As if packing up our 2800 square foot house and finding a tenant for it didn’t keep us busy enough, we have also begun planning my 80-year-old mother’s move from Bozeman to Los Angeles. After an extensive visit with a neuropsychologist, my sister and I received definitive confirmation that mom should no longer be living independently. Both moves are now scheduled to take place in July. The only member of our family who will be left in Bozeman is my father. He is buried in the Bozeman City Cemetery, which sits in the center of a park and trail network that is just a short walk from our house.
My mom feels terrible about leaving dad behind and often says she would like to take him to California. Perhaps she could stow him with her luggage on the plane, but I’d like him to stay just where he is, the place where he saw two of his grandchildren come into the world and where he fully enjoyed his retirement until he became ill. I don’t feel that I will be leaving my dad behind, but will carry his memory with me back to the country of his birth.
As the physical packing process gets underway, the back aches have also arrived, but they pale compared with the emotional strain of parting with our friends for the second time in the last three years. Our excitement about returning to Berlin is tempered by sadness and nostalgia. We arrived in Bozeman as newlyweds in 1996 and we will leave with many treasured memories and three beautiful children who define “home” for us wherever we are.