Empty House. Deep Breath. Move On.

For months, I was adamant that we would not sell Dad’s house. I couldn’t imagine letting it go. It held all my parents’ stuff, and hanging on to stuff after Dad’s death in December was part of the gut-wrenching grieving process. Everything became sacred, even the tacky bird lamp which I plucked from their entryway, along with the table where it was displayed – a table that is so not my style. I took the only wall space available in my living room and slid the table into it and crowned it with the bird lamp. And there it still sits, along with clutter in almost every room of my house consisting of the stuff I needed in order to calm my grief. His house is empty, but ours is crammed full.

I refused an on-site estate sale, so little by little we have parceled out furniture to our kids, relatives, friends, and the estate sale company that picked up the remainder. A haul-away company took the junk no one wanted, then we took some things to Salvation Army and filled more than a few trash cans. I use the word “we”, but I mostly stayed away because I couldn’t watch what was happening. Each time I walked through the house, it was a little emptier than the last time and my parents seemed further away. I didn’t like it that the stuff had such a direct correlation to my grief, but that’s the mystery of grieving. Things that shouldn’t matter became the lifeline that keeps one nostril above water.

So now the house is completely empty and the “sale pending” sign has been in the yard for over a month. This is Friday – closing day, and last night I pre-signed since I need to be in the shop all day. The new owners are a sweet older couple who are so excited that they have been known to go over and walk (sneak?) around the back yard or find the door unlocked to the garage and meander in. It’s their dream house and today they will begin to fill it with their own stuff.

Maybe I’m in the last stage of grief – the one where you finally and solidly know that you must rise up and out, and that the loss you thought would drown you will instead produce something that you never imagined. At the office where the closing took place, I sat in a conference room and signed eleven documents, including the deed to the house. My penmanship was terrible because I left my glasses in the car, but I knew my signing was another in an eight-month long series of goodbyes. Despite the enormity of what I was letting go of,  I didn’t have the heart flutter, sweating palms or a feeling that the walls were closing in on me (remember I told you how much I hate goodbyes in this post.) I’ve already said goodbye. And then said it again. I’ve grieved. And then grieved more. And now, it’s time to move on. I’m celebrating tonight, and rising up tomorrow to do just that.

3 thoughts on “Empty House. Deep Breath. Move On.

  1. One more goodbye…I’m still holding on to items from my mom’s house that will likely be tossed when I’m gone. But it makes me happy to run across a piece of her now and then.

  2. Everything you write about is so true, so real, so much a part of my Life. I felt the need to hold onto stuff as well. But the need for stuff is fading as I now recognize my parents in nature, my joy, my children… Gone but never forgotten ❤️

  3. Lisa ,
    Your words spoke my heart. We have traveled this road as you have, and although we are blessed to have those who love and hold us, we all must make the journey our own way. Never did I think I could once again live in my parents “old house”. Although I leaved in the first one for 46 years – my mom and dad were alive with me for 44 of those. When it became “the time” to sell the old one and move in their new “old house” I truly thought no way! My past five years of memories there had been filled with sadness, illness and death. Trusting it was what God had planned I reluctantly moved. I cannot tell you how much peace and comfort I have living here now. The house is totally decorated differently and that does help. But I sit in the same place I saw my dad sit for years. And I yell at the same squirrels the eat my bird seed just like my dad did. I work in the same yard that my dad did – and it is my refuge. Time truly heals. And God’s love always finds a way when we open our heart to Him. And the best is – we WILL see them again!
    Love you sweet lady.

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