Healing Through Change.  By Lauren D. Weinstein

Healing Through Change. By Lauren D. Weinstein

. 5 min read

One PrimeCrush writer speaks candidly about the tough transition of starting over in midlife

When I relocated to Albuquerque, New Mexico from Brooklyn, New York, I was literally running for my life. COVID had ravaged and killed my ex-boyfriend, who I’d broken up with three months prior to him contracting the virus. When my dear friend informed me that he had passed, I found myself lying on the hardwood living room floor, screaming in disbelief and in agonizing sorrow. It felt as if an axe was plunged deeply into my chest. I was gutted. I couldn’t hear or speak. I was a raw, wounded animal. Initially, I was mourning the loss of a 10-year on and off the relationship, that I finally had the courage to release myself from, only to abruptly lose him forever to a deadly pandemic. It was a surreal and tragic life-altering event that I was not remotely prepared for.

Due to the pandemic, my work as a television makeup artist came to a screeching halt. Religiously, I sat glued to the television set, listening to our governor's report on the daily hospitalizations and death tolls. I cried and wailed, numerous times a day on the phone to my parents, aunt, and sister to vent and hear their comforting voices and words of encouragement. I swear I was not in my right mind during those tearful and angst-ridden conversations. I couldn’t catch my breath; I paced the length of my living room like an anxious lioness locked in a cage and panicked every time I heard the sirens from ambulances racing up and down Cropsey Avenue. I imagined a petrified COVID patient gasping for air while on their uncertain way to Coney Island Hospital.

In the weeks and months that followed, I decided to leave New York and my apartment that I lived in for 40 years (I stayed too long at the fair, as my mom would say) and move to “The Land of Enchantment.” While packing my belongings, I found myself digging through the contents of my life: childhood drawings and headless rag dolls, handwritten report cards, mangled cassette tapes, scratched albums (Elton John and Donna Summer), frayed love letters, and now-faded photos in plastic-sleeved albums. The arduous task was an emotionally-charged and dust-filled walk down memory lane.

Something had shifted in me way before COVID cruelly altered my world. I was noticing my discontent and couldn’t ignore my inner voice. I wasn’t happy or satisfied. I wasn’t truly living--I was existing and running on Cliff Bars and caffeine. Once I firmly closed the door to my apartment, I no longer had my independence, my own place, or a job waiting for me. However, I did have the loving (sometimes micromanaging) arms of family waiting for me and that was just what I needed.

It’s been almost a year since I left my heart in New York City. The transition, to be honest, has not been easy. I have not worked consistently, yet I am more exhausted than I have ever been. I went from living independently to living with my senior parents. I have no idea where my belongings are. My life is packed away and scattered in 42 cardboard boxes throughout the living room and collecting dust in the garage. I am sleeping in the guest room that has too much furniture in it. I eat all my meals with my folks while the television is blaring in the background. I am asked repeatedly where I am going and what time I will be back. I haven’t been used to answering to anyone since I was 18. I never realized how much I miss my privacy and the silence of living alone. I miss being able to blast my music and spontaneously dance around the living room in my thong underwear. I don’t want to sound ungrateful. I am acutely aware of how lucky I am.

I am blessed to have a second chance to reminisce, reconnect and create new memories with my aging parents every day. My dad is my sous-chef in the kitchen. My mom and I do the Jumble word game together from the Albuquerque journal every morning. We meet in the hallway and greet each other with a special dance and loving embrace. I cherish the time we are given, fully knowing that one day they will not be here to guide me when I fall. They continue to patiently and lovingly patch my wounds by welcoming me wholeheartedly, even buying my favorite foods: coffee ice cream, salmon, and avocado sushi rolls with brown rice. They are doing their very best to help me get on my feet and thrive once again. I am aware that I have uprooted their house and lifestyle, as well.

Starting over has felt as if I’d been caught in a flash flood and it abruptly swept away the life that I had desperately clung to. I was the mistress of my universe, or so I blindly thought. My former familiar patterns were both a comfort and a curse. The pandemic has harshly shown me and the rest of us, that we have very little control over most things. When we are forced to alter our daily routine it causes discomfort, and frustration and can trigger anger. I took a lot for granted. My sense of safety and security was violently tossed like somebody dumping their cigarette butts out of their car window while recklessly speeding on the Belt Parkway.

As I reflect on these roller-coaster months, I acknowledge that I have been given the opportunity to fully grieve and begin the process of healing. I have been gifted the space to experience new people, a new culture, and environment. I don’t know If I will remain in New Mexico. I may not always graciously embrace (I admit that I can be downright resistant and grouchy) what I am presented with, but like a toddler learning to walk, I have the warm and safe hands of my family to cling to.

If you love me as much as I love you (and I really do love you!), then please help me grow by forwarding this {love} Letter to a friend!  And I'd love to have you join us on instagram, facebook & twitter.

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The Crush Letter is a weekly newsletter curated by Dish Stanley on everything love & connection - friendship, romance, self-love, sex. If you’d like to take a look at some of our best stories go to Read Us. Want the Dish?


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