When I Have To Leave Here

People ask me what I’m going to do when I have to leave my father’s house now that he’s gone, and I always give them the same answer. “I don’t know.” It’s the truth. I don’t know, and it’s rather liberating for a worrier such as I am not to know and not to care. I do think about the near future occasionally, wondering if something wonderful will come and shove me in a certain direction. (Any sign would have to be an obvious push because otherwise I would miss it or misinterpret it.) But for the most part, I’m enjoying not caring. I have a place to stay tonight and maybe to the end of the year. That seems security enough for me right now.

Other people are more worried than I am about my blank future, and most offer suggestions of what I should do. Often those suggestions reflect more their own blighted dreams than my needs. For example, I applied to mYAMAdventure.com in response to one such dream. The friend who sent me the link can’t do a Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike and since she doesn’t know anyone who did, she’d like to live vicariously through my hike. (Assuming, of course, I ever do such a dangerous thing.)

I won’t be on the street, that I know — I’ve had an offer of a place to stay in an emergency. Nor will I be destitute. I’ll have enough to get by for a while no matter what happens.

Meantime, I’m clearing out what I can of my still too numerous possessions and packing up the things that I’m not yet ready to get rid of. A year or two of paying storage costs might make me change my mind about what is important, but for now I’m keeping the necessities such as pots and pans, dishes, eating utensils, comforters, a rainbow assortment of towels — all the familiar household goods that will make some future place feel like home. (The urge to chuck it all looms up occasionally, but I’m not quite ready to obliterate my past.) I also have boxes of notes, notebooks, and started novels (one that has yet to be typed up. Yikes), and a few irreplaceable items such as the tables my now deceased brother made for me. (His death started the long siege of losses I’ve suffered in the past eight years.)

The nA Spark of Heavenly Fireon-essentials are harder to know what to do with. For example, I have the handwritten first draft of all my books. I write long hand, silly though that might seem nowadays, but when I wrote those books, I didn’t have a computer or even a typewriter. Just pencil, paper, time, and me. So, do I continue to keep those first drafts? Or do I toss them out? (Not a rhetorical question. I really do want to know.) It doesn’t look as if I will be a brand name author any time soon, so I don’t need them for posterity. And anyway, the published books deviated quite a bit from those first drafts. (In at least one case, the final book resembles the draft not at all.) Unless someone comes up with a good reason for keeping them, out they go.

Such are the small decisions of my life. The major ones might take care of themselves, and if they don’t, well . . . I’ll worry about that when the time comes.

For now I’m basking in the glory of not knowing.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

12 Responses to “When I Have To Leave Here”

  1. Stephen Leslie France Says:

    Incredible – good luck with your impending future. You have a very positive attitude about the circumstances.

  2. rami ungar the writer Says:

    Pat, you’re a reflective person. Keep the drafts, which have changed so much since their first incarnations to their final forms. They can be a reminder to you that we all change on this road known as life.

  3. Wanda Says:

    I’m a firm believer in the thinking that things will work out. I know, a rather formless thing to say. I doubt that you will miss the nudge in the new direction. It will seem natural enough and you’ll just go along. I believe the universe delivers what we need when we need it. Of course I have a lot of weird beliefs but there you go. Keep things until you know it’s time to let them go. If there’s a question in your mind then it’s not the right time.

    Notice: The views expressed here are my own, not to be confused with anyone else’s. You may borrow them or not as you see fit.

    On another note, remember I have a nice travel trailer that is open any time you would like to spend time on the northern California coast. You can come and go as you please with nary a person to answer to. Lots of redwoods around, lots of beaches.

    Just saying.
    love ya girl

  4. Kathy Says:

    We’ve moved a lot and we like to really clean things out but one thing in particular I’ve kept with me is a pink bath towel I still have from our wedding gifts. It’s old and worn and most people would throw it out by now but it’s one thing that is so familiar and makes me feel at home no matter where I am. I may never throw it out. 🙂

  5. ShirleyAnnHoward Says:

    I don’t know about your drafts, but other things you might not be sure about saving, could be photographed and saved to a DVD. That way you’ll still have the remembrance of something significant (you can look at it whenever you want) but it will take up a lot less space. Photos of hundreds of items could be stored on just one DVD.

  6. Constance Says:

    I would keep your 1st original handwritten draft of your book at least (Memories). You can touch it, look at it and feel it. The others could be put on a DVD as suggested.

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