My mom has only lived in two places since I was born … the house I was raised in, and the house she moved to after I left the nest.
The second place, a townhouse, was where I visited once or twice a year after I moved to Florida. Even though it was not the house I grew up in, it was home to me. It was still in my old neighborhood, still near all of my friends and family, especially Mom.
This past weekend, she moved to a senior apartment complex. She needed to downsize, so my mom, brother and I went to the townhouse to go through some last items left. Was there anything my brother and I would like to take?
I’ve been so relieved that Mom was going into a senior community where she will have support with her health issues, that I never thought about the change. Mom is relieved too and seems perfectly satisfied with this change. She used to read my blog, but she doesn’t have wi-fi in her new apartment. Maybe she’ll read this eventually and learn my secret.
When I was alone for a moment in the townhouse, I found my eyes moist as they scanned the barren rooms. An ache twinged in my heart and salty drops streamed my cheeks. I wasn’t expecting to feel what I did. Memories surrounded me, and it was time to say goodbye to the place where they happened. I don’t know why it hit me all of a sudden, because I never felt this way about my childhood home.
Perhaps it was something my mom said when we were there going through things. Her grade-school aged grandsons were there, too. Mom was smiling as she watched them pick out items to take. She said, “I’m glad they’re taking things that will always remind them of their grandma.”
I realized that my own home surrounded me with things that reminded me of my grandmothers who were now long gone.
During my adult years, Mom’s home became the center hub for everyone to gather when I came to town. My grandparents came over. My brother and cousins came over. My friends came over with their little ones who are all grown now. Despite my parents divorce, even my dad came over, and we all got along. Everyone was happy when I came to town. We had wonderful times there.
It also signifies the passing of time … the passing of life.
I’m fortunate to live near them all again, and we are making new memories in MY home now. I’m not far from Mom’s new place. As I told her in her Christmas card, wherever mom is … that’s where home is.
While this post is a story about my life, it’s not about me, but about family, change, memories, grief and loss. Have you ever felt a sense of loss when things changed or when saying goodbye to a home full of memories?