Our move to Slovenia was looming ever closer. By late summer of 2002, we had raised our needed support and we focused on getting our house ready to sell. Garage sales ensued; the parting of many things once held dear, which now meant little when compared to the passion which resonated in our hearts. Slowly our house filled with boxes labeled for transport overseas, and slowly the memories made here were gently and carefully packed away. Keepsakes from Sarah and Matthew were tenderly stored; mementos of both joyful, and extremely painful times. Reminiscing for a few brief moments, fingering the soft blankets and tiny shoes, brought floods of memories which were quickly repackaged for a later time.
We decided the time was right to put our house on the market, but had no
idea how long it would take to sell. Some houses took months to sell, others
years. We were at the mercy of the housing market as to when we would be
able to leave for Slovenia. We contacted a realtor, a wonderful man named
Sam, who walked us through the process of selling our home. He offered
tips and suggestions to improve its marketability, and helped us reach a
realistic, not emotionally-charged, asking price for our home. He
obviously did not understand the emotional value of all that had transpired in
this home, but neither would buyers. Those values had to be ours and ours
alone. That day, the "For Sale" sign was planted in our front yard
amidst feelings of excitement, a touch of sadness, and an undercurrent of anxiety.
I had recently, under "divine inspiration", painted our kitchen
cabinets a sage green, much to the chagrin of my husband. He didn't like the idea at all- too
trendy; not many buyers would like it. Within 24 hours of putting our
house up for sale, we had someone look. She walked in the kitchen
and loved the color of the cabinets. In fact, she loved the whole
house, and within three days it was sold. We had 30 days to be
out, and had no where to go. We weren't prepared to fly to Slovenia yet;
we were still waiting on paperwork and didn't know how long it would take to
complete it. But God had a plan. Rob's parents
had recently moved into a retirement home, which left their house in the
country vacant. Since they had just made the change, and all their furniture
and cooking equipment was still there, it would make a great place for us to stay
for a short while. When we had to leave our house, we would go there.
Our last day at our home was crazy. The small amount of items
which hadn't sold, were donated to a local charity. As they were
coming to pick those items up, other friends were coming to collect
carpeting. We had laid new carpet down in the entire house over the
previous few years, and the new owner didn't like any of it. She was
going to throw all of it away and put new in. We made a few phone calls
and found people who wanted our old flooring, so in the early evening hours of our last day as homeowners, we began ripping up, rolling, and carrying out yards and yards of
carpeting. It seemed such a crazy way to leave the house, but it added a sense
of finality to it. There would be no going back, and even if we could,
things would never be the same.
Our house sold, our paperwork soon was completed, and we were packed and
ready to go. Airline tickets had been purchased for us to leave on
Monday, November 11, 2002- my birthday. My parents had driven from
Illinois to be with us for the weekend, and to go to the airport with us for
that last, grand good-bye. It was going to be a tear-jerker for sure. My Dad
had been in poor health for years, and we imagined this would be our last time
together on this side of eternity. It would be a difficult good-bye, for
I had started getting cold symptoms the week before we were to fly. By
Sunday, the 10th, I felt horrible. After church that morning,
we went to the Med Center. I had bronchitis. I received
antibiotics, and was told it would be best if I did not fly the next day.
With that news in hand, we had a huge decision to make; fly anyway and hope I
get better quickly, or re-schedule the flight for the following Monday at the
cost of a few hundred dollars. I went up to my bedroom and cried. I
felt bad not only due to being sick, but I remember telling my mother,
"I feel like I'm ruining it for everyone." I was guilt-laden
knowing any delay would cost us extra money, and knowing it would interfere with the lives and schedules of the people picking us up when we landed in Slovenia. I had also had difficulty
sleeping the night before due to a bout of severe anxiety. Since I didn’t think anyone would understand- I didn't even understand it- I told no one. I had to choose whether to
go or stay an extra week; others would not make the decision for me. Amidst tears and a flood of
guilt, we stayed the extra week.
following Monday, I was feeling completely better, and had suffered no further
bouts of anxiety. We were good to go. Friends came and helped us load our things into a van, while we all piled into another car. We were on our way to the airport; we were opening a new chapter of our lives.