It's Another New Kind of Normal

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. 


  1. ahhh... this just gives me the feels.
    My parents sold the house I grew up in a few years ago & I was so lost when they first sold it... all the memories a home holds.
    My heart aches for you... you've been through a lot through the years with loosing your parents. I cant even imagine.

  2. Mary, you describe so well the soul-rebalancing of loss. I grieve for you as you find your new normal and thank you for putting into such eloquent words the story of your home and family . My deepest sympathy as your life rebalances into a new place.

  3. Those were the days and only a few generations will understand what you are talking about. It is a whole new world. I know you are hurting but I am thankful that you have found some comfort in being at the house. Take care and God Bless....((Hugs))

  4. I didn't read your Hodgepodge post, so I didn't know of your dad's passing. I am so sorry. It must be hard to go through the house with so many memories of wonderful times growing up, but good that you and your siblings are able to be together at times to help relive those times. Beautiful couple your parents were!


  5. Awww...Mary...this made me so sad. I am so sorry for your family's lost. :(

  6. I love this post, Mary. I love the memories you have in your heart and that you shared them with us. I love that you came from a BIG family! I love the picture you have here. Hugs to you!

  7. This was a most beautifully written post. I felt all the feels with it. Nostalgia gets me every time and it doesn't even have to be mine. :) I enjoyed the pictures, too. The house that I'll have to deal with is my grandparents' home. My aunt lives there but she's about to see 90. I have known that house since birth and I'm not sure I'll ever be able to sell it. I keep telling myself that it's the memories not the things but...

  8. So beautifully written, Mary...and I totally get it. You feel like an orphan when you lose both parents. It does take time...lots of find your new "normal". Be patient, don't rush it, and cry if you feel like it. Prayers for you and your family.

  9. I am so sorry for you loss. Losing my Dad last year created such a shift in my experience of is nearly impossible to put into words all that it feels like.
    As another person said above, it is a soul rebalancing that takes place.

    My prayers are with you and for the repose of your father's soul.

  10. Hi Mary, sorry to hear of the loss of your Dad. I remember you talking about how much time you got to spend with him and how he was still able to live alone on our camping trip last year. He was obviously a big part of your life and you of his, I am sure the time you spent together was very special to you both especially in his last months. All those memories made in a big, close family are what really matters. Love to you all Jane and Johnxx


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