I'm desperately trying to get into a "new normal" since my daddy's passing. After my mom passed away, people said that there would be times I would pick up the phone to call her and then remember. That never happened. I did, however, have thoughts like, "Oh! Mama would really like this", and then I'd remember, but I never actually picked up the phone.
After 2 years of seeing my daddy almost every weekday and sometimes on the weekend, it's weird leaving work and not going to his house. There were times when I was at his house when we hardly talked; there were also times when we both napped as we were watching tv. We watched Bonanza and Gunsmoke, or the news. We talked about things that were going on in the news and with my boys. Daddy wasn't a big talker, but when he talked, you listened.
Now, my siblings & I have the task of looking through the house; 54 years of memories. Some of the memories have been tucked away so deep that when someone brings it up, it all comes flooding back. Seeing Christmas ornaments that were made or little trinkets in the house bring back forgotten memories. Some are more meaningful to different family members; it's nice that each of us have individual memories with the house and with our parents.
One of my sisters came down on Sat. as I was packing up some things from the house. Before she got there, I looked at a peculator on the counter. I could hear my mom's laughter, hear the dishes being rattled during Sunday brunch, and smell the coffee. When I walked to my parents' bathroom, I saw Daddy's shaving brush, and I remembered how he used to puff his cheek out when he used that brush to lather up his cheek when he shaved. And I lost it.
As my siblings come to the house and carry off what they want from the house, treasures that mean something to them so they can keep a little piece of our parents with them, reality is settling in. They're gone. It's up to us to carry on the things that they taught us.
At some point, there will be another family living in our house. I didn't think it would bother me, or rather, affect me, but it does. There are so many memories in that house, so many years of memories. My parents moved into the house when I was 9 months old, so it's the only house I remember until I was 22.
Being at the house brings comfort to me right now. As things are taken out, there's an emptiness, but, OH, what memories! The slamming of the screen doors in summer, sledding across the street to come in through the basement, leaving our snow boots in the hallway in the winter. Playing bouncy-ball in the hallway of the basement and roller skating down there. Taking the phone receiver to the steps to the basement and sitting on those steps for what seemed like hours...because that was the only place there was a little bit of privacy (we only had 1 phone). The Christmases & Easters that were so hectic. (I have no idea how Mama managed to make them so special...she not only had us to take care of, but she also played the organ at multiple masses during those holidays.)
I don't think that people have that anymore; we live in a more transient society. As a culture, we want bigger and more new things, so people often don't live in the same house all their lives. My boys didn't.
Like it or not, a new phase of my life has begun. Time to be a "true" adult. Most, if not all, of us are beginning to look through our own houses to clear the way for our treasures, our own little pieces of our parents. It is such a privilege to be their daughter; we are so fortunate to have had them as long as we did. As I reflect on both of their passings, I realize that they both went just as they wanted: Mama's was quick and before Daddy, and Daddy wasn't alone...and he's with Mama now.