The day we moved my mom to her new house was very organized. Everyone had a job including my kids. Their job was to entertain Grandma and keep her from getting anxious while everyone else packed up her things and hauled them to her new house. We took her to the park and she got to watch the kids climb and run and play. My niece made her day by falling asleep on her lap.
When we left, the old house still looked like itself. Mostly. The pictures were off the walls, but the furniture was still in the places it had been for decades.
When we returned from the park, we went directly to her new house. We had lunch. The kids took an abbreviated nap and everyone worked on moving furniture into place and putting it away.
By the time we were finished, the kids had deteriorated to the goofy-tired stage and we went straight home. I didn’t get a chance to leave the old place knowing this was the last time I would go there.
It bothered me. I couldn’t think of my mom and not picture her at the old house. I couldn’t imagine her not living there. I couldn’t imagine her belongings not being there, even though I had seen them in her new house.
Last Thursday, it was pouring so I thought it would be a good day for the kids to be in their carseats for a couple hours. We went to the old house and I walked through it one last time.
My mom saved pretty much everything she’d ever received and every nook and cranny of the house had been full. Now it was completely empty. The closets were cleared out. The pictures were off the walls. Every corner was open. The furniture gone. Very little was left behind. A cricket chirped in the basement. My dad’s pencil sharpener was still mounted to the wall where his desk had been.
My final walk through didn’t take long. Maybe five minutes, but it was enough.
I am at peace.