I’ve been dreading this day, June 6th, for months and months. And now it’s here. One year. One year since we stepped on a plane and said good-bye to South Asia. And, because of the time difference, also one year since we stepped off a third plane twenty-four hours later into a hot Columbia summer evening.
I guess I’ve dreaded this day because the one-year anniversary of our departure seems to hold a new kind of finality. Like a chapter forever closed. No longer can we say, “This year, when we lived in South Asia.” No, now it’s, “. . . over a year ago.” Another life.
And so I’ve wanted to hold these last few months close, to grab on to the still-recent memories, the smells, the tastes, the sounds that still fill my head when I scroll through photos. I haven’t wanted to say good-bye.
But this morning, on the day I dreaded, I awoke and I saw that long, muted airport hallway stretching before me, and at the end of it my family. I saw my cousins Eddie and Liz with their kids, I saw my cousin Betsy, I saw my brother, Kenny. I saw Shari and Owen, and I saw my one-year-old nephew Oliver for the first time. I saw all their smiles.
I cried all the way down that carpeted walkway, my shaking arms barely strong enough to hold my two-year-old. I was so sick back then. David and I both were. On June 6th we were each on antibiotics for separate bacterial infections, mine left me at close to a hundred pounds. I was all spent and my dreams were emptied out and I was so very tired and sad.
And there was my family, waiting with all their love.
I had no idea that humid June evening what our future with South Asia would hold, no idea we wouldn’t be going back. That things would get harder before they got easier.
But on June 6th I was very, very relieved to be home.
That’s a memory I’ll keep holding onto.