I closed the door to my parents home for the last time this past week. Aside from the furniture the new owner chose to buy from my brother and I, it is empty. I didn't feel anything.
This apathy of feelings is confusing to me as I am a very feeling woman. Am I covering up the potential rainstorm of emotion to come once I have rested my weary body? All the packing of bags and boxes, the countless trips to the local Thrift store in my town to donate and donate and donate much of my parents books, kitchen tools, linens, clothes, dish and glassware items was staggering. Our families tried to absorb what we could, yet it seemed like the drawers, closets, amoires, and cupboards seemed impossible to empty as I pulled out countless amounts of belongings.
Time....sometimes it has felt like forever that the home would sell. I was able to "enjoy" the holidays with my family, then back to work once January appeared. Then mid January an offer. The Trustee had lowered the price once more and that seemed to bring in new lookers. In the end it sold for what it should have instead of the inflated price it started with.
A short closing of 30 days and back I went with urgency to emptying the house. My brother came to organize and have his items shipped to their new homes, which was to two of his sons and his home. I hadn't emptied book shelves and thankfully the new owner was a lover of books and was delighted to keep many of the Franklin Mint books. I was thrilled to not have to pack them up and load in my car! The Thrift store and Friends of the Library know me as the woman who lost her mother. They kindly say words of "it is such hard work to empty our loved ones home", followed by "thank you for thinking of us and donating!". I'm more thankful that they are here to take all that I have brought them.
Over the course of almost four months I have been bringing box after box home then the furniture began once the home sold. 30 days to empty three full floors of furniture. My sleep cycle went kaput. I would wake up with severe anxiety night after night. How will this all get done?! Yet here we are and the home is no longer a part of our family any longer. The furniture is placed or will be received by the new recipients very soon. I've hardly had time to think about what it is to have my mother's pieces residing in my home.
I hear the Grandfather clock ticking in our living room that has been in our home for one week. The clock I have in the past connected with the ticking of my mom as she faded away as it stood outside her bedroom door at the top of the stairs. When she past away in August I told my mom's housekeeper, who had been retained for a short time, to not wind it. I didn't wish to hear it or see it's "eye" that went left to right with every tick-tock. My brother was to take it but his wife really wasn't wild about it and so it came to me. Now I am getting use to it's presence and of it being alive once more with it's chime on the hour. My Love and I have been fussing with it's timing so that it chimes when it should. I'm getting use to winding it, using the little key to open the tall door where the old weights hang as well as the heavy pendulum. And somehow it fits in my living room. As though it was waiting to be here. In the room is the Asian chest that while I liked, my Love was marginally not wild about. It too fits. Of course there are other pieces of furniture that are temporarily being stored in the room. It is quite cluttered as well as my dining room which has furniture and boxes and house plants that now have come to me. Where to put so much of this? I walk in the room and walk out. I'm not ready to open boxes I've so recently packed up and to sort through. I need to just be present in my home, to be quiet. Tick-tock, tick-tock......
The gifting of our parents possessions feels almost wrong. They are gone and they can't take it with them. Someone must now become the new owner. But these tangible gifts have memories of where they once were and when they appear in our homes, they at first seem quite out of place even when they look lovely. Am I worthy of taking care of them? Did I deserve to be the one to use my mom's crystal and silver that she had used on her dining table for special holidays or parties? It all feels rather odd and a little uncomfortable as though I have taken it from her.
When I gaze at the tall pine hutch with it's multi-pane glass doors, where inside I have placed the blue and white Chinese pottery that I adored, I can't help but feel happy to have it here in my home and at the same time I know that it would not be here but for the fact that my mother is gone. These tangible items can never fill the void of ones parents. They can not replace the hugs, the "I love you", the hand in ones own nor the warmth that I feel now with my thoughts. For now I will let my heart be. Let it rest as I rest my body. I will get to know these gifts and someday they will become as much a part of our home as they were in my parents home.