Evening walks fuel my soul. We don’t go anywhere special, mostly just around our neighborhood, oftentimes we walk to the elementary school. They are how we reconnect and experience contentment after long, busy days. We see squirrels, birds, leaves, and nature in expected and unexpected places. I love spring, summer, and fall because those are the seasons our walks are possible most days.
The other day, my daughter, dog, and I were walking a familiar path. We crossed the busy road, and started down the empty street. Up ahead, sprinklers were spraying and a big chunk of the sidewalk was barricaded to keep us off. Without thinking about it, we crossed the street to avoid the obstacles that stood in our way.
“We never walk down this side of the street,” my daughter pointed out as we strolled along.
“No, we don’t. I wonder why,” I replied.
“It’s weird, it’s the same street, but it looks different. It also looks the same. But it feels different,” my daughter kept mulling her thoughts taking place in her head, aloud for me to hear her process, as she noticed how strange, yet familiar it felt to simply walk across the street.
A few days later, I found myself driving to work in a different way. Another obstacle stood in my way, so I chose an easier, yet different path. I ended up driving down a familiar road, but I was traveling in the opposite direction than I usually do. This street looks so different, I thought over and over. It was both unfamiliar and familiar all at the same time.
It is strange to think how something like crossing a street can feel strange, and alert our brains to notice and live in the different. Our brains look for the sameness, yet is still thrown off by the unfamiliar. These two instances, of being in familiar places, yet feeling uncomfortable reminds me living life post loss. Our life looks and feels familiar. We’re still a family. We know each other. However, it is different. We are different. We see the world with different eyes, knowing that the rest of our lives, we’ll be walking down the familiar path, but it always feels like we are traveling down the wrong side of the road. We are slowly learning to live in this place, hoping to feel comfort again.
I have hope that someday, we will get used to this new view, and enjoy everything that living in this place has to offer us. Until then, we will continue doing our best, walking down our path, in our way.