Moving On

by on August 10, 2010 · 16 comments

in From the Soul, Life Events, San Diego

It’s been a little over a year since my Nancy passed away yet moving on is still the order of the day for our children, Carlos, Tawny, Nyla and me.

The kind of grieving we’ve experienced, in our various stages of moving on, has revealed just how fragile we are and how dependent we are on each other, how glad we are to just have each other around.

And just when it seemed that the pain in our lives was toning down, one of the twins, Nyla, announced, since her boyfriend who had been unemployed for about a year found a job in Vegas, that she was packing up and leaving town. Oh, the feeling of loss raises its ugly head again. Not with fangs this time but it’s come with a bite.

tnadnWe were all, including Nyla, caught completely off guard since over these past months we hadn’t come close to even pondering for a moment the idea of any one of us heading off to another town. Especially not to some glitzy place that claims “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” knowing that the odds are that what’s staying in Vegas is your butt and all your money.

Carlos and I, of course, are missing the heck out of Nyla but we’re kind of taking it in stride. But Tawny is feeling it quite intensely as she and her sister are true soul mates. I’ve never witnessed a relationship quite like there’s. They’re as close as 30 degrees is to freezing. The love they have for each other is so precious and profound that it’s almost palpable. It’s a beautiful sight to see. And I’ve had the pleasure of observing it for thirty-two plus years. Count me among the fortunate.

I’ll never forget the moment I heard that those two were nestled inside Nancy. “Ernie,” she said, “remember how I’ve been beating your pants off in tennis?”

“Yeah,” I replied as if anyone could forget having their britches beaten off of them. “Well, it wasn’t two against one,” she said, referring to how we had been joking that her tennis game was extra sharp because she had help from the baby in utero, “it was three against one.”

It took a moment before my brain computed “TWINS!” followed by some serious “speaking in tongues.” And the next thing I knew we were off to buy one more of everything.

Then they arrived and made our hearts sing and a little time passed and we were off to their first doctor’s appointment, greeted by a gloomy woman who looked as though she had never in her life gotten up on the right side of bed. She wore a scowl you’d expect from someone trying to stop a running play in the Super Bowl. I expected a few “Fee-Fi-Fo-Fums from that woman at any moment.

“So,” she belched, “these are the twins everybody’s been fussin’ ’bout, huh? There’s DOUBLE TROUBLE all over this scenario. I’ve got one child and I’d just as soon hoist mobile homes than have two like him. Twins! Whoo! No way, Jose.”

That, however, was not our attitude in any way and those two have brought so much joy to our lives. But, man, it’s gone so fast. Every time we blinked, it seemed, a chunk of time had passed along with their having acquired some new talent of some kind.

Blink. They’re swimming in swim shows and on swim teams. Blink. They’re reading and writing and computing and dancing and playing the piano and creating scenarios for videos and blowing horns in the school band and running track and playing soccer, earning way more varsity letters in high school than their old hotshot jocky dad ever did by far and driving their own cars. Blink. Their names are written in fancy print on SDSU degrees and they’re renting apartments with boyfriends and making their way in a troubled world as loving caring passionate human beings. Still making our hearts sing.

Blink. Another one of us leaves the fold and from what we’ve learned in a year of pain we’re already trying to resign ourselves to keep moving on with the understanding that life is precisely about that: moving on, opening one’s self to new and exciting adventures and hopeful possibilities.

That’s what Nyla will be doing. In Sin City. And Carlos and Tawny and I will be perpetually checking out cheap flights to be with her whenever we can. That’s what our life, what our moving on now demands.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

fstued August 10, 2010 at 11:47 am

Nice note. While I don’t have twins but 2 girls close in age who are best friends. Your so right. Blink and another era in our lives passes. We don’t get old just don’t move as fast and the kids make us think about life moving on


Isaac Artenstein August 10, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Ernie is as heartfelt as he is articulate. What a joy to read him and count him as a friend!


annagrace August 10, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Ernie- a beautiful piece about abiding love across time and space.


Shirley Sprinkles August 10, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Aw-w-w, It’s hard to see our kids leave, but leave they must. Congrats to Nyla! Here’s hoping she will learn to love her new life, where ever it may be. There’s always home to return to–that’s the good news!


Sherry Engberg August 10, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Great article. It gave my heart a big tug, having known your family since before the girls were born. I’d say you’re nest isn’t getting empty, just wider.


wendyEllen August 10, 2010 at 6:12 pm

Funny Ernie, I am sitting in the Las Vegas airport waiting for my flight to Oakland. I just spent a precious 2 weeks with my Mom who will be 86 in April…It’s hard to watch a feisty parent slow down. My dear daughter and grandson arrive to see her next week and how grateful I am Mom gets more special family time, as she lives alone.

