Holiday Mourning

My friends were the last people to see us before we drove away. It wasn’t my family who busted ass with us to move; it was them. Faithful them, loving them. They are beautiful.

When someone comes from a toxic family like mine, good friendships are precious. We spend holidays together, home school together, we plan camping trips, hiking adventures, and cry together. I have great friends in spades, five hundred miles away.


I hit all three goals from last week. My last one, I hit as I rode my bike into town for my session. Coming in sweaty, ever the good student. I completed my tasks. Check.

Settling into her office, Max jumped on my lap. We covered the week’s events, and how I had TWO good weeks in a row.

“You know, the holidays are approaching us”, Jill starts.

“Yeah,” I reply, not giving much thought to it, assuming we would be moving on.

“What were your holidays like in WA?”

I describe to her how idyllic my friendships are. We plan our holidays so we can be together. We coined the term Framily. We are gangsters of friendship.

She replied, “You know, you aren’t going to have those experiences this year. It is only going to be you four”.

Instantly, the tears well up. The pain of leaving my people fills my body, and runs down my cheeks. I fight back the sorrow, but it’s useless. Grabbing a tissue, I have nothing to say except, “You are great at making a girl cry, Jill”.

“My job is to help you see the road ahead, so you aren’t blindsided. I’d like you to start thinking of some new traditions you can include in your holidays. So this time joyous, not lonely. Remember, you still have your friends; you can call on them anytime you need. To start making this place your home, brainstorm on new memories you can create”.

“That will take me awhile”, I blubber through tears and snot. Thinking to myself, I don’t want new fucking traditions, I want my old ones. I want my friends.


What are your favorite traditions, maybe you can help me make new ones.

image(2)On my ride home. My bike was tired, so I walked it up that hill.

The Big Move

I planned on living in my little house forever. We had talked romantically about moving to other parts of the country. We talked fantasy-like, as if a move was like going on a cruise or winning the lottery. This dreamy chatter had sprinkled our marriage for years. In March, it became a real possibility. By June, we were looking at houses in Idaho. Suddenly, The Big Move was a reality. We were really talking to agents, painting, paring down, packing, and shifting.
When I tell you it went fast, I mean effing fast. Father’s Day weekend, we put a contingent offer on a home in Emmett, ID. That gave us from mid-June until September to have our home market ready, offer made, and closed.
We busted ass (along with loads of help from friends), got our home on market July 19th, and accepted an offer three days later.
We shared this home for 11 years. This is where I brought my babies home, learned how to cook, laughed, cried, labored with my children, and made love to my husband. I fought my depression, won, lost, discovered photography, had drinks with friends, and made my first cheesecake. We had dogs, sent them over the Rainbow Bridge, brought home puppies, and with Tim made a life worth being proud of.

The Big Move was exhilarating, scary, mournful, and bittersweet. It was full of painting 16 hour days, tears, panic attacks, conquered projects, and hard work. I got excited, and cried over loss. It was not the fantasy feeling of winning the lottery; it was quite the opposite.

My last night before the trek into the unknown, I had an epiphany. As Jessie and I were driving to the store it occurred to me, “I’ve done all the growing I can here; it is time to move on”. 10465501_10204724162769665_77911946855065404_o