When I moved home amid my ending marriage I was in a state of denial, confusion, and chaos. I moved back into the home we had bought together – married each other in – the home we lived in with his parents, his siblings, my sisters and family, so many memories. A house alive with the heartbeats that were no longer beside me. The memories, the laughter, the love. It permeated each room. Haunting me.

At first I lived as though nothing had changed. I found my old friends, rode my bike around the lakes, went out for cocktails and dancing as though my life had not altered. That summer held a sweet spot in my heart because the reality of change had not yet become clear to me. For one final summer I believed that this was temporary. My marriage was on pause, not over. My life would surely continue on the trajectory I had set out for. My husband loved me. Everything was not about to change. This blip would not last.

One night in particular I remember attempting to live “normally” as though nothing had changed. I bought chicken to put on the grill (alone), poured a cocktail, and put on some of my favorite Italian music. As I sliced garlic to the music I so desperately wanted to feel whole. But the truth was, I was alone in this moment. It was a beautiful day – long shadows, early summer, hours of sunlight ahead. Yet there I was in a kitchen I knew so well, a kitchen that now was haunted with old memories and a pain I so desperately didn’t want to look at.

The chicken made it to the grill.

I ate nothing.

A few weeks went by and I decided I had to redo the concrete patio (only lovable in a state of love) – I had to do something. As I planned the project with a dear old friend we sat together and shared space, feet grounded, dreaming as we looked at the potential of the yard with big eyes and open hearts, friendship and vision. We decided on a few giant pieces of rock (pretty major boulders) that would define the space and create natural seating.

They dug up the old concrete, leveled the sand base, and prepared my backyard for setting the huge stones. Finally the beauties I had chosen were set in place with giant machinery, and the crew had gone home for the night. There was a stillness around me, in my heart and around my home, a peace I wasn’t used to appreciating. I went out to lay on the rock. First the one to the left, then the one to the right. As I laid down on the second rock I felt my back spread, arms out, palms up – heat, support, nature, peace. Wholeness…

Within thirty seconds the skies opened up.

We laid the stones down and the rains came. I didn’t understand the message at the time. Maybe I still don’t. But what I felt in that moment was that the earth was with me. Crying, holding, being.