It’s time. The U-haul truck is parked in front of their house. In just a few hours, my parents will take one last walk through the house they’ve lived in for almost forty years. I will help them into my car and we will head for my house for the day while my sister, her husband and other family members will load some of my parent’s furniture into the U-haul truck. After almost 65 years of marriage, almost 40 of those years in this one house, my parents are “breaking up housekeeping” to move in with my sister and her husband.
It feels like someone died. And if I feel like this, I cannot begin to imagine how my mother feels. A woman’s home is her security – her stability. It can be a one-room shack or a fifty-room mansion. At the end of the day, as long as she has that one-room shack or that fifty-room mansion to go home to, then everything is okay in her world. It’s hers. It’s where she belongs.
Imagine giving up your home after 40 years of memory-making occasions – of joy and sorrow, laughter and tears, of good times and some not-so-good times.
There is a lifetime of memories in this house. We were living there when I graduated from high school. My mom hosted a fantastic graduation party for me there. It is the only house the grandchildren and great grandchildren have ever known as Me-Maw and Paw-Paw’s house. Our families have gathered there for many Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas celebrations. Our extended families used that house to gather when one of our loved ones passed away. The walls of that house have overheard many conversations—some good and some not so good. There are memories my parents will treasure and take with them.
This house has been home to my parents – and my sister and I – for almost 40 years. Even though my sister never lived there and I only lived there for about three years, I have come to realize that “home” to me has always been wherever my parents are. Yes, I have my own home and I love it. But there is something about going home to mama and daddy. I knew there would be cookies in the cookie jar, and in the years when my Mom was in good health, there was usually a made-from-scratch cake and something really good for dinner.
But there’s the issue. My parents’ health will no longer allow them to stay in their own home by themselves. And so, today, they will say goodbye to that house and begin a new phase in their life.
My sister and I will have the task of going through all of the “stuff” accumulated over forty years. Believe me, there is a lot of stuff. I do not think anything has been thrown away. There will be a massive yard sale, some of the items will go to Goodwill and we may just bring home an item or two.
After all, it is the end of an era.