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The Yin and Yang of Saying Goodbye


This time next week I will have said goodbye to my home in the Texas Hill Country and driven through the gate for the last time. Right now I’m okay, but when I think of the goodbye gathering my neighbors are having for me, I remember the people, the memories, the what might have beens…

How do you say goodbye to the best of times and the worst of times?

Tomorrow I’m going to scatter James’s ashes in the canyon. The same canyon where his Comanche ancestors drew water and nourishment and stored meat in the cool recesses of the limestone caves. We lived and loved well, here, and the Little House and the land loved us in return. They provided us with a life more blessed than either of us had known before.

Sam and Molly don’t know it yet, but they’re going to miss the freedom of their yard. For the foreseeable future, they’ll be tethered to me and a leash at our new apartment. I already feel bad for them. Today I watched as Sam barked at the hawk overhead, outraged that he’d ignored Sam’s warnings to steer clear of his yard.

I’m going to miss the squirrels, scampering across my 100-year-old tin roof. Squirrels are such joyous creatures. I think their sole purpose in life is to have fun. They’ve stashed their acorns in the plants on my porch. What if they’re counting on these acorns to see them through the winter? I worry that if I leave them in a corner of the porch, the new owners will sweep them away.

Then there’s the water tank I keep for the wildlife: the Black Buck Antelope, the White Tail and Axis deer and the squirrels. What if the new owners don’t keep it filled with fresh water? I hope they aren’t like the raccoon who removed my wire ladder and caused three squirrels to drown. I wired the next ladder to the fence behind the tank. I’m trying to resist the urge to leave the new owners a note.

I’m going to miss the grove of Post Oak trees… not just because it’s sacred, the place where James died, but because the view is spectacular. If the new owners build a home there, I hope they protect the drip line of the trees from construction and heavy machinery driving over their root system. Post Oaks are a lot like Ficus trees: They’re a bit sensitive.

This land has been here since time began and will be here until God sees fit to end it all, so who am I to think the land and the wildlife will struggle without me? The real question is how will I—and my dogs—fair without them? There is magic here. I hope the new owners know how to be still long enough to feel it and be guided by it.

Today when I meditated, I imagined a bright white light had formed a tent around me, illuminating everything with exquisite brightness. The light searched out the dark places where my pain and disappointment are stored and then sent a powerful charge of energy straight into my heart.

I have a sense that something wonderful will happen. This will be yet another adventure, and I’m moving forward with expectancy and excitement.

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18 thoughts on “The Yin and Yang of Saying Goodbye”

  1. What a beautiful tribute. My sister lives in Austin so I have seen a little of the countryside that you’re describing, and I can just see it all again reading this. Must get out there again one of these years, it’s been far too long!

    I hope the new owners are as good to the land and the creatures on it as you were.

    • Thank you, Bonnie. I’m in Austin all the time. I like Austin, but this part of Texas is better for nourishing my soul and my spirit. Brenda

  2. So beautifully written, this brought tears to my eyes. But, I am hopeful for your next adventure, Brenda. It is so hard to say good-bye to a big part of your life, I understand it very well, but I know you will move on to an exciting new chapter still holding the good memories of this special place.

    • Thank you, Barbara! I always love it when you’ve left me a note. Even though I’m moving back to the 7th largest city in the United States, I hope it won’t be for long, and I’m able to return to a quieter way of life… yet not in the middle of nowhere. xoxox, Brenda

  3. As you venture off into a new adventure in your life, thought you might like this poem.

    To laugh is to risk appearing the fool
    To weep is to risk appearing sentimental
    To reach out for another is to risk involvement
    To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self
    To place your ideas, your dreams before the crowd is to risk their loss
    To love is to risk not being loved in return
    To live is to risk dying
    To hope is to risk despair
    To try is to risk failure
    But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing
    The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing and is nothing
    They may avoid suffering and sorrow, but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live
    Chained by their certitude’s, they are a slave, they have forfeited their freedom
    Only a person who risks is free.
    – Author Unknown

    • Oh, Ali! I’m a puddle on the floor after reading this… Thank you. According to this poem, I must be as free as the wind. xoxox, B

  4. So beautiful. I’m trying to type but my tears are making things difficult. I admire your strength, Brenda. I believe that wonderful things really will happen for you as a result of your move and your willingness to embrace change and create a fresh, new chapter for yourself. Sending you much love for the week ahead, I’ll be thinking of you and just wish I could ‘pop over’ and help you move! Essie xx

  5. Dearest Brenda….having had the privilege of the joy of your cozy little nest and seeing the land you and James loved, I am surprised that you are leaving….I never thought you would. Where are you going, friend? Please don’t lose touch with me…I have enjoyed seeing you morph and change and grow and struggle….and have known what you have been through. Love you, sweet lady….

    • Hi My Darling Friend,
      I’m so glad I got to share this place with you. You’ve been ahead of me on your journey of moving on, and I can see why you’re surprised I’m leaving. It’s time. I first wrote about it in August, then in my blog a few weeks ago. My little voice told me to sell, so that’s what I did. In a few days I’ll be moving to an apartment in San Antonio, with plans to build a garden home in the Hill Country at some point this year. There’s no way I want to live in SA forever. It’s just a temporary move.

      Loved seeing the photo of you and your grandchildren on FB! Thanks for sharing!

      Love you, my friend,

  6. A year ago my husband and I moved from our home on the bluff in north San Diego county. We watched hawks train their young to fly from their nest in the grand tree on the hill. Possums visit our yard tearing up the soil for all sort of bugs. Golden finches covering the feeder picking thistle seeds. The California quail and their babies dining on seed fallen from the feeder above. The mother mourning dove in her nest above the entry, safe and dry from winter rains. And yes, the squirrels scampering through the flower beds and tomato vines with full cheeks. Tearing off when my little Yorkies came out to play chase. I too worried about the new owners and their need to keep this managerie happy. Unfortunately the buyers turned out to be investors and turned my home into a rental.
    A leaving behind is sad. But in my new cottage, I have bunnies that trim my grass. Hummingbirds that spar over the feeder and a new pair of hawks soaring over the pine trees in our community park. I miss the “old crowd” on the bluff but have found new comfort with the new creatures that welcome me at the back door. You will have it too, wherever you live. You are a caregiver and the wild things know it. Good luck on your new adventure.

    • Thank you, Holly, for the encouragement and the affirmation that there will be new and good things and creatures in my next adventure. I’m glad you found that as well. Thanks for telling me. I know I’m making the right decision, but there is some sadness these last few days… Brenda

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