I must say that I completely agree with C. S. Lewis on this one, grief does feel very much like fear at times. Now and then, out of the blue, it will come along out of nowhere and punch you in the heart and all but bring you to your knees. Suddenly things you were so sure of, you second guess and then your mind willing or not wants to ask that person their opinion, but they are not there anymore to ask.
As nice as it is to paint the house we are moving in to and work together to make it a home, there is a bittersweet thought that lingers in the air and simply won’t go away. The thought that this will be the first place I will live where my mom and dad won’t come visit me. Yet it’s not even that thought that haunts me. No, I was a bit shaky with that thought, but still okay. It was when my brother mentioned that since we didn’t move in to my parent’s house, he is working on selling it.
I am actually okay with selling their house; because of where it is located I know we would not be able to live there. The house is too far away from my work and the kids like their schools and friends. We weighed our options and looked at it from every direction then decided to stay in Garland. I know the best thing to do is to sell their house. Yet the thought of that is like a punch in the heart that almost knocks me to the floor. I walk in that house now and it’s empty, but the walls ring with echoes of days long past. I can hear my brother’s footsteps as he stomps up the hallway. I can watch memories shift in my mind through all the different years, showing me the furniture and how it looked at this age, then how it looked even a few months ago. I can remember thinking of how amazing it was that my dad bought such a small house, then designed and built on a large den, back porch, and a washroom that could actually be another room. Later when I was seven or eight years old my dad converted the single car garage into a bedroom for my brother with a large walk in closet. He did most of the work by himself, with a little help from my uncle Basil Thomas and his brother in law “Slim.”
I have a hard time looking at the yard when I go over there now. My mom loved gardens, and keeping her yard looking nice. The yard doesn’t look so nice right now. She created flower gardens and vegetable gardens that were pretty high maintenance since she would spend two to three hours outside every day pulling weeds, watering and doting on her plants. No one has been there to care for them since December, so there are parts of the yard that are beginning to look overgrown.
I remember riding my bike on a path we’d made in the backyard, around the gardens and the swing set dad had put up for us. My little dog Butch would sometimes run beside me trying to keep up.
I remember the tree right outside the back porch. We used to climb that tree, get on the roof of the back porch, lie down and watch the birds fly by during the day and the stars come out at night. Watching the sky up on that rooftop is one of my favorite memories and something I really miss. I loved that tree.
There are so many good memories in that place. I can’t help but hope that it will go to a family that will come to love and appreciate it like we did. It doesn’t make letting go any easier. When I stop and think about it, there’s a feeling much like fear that tries to swallow me up. I suppose it’s because once it is gone, then it’s gone and there’s no turning back, no revisiting, no more just knowing that it’s there if we need a place to go. It’s odd what grief does to you. Still, this is a time to move forward and memories are portable. No one said the path would be easy.
Cherry Coley ©