This week my Dad was in town selling his house, my childhood home. My parents bought the house two years before I was born and I lived there until I was 19 years old. My parents planted a crabapple tree out in front when I was born. It’s a modest home…four bedrooms, two bathrooms. Nothing fancy. We did a lot of living, crying, fighting, arguing, dying and laughing in that home. I don’t even know how many hours I spent in that backyard playing with my dogs. Or the hours my brother and I spent in the family room watching TV and playing cards. Or the hours my sister and I spent fighting and talking. I remember all the times I spent on my Mom’s bed just talking. Or the Christmases, Easters, Halloweens we spent in that house.
I wrote this back on October 10, 2010 and never published it.
Those times are gone. They are just memories now. And now that the house has been sold to a new family, I can never go back. I can drive by or sit out front like a stalker. It would be kind of obvious since it was a small street. I know that after my Mom died, it became harder to go home. She died in that house, where she wanted to. And I’m grateful that she did. If she had died in the hospital we wouldn’t have had the time to say goodbye that we did. And I know how hard it would be to live there. You walk out the front door and see the hill where the cemetery she was laid to rest at. Perhaps that’s why the 4 remaining members of the family all moved away.
So this week has been particularly emotional saying goodbye to the family homestead. We got to have a good visit with my Dad, whom we haven’t seen since May when he and his wife moved to a different state. It felt like no time had passed since I saw my Dad, but my kids talk about how much they miss their grandpa all the time. My Dad left this morning and I don’t think my sweet daughter realized that when we said goodbye last night at dinner, it was goodbye for a while. We went to my brother’s house after church hoping to catch my dad before he left, but he had already left. When my daughter saw that her grandpa’s truck wasn’t in the driveway, she started bawling.
It’s so hard when your child is emotionally hurting and you can’t just kiss the boo boo better. If she had scraped her knee, she would cry for a while, we’d clean it up and put a bandaid on it, and eventually it would heal and she would stop hurting. Out of my two children who knew my Mom, my daughter has taken her loss the hardest. Tonight we had a big talk and she is upset that so many things have changed. She wants her old life back. I know how that feels! I want my old normal back all the time. I don’t want a stepmother, I don’t want my mother to be dead, I don’t want my Dad to live half-way across the country, I don’t want my family’s home to be sold, and I don’t want my daughter to hurt so much. But I can’t change any of those things.
So I told my daughter that her grandma still loves her, even if she is gone. And that grandma is her guardian angel watching out for her. I don’t know that if it helped, but she gave me a big hug afterward and she knows I’m always here for her.
I think the hardest part of losing my Mom is watching it hurt my children so much.