Thursday, May 15, 2014

Thursday's Reflection: The Family Home

Monday is closing day for my Dad's house. Once we cleaned it out and had it neutralized --wallpaper stripped and replaced with beige walls--selling it didn't take long. Dad has been living in his spacious apartment in a new senior living facility and is so happy there. No regrets. No yearning for the house he and Mom bought in 1965 after years of moving every two years or so. 

I returned to the house the other night to sell the last few items I had listed on Craigslist. One was a large wool rug from the living room--a rug in perfect condition because the living room was rarely used.  Holidays mainly. A parlor. My brother told a story recently about how when he was a young adult and his friends came over, one would call out tauntingly, "Mrs Jensen, I'm going in the living room." 

The woman who bought it wasn't sure about the dominant pink color, but she decided it was such a gorgeous rug and the price a true bargain that it would be worth painting a room to coordinate with the rug. My mother loved pink, and I was delighted her taste would be appreciated. Later two women came to buy a set of wrought iron furniture that had been on the three-season porch. They were thrilled with it and repeatedly commented about the beauty of this furniture. How pleased Mom would be! 

Then the house was empty. 

I had wondered how it would feel to walk through the house for the last time, especially with the last piece of Mom leaving the house. We moved to the house the spring I was a junior in high school, so I didn't live there full-time for very long, but that is the house I returned to each college break and where I spent the night before my wedding. Eventually my husband and I moved to Ohio, but this is the house where we had our son's confirmation party and where our daughter and son-in-love opened their wedding presents. For all the grandchildren this was Grandma and Papa's house. We gathered to celebrate Christmas Day there, and we have the annual pictures of the grandkids sitting in front of the Christmas tree to prove it. 

This is the house where we sat with my mother as she was dying. We all gathered around her bed and said our good-byes. This is the house where she said her last words, "I am so blessed." This is the house where she died, and where my father continued to live 11 years on his own. 

 Our daughter-in-love's family home was recently sold, and I asked her how she was feeling. She said something so wise. "Thank goodness memories are not sold with houses." 

This house has served us well, but it is no longer our house.  A young family with two young children is moving into our family home, bringing new life into this house. They will make it their own. 

As I walked through the house one last time, I said good bye once again to my mother, and I said good bye to this part of my own life, the life that was lived here, but I will always have my memories. 

An Invitation
Have you had to say good-bye to a family home? What was that like for you? In what ways is that home still a part of you? I would love to know. 

1 comment:

  1. Very lovely thoughts Nancy--a great perspective. Congratulations on the sale!


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