Empty, my house is empty. Actually, as of yesterday, it’s not even my house anymore. It’s someone else’s house, and soon it will be full again, with their furniture, pictures, and knickknacks, with their laughter and music. This is the third time I’ve left a house behind, and I thought it would be easy. I only lived in this house for two years before heading off to college, and sporadically after that. But, what I realized, as I packed boxes and watched the movers carry out every last item, was that this might be the toughest house to leave.
The house itself was nice, with plenty of space, but it’s not the physical structure that I’ll miss. Every room, even when empty, was full of memories. That house played host to many a sleepover, birthday celebration and Israel trip meeting. It was where Rob and I first said, “I love you,” where we toasted our engagement with family and friends, where I studied for my road test and AP exams. But, it wasn’t all good memories there. It was at the kitchen table that my parents told me they were getting separated. The living room held a minyan to mourn the passings of each of three grandparents. Many times, I sat on the carpeted floors to nurse a broken heart, or stared at myself in the mirror trying to feel beautiful.
Closing the door on each empty room was symbolic of the significance this move has in our lives. It’s about a fresh start, moving on, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. As I watched my mom cry while we took the mezuzah off of the front door, and fought back tears myself, I was reminded that we’re moving on as a broken family. Something I never, ever thought we would be. The irrational part of me wanted to open all the doors and put everything back in its place, thinking maybe this would make things right. But, in reality I know that will never happen. The past few years have taught me that I’m stronger than I realized. I’ve also learned that it takes a while to heal. Sometimes life hands you lemons. Even if you take the high road and choose to make lemonade, it might taste a little sour at first. But, you’ll find the sweetness eventually.