I wandered through the silent house, my footsteps echoing in the empty rooms. I heard a creak in the living room floor I had never heard before. Otherwise, nothing.
I checked every cupboard and closet. Had I forgotten anything? Yes, there was a bowl that Mom had bought from a local potter. How had I missed that when packing up the kitchen? Oops, still some garbage under the sink. Better get rid of that.
I gathered everything together then stopped and looked around.
The house was empty, empty not just of furniture and “stuff” but of life itself. These rooms once vibrated with energy. Family gatherings filled with food, laughter, stories and, quite often, hi-jinks, everyone sitting elbow-to-elbow around the huge table. Friends for supper and a movie in the “Lower Level Repertoire Theatre,” as we called the TV room downstairs. Raucous visits from grand-nieces and nephews. Sitting on the deck, enjoying coffee or a glass of wine, a decadent dessert and the view of the garden resplendent with Mom’s flowers. My brother and I working under Mom’s directions – “Today I think WE should do . . .” – trimming the hedge or pruning rose bushes (“Ouch!”) or moving some perennials (“Oh, my aching back!”). The whir of the sewing machine as Mom sewed yet another dress or skirt. The smell of cinnamon buns or chocolate cake or peanut butter cookies or roast beef. Laughter as we tried to interpret Grandma Higham’s enigmatic dark fruit cake recipe. My brother setting up his HO scale “Davy Crockett” train under the Christmas tree, and the cat chasing it. The living room in chaos as Mom sorted through her fabric stash searching for the perfect combination of colours for a quilt top as requested by a niece or nephew. Just sitting quietly in the evening, watching the flames in the gas fireplace, remembering, enjoying each other’s company, no need to talk.
And now, it was all over. What had once been a home was now just another house, an empty shell.
I patted a door jamb. “Good-bye, house.” I picked up those few things and left.
Someone else lives in that house now. Someone else is transforming it from a house into a home. Someone else will bring life into it. Someone else will create memories there.
The good thing about memories is that they are easily transported. No matter now many you have, you don’t have to worry if you have enough boxes or wrapping paper. You don’t have to worry if they will get lost or broken in transit. All it takes is the phrase, “Do you remember when . . .?” and instantly we are transported back to that place, to that house that once was home to my mother and brother.
#Memories #Moving #EmptyHouse #SayingGoodBye #LeavingHome #MargaretGHanna