24 May, 2010

Deciding how to feel

This morning I wrote this as my Facebook status:
"Wendy has seven weeks today until we fly. Five weeks until we move out of our wonderful house. About eight weeks until we move into our new house in Tokyo. And three boys who can't wait to get going. I don't know how to feel."
 People around us are having emotional reactions too, usually
"Oh wow, the time has flown" or
"Oh no, we haven't seen you (enough) - what are we going to do?" 
Then they ask,
"How do you feel?"
And I think, Oh dear, I have no idea. And then flounder around trying to say something that is remotely resembling my inner state.

If I mention that our boys are anxious to go back, people often respond, "That's great."

Well, yes and no. It is good that we are not dragging them kicking and screaming back to Japan. But their joy are returning has peaked quite early. "Why can't we go now?" is one of the cries we've heard one too many times. It is hard to maintain that level of excitement. We also have the experience to know that they'll miss Australia after they leave - so why not enjoy it while we're here rather than whinging about wanting to leave. A hard concept to get across, to be sure.

I myself am struggling as I say goodbye slowly and painfully to people and daily life here. A young couple who've spent time overseas on a short-term missions trip were very surprised to hear this - that I wander the library, shopping centre, grocery store and streets thinking, "This'll be all gone soon. I have to savour it and mourn it." Morbid, I know, but it is what is happening for me at the moment.

I will be okay once I get there, it is just the leaving that is painful. Dealing with change was never one of my finer points. Discerning my emotions and expressing them is one of my better abilities, but expressing what is going on now is challenging even me.

Image courtesy of www.aperfectworld.org


Catherine said...

It must be a really distinctive kind of grief - I can understand that it must be really hard to put into words.

I wonder what things from your time in Australia this past year will stick in your childrens' minds in years to come?

Wendy said...

I'm glad you wrote that, Cath. I was a little nervous describing it as "grief" knowing that it was totally different to the sort of grief your family has endured. I didn't want to be disrespectful to those who've gone through the gut-wrenching loss of someone very close to them.

This grief is more like what you experience when you leave a job, home or place that you love - except that it is all that wrapped up together plus more.

Your second question intrigues me too, but we are too close to this year to answer it yet.