where you’ll find me now: a little big update
May 29, 2013
Philadelphia is the place where I fell in love with letterpress, where I took a nose dive off of a cliff and started a business that I’ve run for nearly four years. The time I’ve spent there has been full of hard and gratifying lessons, people that I loved and love who I failed to make enough time for, fulfilling work that drew my literal blood, sweat, and tears- but mostly blood and sweat, on many occasions, and with a lot of ink and grease mixed in. My hands are covered in scars, my legs are permanently bruised; these are the things that hard work has earned me, these are the things I wear proudly, I am changed for the better. I’ve had a seven year relationship with this city and it has undoubtedly been good to me, but the truth is, we’ve never been in love. This is something that I’ve wrestled with for years and every time I thought I was ready for a change I was distracted by work, a wonderful friend, or what seemed to be a fresh start that never ended up being fresh enough.
I’ve been unsure and indecisive for too long and so this world took the opportunity to make a decision for me. 11 weeks ago my father died. He was buried next to my mother at Holy Cross Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio. And I no longer recognize my life.
My parents were the sort of people who changed lives in small and large ways; selfless and strong, happy, grateful, generous and honest to a fault. They fought to live, they suffered immensely, they died young. And when it came time for goodbye it was said at standing room only funerals, held in churches with seating for 1,000. They believed in a difference between giving up and letting go, that change is constant, nothing is permanent, and no matter what happens in this life you have the choice to feel sorry for yourself or to feel grateful, to let it break you or to bend and keep bending as long as it takes for you to gather the strength to get up again. They filled our home with the serenity prayer, spoke of getting what you give when it comes to life and love, the value of making mistakes, not sweating the small stuff (because it all is). From the mouths of the dying… How could I ever complain?
3 months before my father died I stopped deleting his voice mails, afraid to lose the sound of him forever. Six days after he died was the first time I realized that I’d never see his smile again, and last week I mindlessly called him to see when he was going to be home from work. The sadness I feel is at an immeasurable depth, but it’s not a hopeless one, and it’s tainted with all of the love that I had from nearly 15 years with my mother, nearly 30 with my father. Some days I can’t get past the fact that they are gone- but even and especially in those moments I know how boundlessly lucky I am.
Our home has seen 18 years with the Walsh family; 2 parents, 6 children, 2 dogs. Now 6 “kids”, 1 dog. It’s a skeleton of a beautiful life, it’s a shipwrecked treasure trove and we are quickly running out of air. For the past couple of months my siblings and I have been sorting through the house and getting it ready for sale. A week from now it will be on the market. This life is over, letting go is the only reasonable option, but when it is gone I have nowhere and everywhere to go. I plan on embracing that by rediscovering things I once loved but stopped making time for, going places I’ve never been, searching for one or for many where I belong. Grateful all the way, no room to be afraid or worried.
I had plans to make plans after this whole house selling process was over, but last week when I returned to Philadelphia to attempt to tie up loose ends, I was forced (by unrelated circumstances) to vacate my studio on 3 days notice. With some serious help, I packed up my business and drove it in a 26″ truck from Philadelphia to Cleveland where it now rests safely in a warehouse my father built. It isn’t the way I planned to leave, but it’s the way I left. I regret that I didn’t have the chance to say a proper goodbye, but I’ll be back.
For the time being I’ll continue working with existing clients (schedule permitting), and when I grab hold again it will be in a new, more thoughtful way. Maybe some of you will be with me when I get back, maybe not. Either way I have no hard feelings to ever hold.
There are wonderful people in this world. I am surrounded by them. How lucky my life.
Thank you. Always.