Over the past month, the tears have flowed longer and more often than at nearly any point in my life. One by one, we visited with the friends and family we could – had a meal, a few laughs, held each other until it looked silly and slowly, we walked away.
I hate saying goodbye and all the finality associated with it. Goodbye means that nothing will ever be the same as it once was. In some cases, a goodbye might be welcomed, but for most, it is painful.
As I sit on the floor of my living room, amidst a plethora of brown boxes, my varying emotions surround the final goodbye to our home of 13+ years. It was in this room, I cradled my granddaughters to sleep, rocking and singing our old family lullabies. My thoughts are scattered and rampant. I think about our dog, Zachary whose little body is buried outside our front door. I see the light scratches on the woodwork from our current dog during his rambunctious puppy days. I remember each of my children filling this home with giggles, tears and fun and with them, their close friends. I think of each Christmas spent eating too much, and visiting with loved ones. I remember sickness, surgeries, accidents and recoveries. I remember bridal showers, baby showers and birthday parties celebrated under this roof and in our yard. I think of sleepless nights worrying about teenagers coming in a bit too late. I remember each coat of paint, each window washed and floor scrubbed.
It’s just a house, some may say. Not to me. This home is filled with the life and pulse of each member of our family who has lived here. How do you say goodbye to a place that has consistently given you shelter, kept your warm and comfortable? How do I give up our walks along circuitous paths in our woods, knowing that we will not likely find this again? I spoke to my friend today about the woman’s need for the nest–and when the nest is threatened, watch out. Whether or not we freely leave our nest, it is difficult to find another one with the same familiar feeling.
I will miss walking to McDonald’s with my young granddaughter for a Happy Meal, taking her to Silver Lake Beach to swim, to the Community Library for the summer reading program and to Salem Grade School to play on the playground equipment. I long for the many days that my youngest son brought high school friends home from St. Lawrence Seminary for the various school breaks because the boys had too far to travel home. I miss the days my eldest brought her friends home from college, 3 or 4 at a time.The laughter soaked into the walls. I remember my second daughter having her girlfriends sleep over throughout her high school years–the giggling was contagious. My other boys filled our home with laughter as they welcomed their high school and military friends here. All of these memories live in these walls.
So many have passed through our home, leaving bits of love and life behind. We are the richer for each of them.
I hope that the new owners can feel it when they move in on Friday. I am fairly certain they will.
This is a house of love, laughter, loss, faith and forgiveness. We have wept and we have loved. Mostly, we have loved.
On Friday, Blaise and I drive across the country to move into our new home and we do it with both excitement and trepidation. Will we find another loving faith family to worship? Will it be as good as the one we are leaving behind? Will we make friends? Will we make a life there? Thankfully, the move is not to uncharted territory-we are blessed to be moving near another son, his wife and three of our granddaughters, my sister, my nephew and a brother and his wife.
Will it be the same? No. It can’t be. But, we can make more memories while retaining the old and we can love up close and from afar. God made us that way.
As long as we trust in the One who began this journey, we should be just fine.
If we didn’t get a chance to meet up before we left–know that we are just a phone call, email, Skype or plane ride away. We would love to have you visit. We love you