Tuesday, April 18, 2017

#SOL17: Spring Cleaning

Woman with Umbrella (M.A. Reilly 2012)


I have been deep cleaning. Setting to rights this house. The laundry is nearly done. The closets organized. Windows still need to be cleaned. Dust eradicated (for this moment). Furniture polished. I have bundled up and delivered bags of clothing and I want you to know that there's a certain satisfaction in cleaning. And yet, in sweeping so much away, what remains is more noticeable: a hole too deep and raw right now to fill.


My son talked with me last week about resettling in Europe, about investigating taking a gap year, trying his hand at professional e-games (he's ranked professional at this point), and delaying college. As I listened I was well aware that my sense of loss heightened, my unease grew. How wonderful it would be to discuss all of this with Rob. He and I anticipated Devon's leaving and there was solace in knowing that my husband would ache as much as me when our son moved on as he will do. Nonetheless, we would have had one another as we made that transition. We had hoped to semi-retire. Travel. Be.
What do you think your dad would say? I ask Devon.
He'd listen. I think he'd understand wanting to live in Europe, but I don't think he would move. He was American.


With Rob's death, the responsibility to shepard this lovely, young man rests on my shoulders. I want our son to be adventuresome and risk and yet after the last 20 months, I find myself more tentative, less brave in some fundamental ways.

I knew tragic things happened, but I didn't know them like I know my hands, my ribs, my heart. Now, I do. I shared this with Dev explaining that I have grown more hesitant and that it is not what I am advocating, only what I am feeling. I suggested he find out from the admissions officer at the college he plans to attend if a gap year is permitted and to then take it from there.

Life, I want to remind myself, is best lived fully, brilliantly. I have been resettling this week and have room to hold that in mind.


  1. Wishing you the strength to make the decision, somehow, together with your son. -- Christie @ https://wonderingandwondering.wordpress.com/blog/

  2. It feels wonderful that your son feels free to go, Mary Ann. That is a response to your and to Rob's parenting. Although I do not know you well, I do know that some children are often reluctant to fly far from the nest, in any circumstance. And you gave such an honest reply, hesitant because of feelings. Separating the feelings from the rest of what can be is so hard. And there aren't easy answers. Best wishes in helping him follow a path he will love and thrive in, and to you in another goodbye.

  3. I remember, over a year ago when I first happened on your blog, you shared Rob's words to you, "Live brilliantly." In this changing of seasons, I see you doing exactly that. Hugs!

  4. How wonderful that you are at a place when you know how you feel....tentative, raw.....I sense you know that this will shift with time. It is a bittersweet time for us too....our daughter is graduating from Nursing School next month. Her dad was so so very proud of her. Somehow I like to think that both Rob and Jerry are watching us and marveling at how we have grown in spite of the pain.


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