Sold

The House for Sale sign adorned the lawn next to the tree we planted for dad and mom almost 20 years ago.
SOLD covered it quickly.
It’s no surprise.
We knew this day would come.
Four years ago when we moved mom into the nursing home,
we knew selling the house wasn’t far behind.
But the reality is painful.
While Alzheimer’s steels mom’s life memory by memory,
function by function,  and breath by breath, and we say goodbye week by week, my husband cleans out boxes, closets, drawers and rooms.
The rooms empty and the walls bare, sounds get swallowed up in the void.
Lifeless now, this house built by dad’s hands has his carpenter fingerprints all over it.
Thankfully the hallways won’t echo for long.
A new family moves in next week and life and noise and busy little feet will make the house into a home again.
Tears come easily as we sift through years of memories and remember who mom was: faithful, full of laughter and always welcoming.
A lump catches in my throat while sorting old Christmas, anniversary and birthday cards, some dating back seventy years.
Letters from a serviceman overseas to his young bride change what we thought we knew about dad and mom.
Packing his dog tags, military issued Bible, and uniform causes a deluge from my already red rimmed eyes.
A lifetime of two souls now packed away in boxes.

My brain oozes with questions.
What is the sum total of a life?
Does our value lie simply in our possessions?
or our relationships?
or our usefulness?
or our financial legacy?
or our generosity?
or our faith?
When we are no more what legacy will we leave?
Will our memory bring blessing or pain to those left reflecting?

Oh God, have mercy and allow love to cover the multitude of sins so that our legacy is one of grace and blessing.

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8 thoughts on “Sold

  1. As happens so often when I read your blog, Patty, the tears flow. Thank you for writing such beautifully painful, poignant words. I felt this way as we have sorted through my mother-in-law’s things, but we did it in so many stages the impact wasn’t quite as strong. Praying for you and love you.

  2. Beautiful! Sad that as we get older, some of the tasks that we must complete are so difficult. God equipts. We know that, but it is still so hard. Blessings ~

  3. Oh, those letters, Patty. What a gift to find those letters.

    This was a holy work, wasn’t it?

    It always is, isn’t it? To empty something, in order to make room again.

    I’m with you, there in the echoing house. Love this, you …

  4. Patty, we found the letters too, when we moved Lane’s mom’s stuff. Somewhere over a thousand of them. Took me more than a year, but I put them together in a couple of volumes, and got to know a man I’d barely met a few times. (His dad had passed before we were dating.)

    Jennifer nailed it — reading them was holy. We’ve been looking at them again this week, and there is something sacred in listening to their hearts speak to each other.

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