One of the hardest things to adjust to after Eddie's death was the silence. Even though he was gone from the house a lot before his death, and even though we didn't always talk when he was home, the silence now seemed intensified. When I was in the house alone every noise seemed to echo - the tick of the clock was 10 times louder, I could hear water running into the ice maker, the water pipes in the walls popped, when the phone rang I nearly jumped out of my skin, I could even hear the cat walking through the house. I wanted the TV on to drown out the silence, but it was so hard to find a show that didn't make me think of Eddie. I wanted to have the radio on, but I was afraid I would hear a song that reminded me of him. I had to find a way to escape the silence.
I started to think that maybe I should get away for awhile, but I didn't really know where to go. I thought about the beach because it has always been the most relaxing place in the world to me. Maybe the waves breaking on the beach then washing back out into the ocean would carry my troubles away. I came very close to packing my things and heading to Panama City but never did. I was afraid it would be too hard for me because that was where we had always gone for our family vacation. I knew it would be impossible to be there without thinking about Eddie and missing him even more, so I didn't go. I thought about going to a beach that we had not been to together. Although Eddie's family lives near the water on the Georgia coast, we never went to Jekyll or St. Simon's Islands. I seriously considered going there but never did. I realized it wasn't which beach I went to, the beach itself was going to be a reminder of Eddie, so I didn't go.
My mother suggested that I go back to where I had grown up - Hazlehurst, Georgia. She told me that when she was going through a hard time in her life it had always helped her to reconnect with her past. This made sense and sounded like a good idea, but I wasn't sure I was ready to face "old" friends and tell them the truth about what had happened. I didn't go back then, but I did return to Hazlehurst a little less than two years after Eddie's death. As is often the case, my mother was right. Getting back in touch with people who knew me separate from Eddie and seeing places that weren't a part of my life with him were a great help. Reconnecting with my past has allowed me to move forward with my future.
I decided maybe I could get away without actually going very far. We live about 20 minutes from Callaway Gardens, so I thought I would go there for a few days. They have motels as well as cabins. I could go to either and stay for as long as I wanted. I went as far as packing a suitcase for this trip but never went. I wanted to get away but at the same time was afraid to leave. I wasn't afraid of going somewhere alone - I had been alone quite a bit over the years. So what was I afraid of? I was afraid Eddie would come home and I wouldn't be there.
In the end I only went as far as my mother's apartment in Columbus. I could stay there and be away from the silence of my house but still be close enough to go home every day if I wanted. I drove back and forth many, many times over the next few weeks. Often on the way back to my house I would look at the road ahead of me and think "if I just keep driving as far as I possibly can I'll eventually reach a place where none of this is happening." I've quoted a Kid Rock song before - like him or not, some of his lyrics have a lot of meaning ... "Into the Purple Sky" says "I just want to drink til I'm not thirsty, I just want to sleep til I'm not tired, I just want to drive til I run out of highway into the purple sky" ... and that's exactly how I felt.
"Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass." Psalm 37:5