At one time or another, I think we all get tempted to revisit our pasts and reopen old wounds—even when we know we shouldn’t. In 2014—a good three years after my husband left—I did just that. I was still living in my home state. I’d not moved yet. One day I was bored, so I got in my car, turned up my music, and drove about 90 miles to visit the suburb where Casper and I lived for several decades.
Morbid curiosity beckoned me back there, even though I knew in my higher mind that ‘that’ life had been obliterated. But we do wax nostalgic sometimes when it’s a slow news day, don’t we? Well, thankfully, when we do stupid things, sometimes God watches out for us and acts to quickly give us a nudge when we need it most.
This is what I believe happened that day.
As I exited the outerbelt and was driving on the secondary roads leading to our former subdivision, my attention was drawn to the song that was playing through the sound system from my ITunes collection. The irony of the lyrics jumped out at me. Extremely eerlily, as if the lyrics had fingers, they were tapping me on the shoulder and saying “Pay attention, there’s a message here. Don’t miss it.” All I can say is that it was a very surreal experience.
The song’s lyrics were narrating where I was and exactly what I was doing! What are the chances of that happening, and having it happen so very precisely?!
As I turned onto my old street, I got gooseflesh. The hair on the back of my neck stood straight up as Tom Petty sang to me … “Stop walking down my street” … “Who do you expect to meet? … Hey! Don’t come around here no more!”
It was as if an unseen Presence was telling me NOT to romanticize anything about my past, and to deep-six all files related to Casper, this town, or any of the people it represented. Something much greater than me had already intervened, plucking me from a life and a marriage that had been on a collision course with destiny from the start. I needed to accept that.
Giving an acquiescing “mea-culpa” nod of surrender, I made the decision to terminate any further indulgence of my runaway curiosity and fangirl longing for my mirage of a past. I located the next convenient driveway and proceeded to begin turning my car around.
As I did, my eyes were drawn to the parking lot of a nearby church. I noticed several large bouquets of BLACK balloons being released. They had just started to rise above the roof line. Double confirmation [!] that I should not be doing this, I thought to myself.
I turned off the car engine and sat there in silence—reverently watching those black balloons as if I were respectfully waiting for a funeral procession to pass. When the last balloons drifted out of sight, I restarted the engine to leave.
Certain that I had been given two distinct ‘signs’ of confirmation that it was time to finally close the lid on the coffin of nearly 30 years of that history—I left that city with a much lighter heart.
On my drive to get there, I had been mentally struggling—wishing I could wake up and discover that everything had just been a bad dream. My mindset was that if given the chance to snap my fingers and make it all as if it had never happened and go back to my life with Casper—I would have done so in a heartbeat. I would have given anything to stop the pain of such blatant and public rejection.
As I drove back home, I noticed that I felt as if a heavy weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Granted, my full recovery didn’t happen overnight, but from that day forward, the intense anguish and intractable grief over Casper’s ghosting began to diminish—and continued to do so.
I guess the takeaway here is that when we are living too much in our heads—and we fall victim to the tug of our heartstrings and want to turn back toward what is not good for us—we sometimes get sent a little extra help from Above.
To that, I want to say thank to my guardian angel(s), and at the same time, apologize for that 90 mile detour.
Here is the video I made of this song when I got back home. Listen to how eery the words are, in light of my circumstances and the exact timing. I used pictures of our neighborhood, surrounding streets, parks, businesses we frequented, and the general community. I hope you enjoy it.
Let me know if you liked it, and also comment below if you’ve ever succumbed to the draw to ‘go back home’ again when you knew you shouldn’t.