It’s not just the house…

Standing at the kitchen counter, armed with windex and paper towels, the sadness came in waves.  In my mind’s eye I saw my own little ones and their cousins coloring on the floor and heard the whispers of a Christmas pageant in the making and felt the tremor of the boys wrestling.  Transported to an earlier time, I smelled mom’s chili and tasted her hot apple cider that she brewed with cinnamon candy.  A raucous card game in the background, we prepared the meals with mom.  Now, all these years later, face flushed and tears flowing, I continued my appointed task of wiping down the kitchen.  Only this time, I was alone.  There were no dishes to wash or food to put away or kids running around or Christmas tree glowing in the living room or homemade sweet treats or unexpected visitors or lively banter with family.  Funny, then it used to drive me crazy that we spent so much time in the kitchen cooking and cleaning it up.  I hated that.  And yet, right now, scrubbing the counters, I missed it and wished for just one more chaotic family gathering.  I missed my mom in law and dad in law and I missed the smells and noise and mess and joy of being together.

One last look and one last walk through the house.  It’s empty now and time to say goodbye.  And the tears won’t stop as I get in my van.  Backing down the drive way, recollections flood my thoughts: sidewalk chalk covering the cement, the epic water fight on Father’s Day, throwing balls over the roof, making tents with the clothes line, setting up the slip-n-slide and watching the kids play for hours, freezing corn with mom on hot August days, planting flowers with her in the spring, Josh mowing her lawn…so many memories.

And I’m thankful for them.  And my heart aches.  And I think again about how bittersweet life can be.  And I long for a time of no more goodbyes…no more letting go…no more tears…

O come, o come Emmanuel


3 Replies to “It’s not just the house…”

  1. No, it’s more than the house. It’s more than the chalk, and the tree, and the cooking. It’s all the life that’s tied up in the middle of it, memories guarded deep within the “stuff.”

    Been thinking about you this week, praying for the hard work you’ve been doing; haven’t had much of a chance to get over here and tell you so. Keep guarding the memories, Patty.

    Guard them close.

    Love to you.

  2. Patty, Once again I’m privileged to read your entry… to cry with you and to so fundamentally relate to your words and feelings. Life is bittersweet. God is good! Love you!

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