What makes a home?

I kept asking myself that question, over and over today.

Was I a good wife? Am I a good mom?

I kept asking those over and over, too.

They circled and swirled in my head with no accompanying answers.

I went to my old house today. The lost house. The failed house. The scene of a failed marriage. An emotionally abusive and manipulative marriage.

The evidence of it all was lying everywhere and it hit me the minute I opened the front door. The painted front door that we bought and painted together. That we installed the brass doorknob on together. That had opened and closed and opened again through so many trips, fights, celebrations, special events. I teared up a little when I thought of her opening and closing our door. Looking around at our broken memories from the high perch of her new woman pedestal.

The ghosts of ourselves lingered in all of the rooms. The living room, with random dusty toys scattered around and boxes of my husband’s stuff. The nursery, with unused diapers scattered around, baby shoes that were outgrown, onesies folded into a neat pile, dog-eared breastfeeding books in the corner. The kitchen, where repairs always ended in punching the countertop, throwing tools and yelling at me for standing in the wrong place.

It was such a sad shell of a house. It made me so sad.

Today was a lot of things. Today was sad. Today was good. Today was draining. And frustrating. And depressing. And joyful. And liberating. Today was another day that I threw in the with others. Another day of distraught and confused emotions and of course another day with a little bit of anger thrown in.

And a day full of questions I never thought I’d be asking. Like, how do I divide up our damn furniture when I bought it all? He gets all the tools he spent thousands of dollars on. Why do I have to be the fair one? How do I divide it up when I hate him? How do I give him anything knowing that she will make it theirs? Just, how? How do I turn the other cheek when I know he’ll slap it? What the heck is considered fair?

Or just simply, what the heck?!

I packed like a mad woman. Three hired hands from Craigslist helped me and we packed like mad people. I packed things… trash and cherished memories into boxes together. I left things… his profane t-shirts from college that he insisted made him cool when he wore them at 36, items that represented memories that I couldn’t bear to look at, much less think about. I filled a truck up to the brim.

I took a moment to cry in the house. A burst of tears about what could’ve been and what I failed at being. And then I dried my eyes and stopped wallowing. I brought it all home. I brought a truck full of boxes, antiques, chairs back home. I brought myself back home. I brought my sanity back home. My peace. My slight but growing confidence. My happiness. My anger.

I brought everything back home and left that sad shell of a house behind with my shell of a husband. Sometimes, we just have to count losses as what they are, losses. And then we move on. Always forward.