Monday, August 17, 2009

The Start of Something New.

... unfortunately, this isn’t the case for us left behind.

My brother and his wife left the country this morning, ready to start a new life. As dramatic as it sounds, for the rest of the Icasas family, it feels more like an ending rather than a beginning.

When the two of them got married in January, we already knew that this trip was already part of their plans. Once they had their marriage certificate in hand, the papers for my brother’s citizenship began to be submitted for processing. All that was left to do was wait.

As the months went by, it didn’t really dawn on me that they were leaving. Since the first week of May, I've had the pleasure of being at home with them almost 24/7, as my brother had already resigned from work in order to focus on preparing for their big move.

Pretty much every day, my brother, his wife and I would get our laptops, gather in one room and do our own thing—but together—so that we could turn on the aircon. My Dad would sometimes join us in the same room on his laptop, and my parents liked to joke that we were all officemates, with my Dad as our employer. At lunch, the five of us (with occasional visits from the siblings and the babies) would eat, and make fun of one another. I was around (a little of the) family all day long, every single day. I loved it.

Eventually, my brother's visa got approved, and tickets were booked. The couple began to slowly pack their belongings in six suitcases. Two weeks ago, the family planned one last out-of-town trip together.

Since their plans to leave was finalized, everyone has been telling me that it will be okay, that we can always visit them, and that technology will make things so much easier. I know that it's all true. I know that it's a really great move for them, and that they're off to begin a new and exciting chapter in their lives. I'm happy for them. Really. But nothing could ever beat having them around.

Last night, we had one last family dinner together at the house—all ten billion of us. It was a usual night of Icasas banter and making performers out of the babies. But when it was time for the other siblings to go home, the goodbye hugs were lengthier. Then it hit me. They were really leaving. I had a difficult time falling asleep, because I knew that when I would wake up, it would be time to bring them to the airport.

This morning, the family was bustling with activity. After loading the bags into the car and eating a quick breakfast, the family gathered around to pray over the travelers. Of course, us sisters cried. Afterwards, the four cars full of people and luggage convoyed to the airport. It was my family’s first time to experience saying goodbye to a migrating family member, and we all wanted to be there.

As soon as everyone got down from the car, the hugging began. Us sisters hugged them and cried, then hugged them again and cried again. As we all went our separate ways, the remaining Icasas siblings sent text messages to one another with nothing but emoticons of sad faces.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the overwhelming surge of emotion that hit me. I knew that I was bound to shed tears (the Icasas sisters aren’t known for their ability to hold back tears), but I wasn't expecting the heartache—the amount of sadness that came along with it.

My parents and I came home, and I seemed to be the only one miserable. My parents seemed nothing but strong these past few days, repeatedly saying that they were really happy for the couple, and that God really wanted this to happen in his grand scheme of things. For the past few weeks, my mom has been trying to figure out what to do with the sudden spare room in the house.

But when my mom went in my brother's, she went out with tears in her eyes. She sat down, put her hands in front of her face, and wept. My heart broke, and I wept again.

I was so emotionally drained today that I took a really long nap, and woke up pretty much in time for dinner. I didn’t realize that my parents had a meeting tonight, and that I would be eating alone at home. Once again, a wave of sadness hit me. My “officemates” don’t live here anymore.

I’ve cried about a billion times since I woke up, and I don’t know when I’m going to be able to stop crying. They've been living here for the past few months, and now, the house is quiet and in a way, the house is empty. Their room is empty. I feel empty.

I can no longer knock on my brother's door to have him kill a cockroach in my bathroom. I can no longer convince him to have food delivered because there's nothing meaty for dinner. I can no longer make fun of his hole-y, beaten up t-shirts. I can longer give them real, live hugs--which makes me sad, because I should've done this much, much more when they were living with us :( I've gotten so incredibly attached to them over the past few months, and I don't know what I'm going to do now that they aren't here :(