July 1st 2015… Today is my 25th Anniversary of moving to Rockford. I approach this milestone with a mixture of deep gratitude, unending joy and deepest sadness. On the 23rd of this month my home will be put up for sale as part of its foreclosure process. This is the home I raised my children in and that has been the locus of thousands of memories. On the other hand it is also showing definite signs of age and wear and maintaining it all by myself is daunting to say the least. Twenty-five years ago I could have never predicted where my life would be today. I had always assumed I would be permanently moored to the Chicago area. But Rockford has become my home physically, emotionally, and psychically. I love this city despite its flaws. The vast majority of people in my life today would not be had I not landed here a quarter-century ago. As I have journeyed through the last decade those connections have become all the more important as little-by-little my life untangled itself from its Chicago roots.
In just a couple of weeks my first grandson will be born – the first Ruszczak born in Rockford. I look upon this event as a brand new chapter in the Ruszczak-family-saga. And here too I am reminded that the woman that took my oldest son’s breath away would have probably never met any of us had we stayed in Park Ridge. Truly this city has given us life. Looking out my back window onto a seriously overgrown garden I am ruminative about how things would be different had Erhard not died almost four years ago. My leaving this house would not have been part of the landscape. But then again losing Erhard changed everything about me. I am quieter, more resilient, more introspective than at any other time in my life and I have learned to like and love the woman I continue to get to know. I have been schooled by fate into a deep gratitude for all the people that have ever touched my life and continue to play huge parts in its unfolding. I cannot fathom what I would do without all of you – I don’t want to try.
In the next few weeks I will have more to say and share – there will be open-house-days and garage sales as I attempt to purge all but the most cherished of possessions so moving won’t be so onerous. I am trying to figure out how to save the money for a Security Deposit on a new place, what I will do to re-home my beloved pets in the event that my new location won’t accept them. My mind flat-lines sometimes just trying to grasp everything and were it not for the local community I have grown into I would lose my mind I think. But I am not ready to throw in the towel just yet – there are more adventures to be had here – I just don’t know what they are right now. But I do know that all of you will be ever in my heart no matter where I might land in the future. As it is written in Ecclesiastes “there is a time and purpose for everything under heaven” and my job now is to uncover mine in the next weeks.