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What you left behind

Old house
Photo credit: JJ Foster

When you move geographically, when you immigrate, no one tells you what this really means.

You think of yourself as a safely transplanted shrub: everything you need is going with you, and you will make a home in a new place. Nothing will change. No one tells you that you are pulling up roots, ripping yourself.

You imagine that you are packing everything you need in some infinite suitcase.

But there is a weight limit.

You think of yourself as adding to what you already have. But there is subtraction. Stuff gets left behind.

You left huge chunks of yourself behind. And now you have to grow new limbs and new pieces of our heart. It hurts to grow. It hurts to replace yourself.

When you arrive at your destination, you are so busy setting up in the new place, you don’t check to see what you brought.

And eventually, when you have the time and mental energy to check your attic and your albums, you realize that your life, huge chunks of it, got left behind, never to be reclaimed. What you left behind isn’t waiting for you. It was swept away with time. And so are you.

3 thoughts on “What you left behind”

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