Sunday, April 19, 2020

Goodbye and Good Riddance

For some strange reason I had a memory this morning that was piercing and came from out of nowhere. It was the week of July 4th in 2009 and we visiting Denver for the holiday.

One of our kids was in Germany on an exchange, so it was just 5 of us. Family friends that owned two condos in a high rise in downtown Denver allowed us to use them both. The condos were near the top of the building and each one had patios that had a three sided view of Denver. We could see the city and the 4th of July fireworks from every angle. Each suburb had their own wonderful display and we were able to take them all in....fabulous. I remember I was reading Olive Ketteridge at the time and felt a kind of kinship to the unhappy, close minded protagonist in a way I can't quite put my finger on (or maybe I just don't want to).

On one of the days, we went to a local theme park called Elitch Gardens. It was fine....certainly no Disneyland but then what is as good as Disneyland? At some point in the day, I found myself alone. I was sitting on a bench, tucked in a corner behind a concessions stand. As I sat there, the ever present but contained feelings of loneliness and aloneness bubbled up, threatening to overtake me. How was it possible for a person to be married and have 4 wonderful kids and feel so utterly alone? At that moment, all I wanted to do was to run away, grab my purse and disappear, start over, get a reboot.

 Those feelings came and went, or should I say I shoved them back down, sat on top of them, capped them with a tight lid. It would be a few more years before they would revisit but when they did they came back it was more like a tidal wave and that time I had no power to hold them at bay.

I did get a kind of reboot. Life is so different now but it is good to remember where I've been as long as I don't take up residence.

Have you ever wanted to runaway? Leave your life? Have you ever done it?


  1. I went through a period of sadness and negativity which I didn’t understand. I withdrew for a bit but life keep getting in the way. I started to keep a gratitude journal and it helped a lot. After a few weeks the feelings left and I haven’t looked back since.

    I believe now that the weight of my job got to me and when I changed focus, it changed how I felt.

    You have come a long way, Linda. Memories are reminders of how far we’ve come.

    1. I'm glad it was visit and not taking up of residence.

  2. There was a time when I was married to my first husband that I wanted to run away. I didn't. I chose instead to shut down, go quiet, hide inside my unhappiness. I've never shared this poem before. I wrote it during the down times in the early 1980s. After therapy and the marriage finally ending, I came out of hiding.

    Too much of us doesn’t survive the fires or the drownings
    or the devil’s mandatory workshops.
    When I invited you in,
    I did not know that the doors to my hell
    were slowly being opened.
    I did not know the rooms of my house
    were filling with ghosts.
    I did know how quiet the pain would make me
    Or how far I would run internally to escape.
    Too much of us is caught in the drafty ruins
    Fraught with cold and then scorched by heat.
    We manage to hold on still.
    In each room
    I am hiding.
    When you find me, do not scold.
    I have not been playing hide and seek for fun.
    Never for fun.
    Do not wary of the task
    Please brave the elements with me
    As I am only as far as the farthest corner of
    the furthest room in the house

    1. This is incredibly lovely and heartbreaking.

  3. Yes, I wanted to run away once very badly but did not, of course. I kept soldiering on but then a couple of years later, it all came crashing down anyway. So I did get to start over in revised circumstances, which turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. What I learned is that the desire to run away is a major red flag to take a look at your life and should not be ignored. But at the time I had no clue how to fix things or what to do. I had to wait for life's inevitable bad outcome to do it for me.

    1. Yes yes yes! Options are can be so hard to see when one is in the middle of things.

  4. hell yeah, a few times.

    I DID do it in 1977 when I left everything and moved to the washington dc area. I told no one where I was going. I was trying to escape the abusive parents and a shitty "boyfriend". it took 20 years, but I found out who I REALLY was there.

  5. I wanted to run away so many times, too many to count. I finally did thank goodness.

  6. I think a lot of us have wanted to run away. I know that I have. I'm fine now. But I'm very glad that you, too, got your reboot.

  7. Yup. I left a very dangerous man in a San Diego laundromat. It was 1978 and you could walk into the airport and buy a ticket. I did. I was terrified until we finally taxied down the runway and when we lifted off I started laughing. I'm sure my seatmate thought I was nuts....
    Yes, I escaped. No, I didn't go back.

  8. Have you ever wanted to runaway? Leave your life? Have you ever done it?'
    YES, YES and YES!!! All of the above. I escaped, went back to school, ate one can of tuna for 5 days (dry with a saltine or two) because I was so broke while paying for school to eat at the same time was a luxury. And I left that life, started a new one, in a new city where I knew not one single person. I cried … a lot. When the crying wouldn't stop I saw a therapist. I got stronger and stronger and then I began to kick ass. I liked my new life. But I do remember it and what brought me there and I work very hard to not go back there. I see you.


What do you have to say about that?