The bags are stacked by the front door, ready to be loaded into the car. The air is cold, and winter seems to be lingering this year. I checked our home one last time for anything we might have left behind. One by one, I strategically placed the bags in the car, like playing a game of Tetris. The Jake Brake from an 18-wheeler whizzing by on the interstate snapped me out of my thoughts and into the moment. I stand in the driveway looking out into the field of trees, with the beautiful smoky mountains in the distance. Leaving behind our loved ones and those who touch our hearts is always hard, but this year has proven incredibly difficult for me. I say goodbye to our family home, and even though I’ve done it so many times before, this time is different. I walk around, taking in all of the memories I’ve made with my family. I walk by the small statue of my favorite dog, Daisy, buried in the yard. I take in the fresh air, the breeze on my skin, the birdsong, and being surrounded by trees. To me, it’s always been a sanctuary and is a testament to hard work, dedication, and, more importantly, LOVE.
Now at the Atlanta Airport, we are being called to board. Like ants, we march single file into the aircraft. I take my seat and gaze out the window. I become overcome with emotions and begin to question my decision to leave for Turkey. My Gramma, who I pinned my heart to long ago, has been unwell. I want to be with her, I want to hold her hand, and I want to spend as much time with her as I can. I find comfort in knowing how happy she is for Clive and me. “Go out and make beautiful memories together,” and that we shall do.
For roughly one week, Clive and I have been on Jelani in Marmaris, Turkey. The boat rocks slightly as the swell rolls in the marina, and I smile and think this is right where I should be.