I learned this weekend that a house is no longer just a house when it's been a home. Even if no one is living in it anymore- the power of a person's energy can be so incredibly strong. This weekend, we found a buyer for my grandmother's house. A family with young children who were renting in the neighborhood and longing to buy. I have not met this family, and probably never will, but I have a pretty certain feeling that they could feel the energy in Mama's house yesterday which made them say, we want to live here. We want this to be our home.
So I will now spend the weeks leading up to July 30th helping my family empty Mama's home and turn it back into a house. This is not going to be easy. I've been trying to wrap my head around the concept of "stuff" since yesterday. After only spending a few hours in my grandmother's basement I found old Mother's Day and anniversary cards to her from my grandfather. A "Happy 40th Anniversary" poster I drew for them as a kid, her weight watchers log book from 1973, the piles of ephemera were endless and so many of it from her grandchildren. Mostly things she never wanted to throw away, and what do you do after looking at them? Keep them too? And where? It's really hard to understand and even write about but I thought I'd give it a shot. The fact that she kept EVERYTHING helps me know how much she treasured her family- and yet it's making it that much harder to face that she is actually gone.
This is what I can say about cleaning out a house- it means you are cleaning out a life that is over. A life that is no longer here. Selling a house that someone has lived in for 40 years- the first ones to live in that house and see it built, means we are saying her and my grandfather's lives have ended. All of this stuff is a symbol of how well these lives were lived, and I can't seem to get over how important family is to a life well lived.
I know what you might be thinking- a life is never over, it always lives on through memories, and my grandmother gave so many people so many wonderful, wonderful memories. But selling her house means she is not alive anymore on this earth- even more so to me than seeing her buried in the ground.
I hope to write about this experience more in the coming weeks. Because I know that this is the sort of experience worth writing about. This is the last memory I will hold of Mama's house. But it's hard. I forced myself to sit down and try and write out what I'm feeling today, but I can't help crying again while I do. I know that all I can really hope for is another family to fill up the house with so much love that it becomes the happiest of homes once again.
Have any of you had to sell a house of a deceased love one? If you feel up to sharing about your experience in the comments, I'd love to hear about it- I think it might help with dealing with this very big event. Thanks for reading.