I feel like I spend my life on planes as I weave my family together between So Florida, New York, San Diego and the Bay…feeling blessed and grateful to have the opportunity to experience first hand how different 4 corners of the country can be.

SWST has great cheap flights and my inkling is that the chicks that fly away from the next always return!!!! Enjoy your travels…and the fam….hugs and love to everyone!


Tanja August 10, 2010 at 11:02 pm

Nancy is reading you and smiling, knowing that all’s well with the life she left behind.


Sunshine August 11, 2010 at 9:08 am

wonderful insite, ernie, into how we simply must keep moving forward ~ in spite of life’s crushing blows ~ in the name of love.

my tears flow freely as I, too, am facing ’empty nest’ in the upcoming months as my 17 year old son prepares to move on to see what’s out there in the world. how i so desire for him to be safe out there whereever his travels take him. how i wish i could always protect him from the pain that he will surely face as he carves out his adult life. how grateful i am just knowing there are people like you, ernie, out there who truly care about youth making their way in this uncertain world.

while some of us can never go home again to the comforts of mom & dad’s ~ i am fortunate enough to have created a new family to love and cherish. i count myself blessed to be loved and needed by my son, our friends, and the few family-of-origin members i’m still in touch with. on the days when the pain of loss and grief overcome me, i am so glad there are those around me with big shoulders to cry on and a handy hankerchief available.

if, in the end, love is all that remains, i believe i have found heaven on earth amongst my family and friends.


wendyEllen August 11, 2010 at 9:23 am

It seems these days a lot of our beautiful young 20-something children have come home to finish college and pull themselves together for the onslaught of adulthood….I am blessed to have my son with me after him being on his own since HS graduation!!! I rejoice in the sense of independence both my kids exude..they always know they can come home for comfort, love and light!!!!

We love you Ernie! Thanks Sunshine for your comment as well!


Suzi August 11, 2010 at 11:31 am


This brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful piece about family.

Hugs, Suzi


Elizabeth Saenz-Ackermann August 11, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Buen viaje y buena suerte, Nyla! I bet you will also be checking for cheap flights to SD! Hugs to all of the family!


Carolyn Morris August 12, 2010 at 12:43 am

How I wish I had known your wife and your children a little better!!


Pat Knoop August 12, 2010 at 5:42 pm

Hi Ernie, I loved reading your article. Having had twin girls myself I know the joys of watching them grow and we enjoyed every aspect of the different ages along the way. As for them moving away, we got use to Kheira being what seemed so far away living on the east coast but we have always had Shannon close by. Now Kheira is living just south of Durban, South Africa. We were lucky enough to all go there for her wedding in March and Bill & I actually got to spend 2 montghs there, but with the cost to fly and the approx 34hrs of traveling time from arrival at the airport in Sacramento until the arrival in Durban we unfortunately will not get to see her as often as we would like. It will be fun for you, Carlos & Tawny to visit Nyla & to have her come home for visits too. Enjoy this new adventure in your lives. I’m glad to hear that you and family are doing well. Take care!!!


Sarah J August 15, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Dear Ernie,
I don’t know you and I don’t know Ocean Beach. I stumbled on this web site when I was researching farmers markets, of all things. I do know about moving on though and find myself alone after raising three wonderful children, who did just what I trained them to do…..sprouted wings and flew away. I sometimes miss the chaos of a house full of children but I find such joy in sharing their new adventures from afar. I get phone calls asking for recipes, relationship advise or even to talk about God. My middle child now lives in SD and is expecting his third child and I will be heading down to lend a hand. That is my role now….and I love it. They are on the “front” line, while I have the luxury of providing them a beautiful place to come and rest; a comforting voice at the other end of the phone and myself, a person who loves them completely no matter what. Your new life is just beginning….enjoy!


Elli Davis August 15, 2010 at 3:26 pm

This was really good to read. Yeah, it is hard to see someone you love go, especially after what you had to go trhough but look at it positively. You have a great place to visit and there is internet. Skype and similar programs can make you feel the person who moved away is actually still kind of next to you.


Robin M Foster August 30, 2017 at 7:55 pm


I was friends with Nyla when we were in our twenties. She’s always been an amazing person. I’m glad I got to learn of her new life by looking her up online. Please tell her Robin says hello.

I’m sorry for your loss. You had such a beautiful family and home.

Nice to meet you. Good luck in your lives.


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