I left my parents home for the last time this week.
Saying goodbye seemed impossible. I found myself literally rooted to the spot in my mother’s favorite chair, unable to make myself leave.
It is not the house where I grew up, but it is the house that my parents made their own. The family cat is buried in the pond that my father had always wanted and finally built. It houses countless number of fish with which he kept stocking the pond, and whom repeatedly disappeared to the bottom, never to be seen again. That house is home to the garden my mother cherished but rarely tended. Having earned her rest, she left the heavy lifting to an employee turned dear friend and curtailed her activity to her regular walks admiring the fruits of the labour.
The house was stripped bear of all the significant items; the rest waiting for an auctioneer to clear. Still, the departure of ‘things’ did nothing to dull the memories… and the pain of knowing my children would never crawl on Nana’s lap for a story or eat at her table again.
It took tears and a willpower I didn’t know I possessed to get myself out of that house for the final time. I found myself delaying and taking strange items, simply because I couldn’t let them go. I took my grandfather’s screwdriver and my dad’s tape measure. I even tool a doily (I hate doilies!) from the table by the door becuase I couldn’t bear to let it go to a stranger.
I walked through the garden and said goodbye to the cats buried there and frogs that will never again lull me to sleep. I took one last memoment of revenge by cutting the silly string deliniating my mother’s property from her new neighbour, who choose to fill her last months with worry by letters and surveys to mark his property rights. Cutting the string was a petty act, but one that took me from my grief for an important moment.
I drove away with only a glance in my rearview mirror. Now two days later it seems I have to physically restrain myself from driving the two and half hours back just to see it one more time.
Now home and unpacked, my mother’s things seem so out of place in my house. I just want to take them home and put them back where they belong. Unfortuatnely both they, and me, don’t seem to belong anywhere anymore.