For years I have loyally defended Chicago against those who think we are insane for putting up with its crazy weather. In return, I have been spared from having to deal with the worst of it.

But now that I technically no longer live here, the flight that was to carry me to my new home in Europe has been grounded by the worst blizzard in nearly half a century. I am housebound with no phone or internet as all the electricity in the neighborhood seems to be concentrated in the snow lightning outside.

I love you, too, Chicago. But you can't keep me here forever. I promise I'll be back. But definitely, definitely not till summer.

A deafening thunder responds in the distance as gale force winds come shrieking across the plains of suburbia, rattling the entire house like a scene from a bad horror movie and scaring the living bejezus out of me. I swear I can hear these creepy demonic whispers through the walls ...

"You can't leave. We won't let you. You belong here."

As an eerie chill creeps up my spine, it dawns on me that this storm is the physical manifestation of everything I have been feeling - or should I say, trying not to feel - in these last weeks while I have been packing up to leave. A cold, dark, black hole of separation and loss looming in the distance, as if waiting - indeed demanding - to be recognized and duly respected.

I've moved many times, but this time it's for good. In all the excitement over my new life, I have not really had the time to mourn my old one. A rich, gratifying life full of incredible people and priceless memories. Of course I expected to miss certain people, places and things, but it never occurred to me that it would be this difficult to leave.

Alas, my mother-in-law is far more intuitive than I. She knew it immediately after being here for the wedding and meeting my family and friends. I have something very special here. Something that will not, cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world.

I am thrilled about my life in Europe, my amazing husband, my wonderful new friends, and all of the grand adventures that lie ahead for us all. But as I bid my family, my friends, and my fair city adieu, I will leave behind a part of my heart.

Buried here, under a beautiful pile of snow.

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