with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

Finding Left Overs and Regrets

Earlier this week I unburied the last letter written by Brent’s Grandmother Matthews. I put it in a special place to show him once all the nightmare move is over. Unfortunately, in cleaning out some of his own stuff in the trailer bedroom, he found a previous letter written in July. Dealing with his sadness and joy of finding such a treasure, I pulled out the last one and showed it to him.

It began with her sadness over our loss of Toshi, our precious furry child. That was the breaking point for both of us. We cuddled up on the bare mattress and sobbed in each other’s arms. Brent cried that he’d been so selfish, running here and there for the last few years and not spending enough time with them. I told him that he wasn’t selfish. They raised him smothered in love to be independent and they were all proud of him. He admitted he just wanted to stop by and say hi, but they weren’t there any more.

Losing someone is hard. Losing someone and having a life that keeps you away from the old familiar stomping grounds shared by that someone makes it a little easier. The pain is there but the reminders aren’t. Coming back here, the reminders are everywhere and now, even five years after the loss of both grandmothers within a couple of months, Brent is now dealing with the familiar reminders he didn’t have before.

We picked ourselves up and kept on going. The next left over uncovered by Brent was a checkbook. He laughed and read the name and address as “Brent VanFossen and Lorelle VanFossen…Everett, Washington”. It was the first checking account we shared after getting married. I had fought combining accounts for a very long time, finally giving in out of convenience for life on the road. And here it was. A great reminder.

I asked Brent how many lives ago was that checkbook from. He smiled and said, “Many, many.”

It’s true. We left the safe worlds of corporate America behind in 1996 to hit the road full time in our trailer, changing locations every week or so, more or less. To see the world. Well, at least North America. Then we had to make a life for ourselves not moving in North Carolina, returning to corporate ways, but returning as different people. Then moving to Israel where we not only became different people, we expanded horizons beyond belief, changing mentally and physically. Now, we start a new life back in the US, a place more foreign to us than natural now, and heading off for another life in Alabama. Incredible.

The last of the stuff in the trailer was been emptied out. What remains is minor keepers that I want to make sure stay in the trailer with us. We’ve done a lot of dumping and junking of the stuff in our life, physically and mentally. It’s a good thing to do. Fitting your life into a small space like a trailer is a good lesson that everyone should go through. Really teaches you what is important in your life and to your life.

We now need serious carpet cleaners to come in and we’ll be scrubbing walls for the next day or two while waiting for the new fridge to come in. My arms ache already, but it is good exercise.

I was bragging to the family about getting a new fridge, going from about 5 1/2 cubic feet to now a glorious 7 1/2 cubic feet…I felt glorious until we visited Home Depot last night. I saw a fridge there with 26 cubic feet of storage. I’m humbled by my 2 foot increase.

Visiting Lowes and Home Depot last night, Brent and I found our heads in two places. We were seeking stuff for the trailer, but we were also evaluating stuff for our future home. So few of the wonderful European models of sinks, faucets, storage hardware, and beautiful cabinetry and appliance are available here, though there are some neat things. Big and bulky is the American style, all excessive and we want smaller and cleaner lines. By the time we build, hopefully we’ll be able to easily get the European styles here. But it was strange to have our heads in the two places thinking, “I need this for the trailer…but this here might be good for the house.”

In addition to our bodies getting a workout during this change, our minds are also being tested and stretched. Exhausting.

Tulsa, Oklahoma

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