Packing suitcases for travel is one of my least favorite activities. There are so many choices, so many contingencies, so many ways the plan could change. What if it is cold and I have only packed light sweaters? What if I need to be able to get dirty and I have only packed for indoor activities? What if I need to go out and I have only packed casual clothing?
What do you take when you have no real idea where you are going?
What do you take when you know you are not coming back?
I’ve felt so quiet for the last few weeks, sort of wandering through the rooms in my head, running my fingers over the doorframes, memorizing the scuffs on the walls. I didn’t feel this way before the first IVF or the FET, because in some ways, I didn’t realize what I would leave behind in my haste. That when I made the choices to go forward with those cycles, I would walk away from the life I knew, the place I’d lived for so long and find myself in new places.
It made it harder to accept later, the not understanding that I was leaving permanently. It was one more thing to lose, one more thing to mourn. Plenty of times in life, we don’t get that chance, that choice to pack. Life changes suddenly and irrevocably. But when I did the first IVF and the FET, I did have that opportunity, and I simply couldn’t or didn’t take it. I had to make do with the bits and pieces I’d haphazardly brought with me and find a way to make it work in the places I found myself.
This time, I know better. So I wind up staring at the empty suitcase on the bed, trying to decide what to take with me. I can only take so much, and I need to pack lightly and choose wisely.
Mentally, I throw stuff in. I take it out. I pack. I repack. It’s the hope that I almost can’t bear to take with me, because if it all goes wrong again, I don’t know what I’ll do with it. It’s unnecessary. It takes up precious space for something more useful.
And yet, what is the point of going on this journey without it?
So I nestle my hope carefully in the center of the suitcase, surrounded by the more practical items, out of sight. It’s there, though. Always there.
I finally zip the bag, wheel it to the door. Do the last backward glance, make sure nothing I need has been left behind. Check the tickets one last time. Step out. Close the door. Turn the key in the lock.
Take Arthur’s hand and walk away. We stand together on the pier, waiting, watching the horizon for the coming ship, wondering where we are going.
Or a different adventure entirely?
We start IVF #2 tomorrow.