Our time in North Carolina was the craziest three and a half years of our lives. I had two jobs, two houses, and two pregnancies. A tree branch smashed one of our cars, and the transmission died in our other car. I experienced anxiety for the first time and saw a therapist for the first time. We found a church that felt like “home”, and I was baptized. I made major career changes. We met great friends. Our beautiful baby girl died, and we brought a memory box home. We grieved and grieved and grieved. We got tattoos. We endured pregnancy after loss, and we brought a beautiful baby boy home. We quarantined and worked from home. We were vaccinated and still didn’t go anywhere. Friends died, and grandparents died. Friends were born, and nephews were born. I started a blog for a couple months and kept writing for over two years. We woke up in the night again and again and again. I nursed around the clock, and Daniel bounced. I got shingles, and Chet got chickenpox. We had so much fun; we laughed a lot. Daniel got a fellowship, grew hundreds of sunflowers, and got a professorship. We baked bread, we broke bread, we served bread, and we ate bread. Then we left.
We buckled our baby boy in the back seat, and carefully placed our memory box in the front seat. And then we left. It was time. That house was feeling very heavy with grief. It was the house Ginny lived and died in. It was where we spent the excruciating hours between her death and birth. It was where we wept. If we were ever away from home for an extended period of time, grief would hit us in the face when we returned. And once the world started reopening, going to places that used to feel like comforts, now felt like triggers. I know returning to that town one day will feel like a tsunami of emotions. So much happened there.
But at the same time, we will miss it. We miss our friends so much already. I’m so grateful for them, and for technology that allows us to stay in touch so easily. We miss our church and our coworkers and my volunteers. We miss meeting up with friends in downtown Durham and some of the very yummy restaurants. I’ll miss the places I grieved the most: the hospital, the arboretum, the library, and most benches around UNC’s campus. Those places feel kind of sacred now. Those places are where I encountered God in new, powerful ways.
A small part of me was terrified to move. Would this mean we are closing the chapter that had Ginny in it? Would we be leaving Ginny behind? Were we “moving on”? Daniel comforted me. “No way! Ginny’s coming with us. She will always be with us,” he said with a smile. Yes, it is time. It is time for a new adventure and the next step.
Auburn feels refreshing. I’m so excited to see what God has for us here!