Chasing Inspiration

Friday, October 26, 2012

Just Ducky

My FIL's house may have just sold. After spending practically every weekend over there since Labour Day, it's nice to know our blood, sweat and tears are paying off. We hauled out so much crap and recycling from the basement and second floor it's not funny. I think the recycling dumpster at my husband's office has had more play in the last two months than it has ever in it's life. Yes, that is how much crap we hauled out. Most of it paper or electronics in nature.

We sorted. We tossed. We brought home little treasures and items to be sorted through later. We cleaned, we tossed some more. Hubby and his brother fixed miscellaneous items. The house never looked this good inside in the entire time I have been a member of this family. I almost wanted to make a bid on it myself!

We're going to miss the place. We haven't spent much time there over the last five years. My FIL and his wife became snowbirds and spent the winters out of state. Which meant they weren't around for Thanksgiving or Christmas. But after spending two months of weekends over there, I was reminded of why this is such a great house and just how unique it is, in this tiny micro-neighborhood where everyone has a huge wooded lot and houses built in a 70's modern style. It's like an oasis inside the city. You can't really hear a highway or traffic. You can't see your neighbors so you feel like you are out in the country. Wildlife is plentiful so if you're into birding or watching deer meander through your yard, this house would be the place for you.

While it hasn't quite hit my husband yet, this is going to be another good-bye. I know he's been saying good-bye to the house he grew up in for years. Life transitions have continued to remove him further and further from the home of his formative years - moving out, rooms being repurposed, renovations, and his father spending less and less time there.  Even cleaning through the house has been an exercise in saying good-bye. But the final farewell was just a theory. Something that was going to happen in the ambiguous future. Until that day, the house - and all it's memories - were still part of the family.

After December 7th, he'll only be able to lay claim to the memories.

I know how that goes. My grandmother's house on Vancouver Island was a place of joy for me. Every summer I would spend weeks there, exploring the house, the fields, the surrounding area. It was always filled with love and acceptance and my grandma's amazing pies. I loved this house and what it represented to me so much I felt I was going to die when both my grandparents passed away and the family sold the remaining property, including the house.

I would go out of my way and drive by the old farmstead every time I would visit, catching glimpses of changes to the house and the property. Once I even went to the door and asked if I could walk around the property. I never asked to step inside the house. Even if they hadn't changed a thing, it wouldn't be grandma's house anymore. And that I couldn't bear. I would take my memories, wrap them tightly about my shoulders and comfort myself with them.

My husband isn't as sentimental as I am, so I don't think he's going to break down in tears over the sale of his family home. I do know when the documents are signed and we have to hand over our keys, he's going to have a moment or two. Just like he did when we closed the cabin for the first time without his dad. Just like he will when a significant date comes and goes and his dad isn't there to share it with him.

Grief is like that. One day we can feel just ducky, life is fine. We have a handle on things. Then WHAM! out of now where we are hit with a memory, a thought, a niggle that reminds us that things have changed, that we have lost something. And that even though we are managing to move forward, there will always be a hole in our lives from our loss. And that's okay. Better than okay. Without his dad, my husband wouldn't be the man he is today. It's okay to ride the waves and ripples of grief and to acknowledge that this hole is never going to be filled. The hole represents his dad. A man who cannot be replaced. The pain associated with that hole will grow fainter. It will always be there in some way, but he will go days, months, years without it's acute ache.

Grief is necessary. And it's okay. I wish our culture was more comfortable with grief and loss. And the need to express the emotions surrounding both. Without grief, we can't fully taste joy. Without joy, we aren't fully alive.

1 comment:

  1. I hope it all goes well with the sale and that A is ok with it all. I live about a mile from my grandmother's old house and I walked by it not long ago and had all kinds of sentimental feelings, so I know where you are coming from. Those places that mean a lot to us will always be close to our hearts.