Two years ago, my family and I loaded up a big moving truck, packed our van with suitcases, snacks, and maps, and headed from Boise, Idaho to Bath, New York. It was the second time we’d made the trip. Dave and I met and married in Boise. Our son was born there. We moved to New York in 2001, added a daughter, and thought we were done moving. We hadn’t really planned to return to the West after our first move to New York, but my mom was diagnosed with Leukemia, and the annual trips home weren’t enough, so we moved to Reno so that I could go to grad school. We thought Reno would be close enough, but when I started flying from Reno to Boise every week to help care for her, we knew we had to be back in Boise.
Boise had been home for a long time. Two of my stepchildren and one of my birth children had been born there (the middle three were born in Boise – our oldest had been born in Germany while his parents were stationed there with the Air Force; our youngest was born in New York). I had graduated from high school in Boise and had been raised there for most of my life.
Being there to care for my mom was necessary and we were grateful to have a short amount of time with her before she passed away. Returning to New York didn’t seem to be in the cards – I was working in the corporate world, my husband was finishing his undergrad program, and the twins were in high school and did NOT want to move again. My stepdaughter even thought, since her biological mother had moved back to the area as well, that there might be a chance she could further her relationship with her mom.
When we left two years ago, however, there was no looking back. No regrets. I miss my mom, but staying in Boise to visit her niche at the crematorium wasn’t appealing. Unfortunately, there was no looking back for my stepdaughter, Kira, either. Where she once felt guilty leaving her biological mom behind, she now only feels sadness at what could have been. She once blamed herself for everything that didn’t work with her biological mother; she now feels pity for a woman who has demonstrated an ongoing incapacity for being a mom to her own children.
Kira is embarking on her own adventure. She is going to college, dating, building a life for herself. She had hopes of having built a relationship with her mom before she left, but all of her efforts were rebuffed. She goes forward, knowing she has the support of her dad and me, but just as I carry a pain in my heart over the loss of my mom, Kira is grieving the reality of the loss of hers as well.