“Memory” – Cats

30 Jan

Last night I had an unexpected visitor. The woman who lived in this hospital room before I did came back to visit the nursing staff and also requested to take a peek at her old room. I was very excited to meet an alumnus of The BirthPlace who had made it out successfully with a healthy baby. She had been at the hospital for four months and experienced the exact complications that I am experiencing. For months she lived in this same room, ate the same food, stared out the same window, and probably had the same thoughts and fears as I do. Now here she was, three months later with a beautiful healthy baby in her arms telling me that every second she spent here was worth the wait. Then I wondered who I would be talking to several months from now in my room. The past meeting the present to not only find closure, but offer support and guidance.

This experience brought back a memory for me from when I chose to visit my past and reflect upon a major time in my life. Last summer, I was in the area that I grew up in and decided to drive by the house I lived in from birth to the age of 16. This house had a lot of really great memories for me, but it also had some bad ones as well. When my family and I moved out, it was not by choice, but because my parents could not afford it anymore and foreclosure was the result. My dad was having trouble getting steady work, my mom didn’t work, so they ended up refinancing several times until they were upside down and unable to make the payments. This whole experience was very traumatic for me because everything that was familiar was getting taken away and I had absolutely no control over the situation. I loved that house and never imagined that we would actually live anywhere else. I was going to miss all of the numerous parties and holidays celebrated there, the dozens of lush palm trees that made our house stand out from all the rest, and the mini pet cemetery in the backyard where all of our beloved furry friends were put to rest (don’t judge…you know you have one too). I could take none of this with me…just memories.

I would need those memories as my husband and I pulled up to the house, well over a decade later. The new owners did not take care of the house at all and the front yard was just a bunch of dead grass with a few surviving palm trees. The actual exterior of the house had paint peeling off and it just looked so neglected. I could not believe how much had changed since I lived there and I was even more curious to see the interior. Unfortunately, no one answered the door so my tour was never going to happen. Maybe it was better that way. It’s as if when we moved out, we took with us all of the life and happiness and left behind a sad shell of a house.

I think we are all intrigued as human beings to return to our past to relive our memories and reflect upon the events that formed who we are today. Moving out of the house you were raised in is a pretty common event, but for me, I was forced to grow up a lot and learn to embrace major changes instead of letting them bring me down. I was not like many of my other friends who already had experienced parents getting divorced or other life altering events. This was the first major crisis I had to deal with. After losing the house, change became much easier for me to deal with and I truly believe that particular event is helping me today with my complicated pregnancy. I am able to roll with the punches and just take all of the challenges thrown my way. I now have officially been diagnosed with gestational diabetes which means a major change in my diet and constant monitoring of my blood sugar. Of course I am sad that I have another restriction added to the list but there is nothing I can do to change that diagnosis…much like the “diagnosis” of foreclosure so many years ago. So instead of getting mad or upset, I am focusing on how to enjoy my new diet which I plan on continuing after I give birth because it will definitely help me fit back into my skinny jeans!

*The song “Memory” is from the 1982 Broadway musical Cats which ran for 18 straight years and is currently the 2nd longest running show in Broadway history. This famous song is an emotional ballad where the character Grizabella, is deeply reminiscing about the past. I feel it is so important to reflect upon past events to help guide you in the present. Negative experiences might seem like a catastrophe in the moment, but once time heals, you realize that you learned a valuable lesson which has helped you grow and prepare for the future. Everything I am going through now is happening for a reason and I can’t wait to share my story to the next mom who resides in this room. A new day will begin.

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My old house in shambles

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So many memories...

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3 Responses to ““Memory” – Cats”

  1. Grace January 30, 2012 at 7:40 am #

    Such a beautiful post, I loved reading it. I’m sorry you have to go through the gestational diabetes now. It takes some getting used to but you sound very resilient! I have even learned what not to eat on my plate if I want to sacrifice some of it for a small piece of candy, and still my blood sugar remains stable. Yesterday I was Put on complete bedrest here, no getting up at all—-hello bedpan! So it’s been a rough 24 hours…thanks for sharing your experiences with all of us, it really does help! Have a super day!

  2. Joyce Stein January 31, 2012 at 10:57 am #

    You write so well. Very thoughtful and poignant musings.

    I remember your old house and one special passover seder your family hosted. The picture of the house and it’s neglected exterior was indeed sad to see. In my memory, the house is still beautiful.

    My story of visiting a former home – is a little different. I moved a lot as a kid because my dad was in the Marine Corps. So I rarely had the opportunity to visit a former house because they were often on military bases. One year, I was working for Capital Group – and was on a project teaching users about a new application. I had the opportunity to be onsite in Norfolk, Virginia. One of Jeff’s cousins also lived in Norfolk and I met him for dinner. I mentioned I used to live on base housing in Norfolk and he said that base housing was no longer part of the secured perimeter and if we wanted to, we could visit my old house. Of course I jumped at the opportunity. It was so surreal to go back. I called my mom from a pay phone and asked her for the address. We found the house and it was kind of an out-of-body experience. As I was taking pictures of the outside, the people who lived there came out and I explained that I had lived in their house as a child and you know what, they invited me in to view my old room and everything. What struck me was the house had the same wood floors I remembered, but the house seemed so much smaller. The family who lived there was so sweet – just another military family getting by. I guess you can’t go back.

    It is these past experiences that shape us and guide us. Best regards…

  3. Corey Toushin February 1, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    So true, Jess! I’m assuming you’re referring to the house on Winnetka, right? Does anybody currently own it, or is it abandoned?

    How are you feeling?? BTW, can you eat popcorn on your new diet?

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