Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Yep, still talking (and blogging) about leaving North Carolina


Several weeks ago I was talking with a group of women and said something about North Carolina.  One of them gently chided me, telling me essentially that I needed to stop thinking about/comparing/missing North Carolina.  (I kindly and generously did not ask her if she had lived that way during her own traumatic move 25 years ago.)  What I did do was make a little mental note in my head not to mention North Carolina around her anymore.  Just to make my life easier, you know.

Because yes, I’m still talking about North Carolina.  I’m still blogging about it.  I’m still missing it, though not all the time and not so painfully.  I’m still even crying about it every now and then. 

I’m still working through being here instead of in North Carolina.  Sometimes I need to process “this is so different than what I’m used to.”  Sometimes I need to mourn what I’m missing.  Sometimes I need to celebrate something I’m particularly appreciating.  (No cockroaches—YAY!)  My point of reference in almost everything is still: North Carolina.  And why wouldn’t it be?  Seventeen (wonderful) years of (really happy) life are not something you can just turn away and walk away from.  I can’t, anyway.

I had a friend tell me that she had made a vow when she moved never to talk about her old home.  Instead she just told people when they asked that her family was loving their new home.  I really admire that, and I think the people around her probably like her better than the people here like me.  (As well they should, because she is really awesome.) 

But I have found some unexpected benefits of living this experience so openly.  I have found connections with people that never would have surfaced otherwise.  I know people that also have love North Carolina and can rejoice over the idea of a crepe myrtle with me.  (And tell me where to buy one here.)  I have met people who also have had their lives turned around and inside out and have wondered if they would live to tell the tale.  I have been treated with an amazing amount of kindess and compassion, sometimes from surprising sources. 

When my mother died so many years ago it defined me.  She died in January, and when I wrote our family Christmas letter 10 months later that was the first thing that came to my mind to write about.  For a long time I felt like I was Cindy-who’s-mother-has-died.  I knew that healing was happening when I had longer and longer stretches of time when I felt like myself without that layer of grief.

Leaving North Carolina has certainly defined more than the last year of my life.  And while I may not be Cindy-who-moved-and-is-still-struggling-with-it all of the time anymore, I think it will be a while before it’s all done and settled inside of me.  So yeah…I’m still talking about North Carolina.

Because really, who wouldn’t be??

Day 1 saturday (48)


PS—funny story for anyone still reading.  I started my Christmas letter in 1998 “Dear Family and Friends, this year sucked.”

A few days later I got  phone call from my mother’s sister, my Aunt June.  She said to me in her quavery southern voice “I can’t believe that Cynthia’s daughter would use the word ‘sucked’ in a Christmas letter.”

I said “Aunt June, my mother died, didn’t she?”

She agreed that she had indeed died.

I said “Aunt June, that really sucked, didn’t it.”

She agreed that it had sucked.

I said.  “I rest my case.”


  1. I don't think you should ever quit talking about North Carolina. I only spent a few days there and fell in love with it too. Thanks for being so good to us while we were there.

    I also want to tell you that I have moved very few times in my life. Vic and I have lived in the same house for 39 years. We haven't moved,but have been in 4 wards and 3 stakes during that time. Each time ward and stake boundaries have changed, we have felt that same feeling you described. We will always love the friends we met in other wards and hardly ever, if ever, see them now. It is painful to keep on even though we know it is the way things are now and we have to "live with it."

  2. I love that you started your letter that way. Someone asked me recently what I missed about my old home (what a sweet, thoughtful question!), and it surprised me that I said: "my community. the people." and meant it. Because I go around everyday thinking I'm missing crepe myrtles and warm oceans and layers of yellow pollen. But really, it's the people, and, even though I can never replace the friends I left, there are good and wonderful people everywhere. Even in crazy California! Even though they think it's hot when it's 80 degrees!

    Anyway, I am waiting for year point to come and go, bc that's when I turned the corner in Atlanta, and wouldn't that be nice if it happened exactly that way again?;)

  3. I hope you continue to post/talk/cry about it all you want! I have found that people give you very short windows of time to recover from pain. Many people just don't want to hear about the same heartache after a month or two. I'm seeing that first hand with a friend who lost her 18 mo. old son last fall in a drowning accident. Everyone was kind and supportive for a few weeks, but only a few continue to grieve with her and REALLY listen as she continues to suffer.

    I'm someone who needs to talk things out in order to cope with them, and I see how that could be obnoxious to other people when I"m still harping on the same thing.. but TOO BAD! That's just how my mind works!

  4. Thanks, Cindy! Loved the post and love that Katie and Melissa loved it too. Maybe we're all homesick for a Carolina spring. :) Really though, we're all missing what we had in the Durham 2nd ward. It was really something amazing.

    In honor of D2 gals, and because my ward is NOT social, I started a book club(which is SO not something I would normally do). We've had 2 meetings so far and I'm still deciding whether it was such a good idea, because although it helps me get to know the ladies out here, I usually leave missing our Thursday night chats even more. Kim's funny stories, Aimee's sweetness, Becky's smarts, Cindy's experience, Jenny's cupcakes, anything Amy makes, Melissa's political passions, I can keep going....

  5. Boy did I just try to post an AMAZING comment!!! However, the browser window ate it. And while I was typing, I decided, THIS topic probably needs a full blog post on my sleepy blog. So look for a reference you yours at some point!!!

  6. Can I just say how much it hurts to read all the comments from dear friends who have moved away saying that they miss this so, so much? I hate that I'm heading right into it and that there's nothing I can do to stop it from happening. *sigh*

    I hope you won't mind when I call you up to talk about how much I miss it.