“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves…” Anatole France

I’ve been away from my desk this month, and I’ve missed you all more than you can imagine. But March vanished in an instant here, in a hectic round of preparations and packing and house showings. We were very lucky that our house sold quickly — and thank goodness it did, since trying to keep a house pristine while caring for a toddler is a recipe for madness. But even so, it’s been the most frantic time I can ever remember. We’ve been tossing possessions right and left, like balloon passengers faced with the Himalayas and casting off ballast.

But now that’s just about done. Aside from a few things to see us through the very end, our remaining belongings are stowed on board the ship. And now all we need to do is follow them.

And say goodbye.

We’ve been saying goodbye for months, it seems. To dear friends and family, to neighbors and colleagues, to the brave guy who started an indie bookstore downtown, and to the librarians who celebrated my books and my baby and made sure I always had the research materials I needed.

And there are other goodbyes, too: To my sunlight-filled kitchen with the funny red counters, and the irises I planted from my mother’s stock, and the cherry tree determined to bloom for us one last time before we go. In the woods, I hear the frogs waking and singing, and I know I won’t hear them again.

There’s another goodbye that’s hard to put into words, but is nevertheless very real: a goodbye to myself. I think of the me who came to this house, only just able to walk again. Of the me who found peace here and grew stronger, and who wrote books and stories and saw them published. Of the me who had a baby, and who nearly died, and yet who somehow survived to take joy in life again.

All these things happened here, and leaving this house — turning the key in the lock one last time — is like closing the door on those parts of myself, too.

The best parts will stay with me, I know. And I’m counting on much-loved friends and family to call and visit. But right now, this part — the saying goodbye…

It’s hard.