When you lose a parent ,no one can truly ever prepare you for the way it will effect you,the way it will knock you down so hard that you feel you may never be able to stand again,the breath it takes out of you,the difficulty that it takes to move on even…just a little bit. But slowly, you get better,the sun gets brighter again,the world starts moving,and while it never truly becomes comfortable,it does become manageable.
I was pretty sure after almost four years,I was moving on from my mother’s death,pretty well…..until the other shoe dropped just a few weeks ago.
My dad has been dating a woman for about a year now, they were friends before my mothers passing, they seem to get along well and have a ridiculous amount of common interests. Recently my father mentioned that he was thinking of moving in with her, not right now but sometime in the near future. Doing so would mean that he would have to sell the house…..my childhood home….. When he first told me, I choked back tears and anger, so he wouldn’t see, later that night I spilled my heart out to my husband “he just can’t do this, he can’t” I was mad but I knew I couldn’t BE mad. My husband pointed out that his neighborhood is getting real bad and it would be safer for him to move.
Still….all those memories, the smell of the mold in the basement, the musty smell in the attic, the window in my bedroom I used to sit next to with my headphones on blasting Tori Amos, singing at the top of my lungs and staring out at the stars, all my heart breaks and victories up until now, were celebrated in that house.
Then purely by chance, I got some unexpected advice. We stopped at a friend’s house over the weekend, an older couple that my husband knows from his car club, both in their late 60’s early 70’s, I was chatting with his wife about her uncle and how she had to place him in a nursing home and will probably have to sell his house, and I just mentioned the situation with my father and how I was having a rough time with him wanting to sell the house. She didn’t sympathize with me, but rather looked me dead in the eye and said “listen, your memories are in the items inside the house, the photos on the walls, special dishes your mother may have used, the order the furniture is in, even the furniture itself, once all that is moved out and the walls are bare and all you see it the carpet and empty walls and an empty house, you wont feel the same, belive me, I have been there.” and maybe she was right maybe she was wrong, but her point clicked with me.
As it happens, the next day I went to go visit my dad at the house,I got off the highway and suddenly the city didn’t look the way it usually did, I viewed it with different eyes, the roads were torn up pretty badly, windows were busted out of what used to be a hospital, poverty had overtaken the whole neighborhood and sucked the life out of it,everything looked questionable,every person looked dangerous, every house on the old street looked run down, except for my parents. I thought to myself, my god……this really is bad. I understood why dad wanted to leave, and all our neighbors had since moved, too scared to stay in a city that is getting progressively comparable to the lower east side of Cleveland. This wasn’t my home anymore,and I don’t think i am comfortable with it being dads home either, besides who wants to live alone?
When the times comes to leave, you better belive tears will be had, I plan to go take my camera, alone by myself and take photos of every part of that house that I want to keep in my memory,every place i sat and cried, every place I had a good experience ect. then I plan to ride around town taking photos of every place I went when I was young, the ice cream shop, the pier where I would go with friends on summer nights, the boat docks that dad and I would ride down to on our bikes just to talk. Dad staying in the house will never bring my mother back and sure won’t give me any piece of mind, with him living alone, and us living 45 minutes away.
This is life….changes happen…my mother passing away unexpectedly, was a hard knock, but I wasn’t alone, im not alone on this either, and maybe someone else will read this and realize it is completely normal to feel this way about something like this. With that being said, it is not that I LIKE it, but I have to deal with it, and I plan to handle it with as much grace as I can muster…..My mother would be proud of me for that.