again today and the tears stream down my eyes as I once again identify with Claire driving across the desert, leaving her family behind, pursuing a new life apart from them, and knowing that those that passed are waiting for me on the other side.

Watch it~

Be ready with your kleenex!

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