Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A House Divided

Sorry, Abraham (Lincoln), for stealing your phrase for my title...

Gargantuan sigh...The time has come.

We've chosen a realtor and are in the process of putting my parents' home on the market.  Dad finally decided he wanted to do it, to get out from under the maintenance, home owner association fees, lawn care, etc.  At his age, he doesn't need to be worried about it.  I'm glad he has made the decision.

Now the work begins.  We've got to clean out a home my parents bought thirty years ago and have filled with STUFF ever since.  Some of you may remember my own moving experience back in December.  I thought I had lots of stuff, but I'm an amateur...well, actually, that's an exaggeration.  My parents had much more space to fill with stuff, moved in with more stuff, and acquired more stuff in the thirty years since. What can I say?  I inherited my love of stuff...

But now that we have to deal with it and do major downsizing I deeply regret those tendencies. Somehow, we'll plow through all this.  Some will go to charity. Some will go to the estate sale.  Some will go with Dad to his new place. Some will go to my brother, my niece, and me. 

So it comes to this - dividing up the tidbits, the little pieces of a family's lifetime.  I didn't think it would affect me like it is. I've thought it would be a good thing for Dad to get out of the house for awhile.  But now that the time has come, it has hit me with infinite sadness.

Though my mother has been gone since 2003, this is still her house.  It's filled with the designer furniture she selected, her Waterford pieces, her books, the dishes she chose, the cookbooks she used, the porcelain Scarlett O'Hara doll I gave her because Gone With the Wind was her favorite movie.  Some of her clothes are still in one of the closets.  Her costume jewelry is still in her large jewelry box in the room that I used in the house.

So not only are we selling the house, but I have to say goodbye to my mom once more.  I will watch the things she loved and the house she loved go to strangers. Truly I understand they are only things with little meaning to me beyond the fact that they belonged to my late mother.  But in the wrenching way I'm feeling right now, I'm losing her again, and this time for good.

Oh sure, I'll have my memories.  The book I've written which will be out soon is dedicated to my mother.  She was a writer and an avid reader.

But the place she lived happily until her final illness and spent her last days will be lost to us when the house sells.  It will go to a new family and they will make their own memories there. That is as it should be.  A house should always be a home.

Our family will be forever changed, our memories, even our existence will eventually be forgotten. We all have our time in this realm which does not last forever.

I have been more fortunate than most.  My dad is still with us.  He's in his 90s.  So I have nothing to complain about really.

I'm sure I will gunnysack the sadness as I start clearing out the STUFF...I'll be too busy to do otherwise.  Someday when this is all over, I'll open that gunnysack and deal with the emotions inside.
Until then, I'll just write to relieve the pain, the emotional stuff, that we can really set aside.

Well, on that cheery note, I'll say take care.  Appreciate your loved ones whether they have two legs or four.

And for heaven's sake, go to the movies!!  Did you see the attendance stats for the Fourth of July weekend?  It was down 44% from last year.  Sure, maybe it was the selection of films but that is a sobering thought for film lovers everywhere...Guess that's why we've got videos.



  1. Sharon - my heart and prayers are with you. I've done this and it's not easy. My parents had been married for 60 years when my mom went into assisted living and my sister and I began to go through just her stuff. Fortunately there were a number of grandchildren as well as three of us so there are little bits of her everywhere. I wash the dishes at my daughter's house and see the little blue glass birds that my mother so loved sitting on her windowsill over the sink. I was at my other daughter's last night and one of my mom's favorite pictures hangs on her kitchen wall. My dad moved from their shared house to a new place and once again we had to go through it all and downsize - he didn't want or need all the thing they had collected over the years. It's not an easy task and there will probably be tears here and there, but I'm holding you close in my thoughts.

  2. Thank you Skye. It is never easy, letting go. You think you have and then something comes along to remind you. It's a part of life, but that doesn't make it any easier.
    Take care.