A journal entry on tough transitions from March of 2018. My dad had just sold my childhood home, where all my memories of my mom lived, and after losing my mom it was one of the sadder moments.
“Been avoiding this post, I think because I am not exactly sure what to say and because I am not sure what will actually come spilling out if I do dive in. However I know from past experiences, it’s always been helpful to process through my writing. So here we go anyway…
Last week was a big one for my family. I think it’s something that we have been dealing with over time but knowing that it actually happened last week was still really sad. My dad closed on my childhood home on Monday. It was the only house I ever knew in Florida and as of this week it is no longer ours. Someone else will be making memories there now. The markings were still on the wall where my mom would keep track of our growth and each imperfection was still there reminding us all of just how much life was lived there.
I understand why it didn’t make sense for my dad to continue to hang on to the house any longer and I do realize that this kind of thing happens all the time but even what logically makes sense can still hurt really bad. I’ve been trying to convince myself that it’s all just ‘stuff’ and that the actual house isn’t what made it a home but I can’t seem to shake that it feels like it was saying goodbye to another piece of my mom, and that never feels good. A short time before she passed she put a lot of time and effort into making it into a space she loved. It is just all around hard to say goodbye to anything she had her hand on.
I knew at Thanksgiving that this would be the last holiday season spent there, so I’m extremely thankful and grateful that I got to have some time to process and take it all in. There were a lot of tears, especially when I had to clear out of the house so someone else could come look at it. And a meltdown of epic proportions that led to showing up on one of my mom’s best friend’s doorstep. She loved on me, let me cry it out and then spoke truth to me just like my mom would have.
Then Christmas came and everyone was together in the house one last time. I feel like we really made the most of the time together despite knowing this would be the last. There were lots of game nights, memories made and we celebrated one more New Year’s in the house that even included a family dance party. Which reminded me a little of the ending of The Holiday. During that moment, I stood back for a minute to take it all in. The joy that was still there was amazing and I got to see everyone rally together to make it special despite what we knew would be coming soon.
The time together was also spent with lots of cleaning and clearing out. We found an insane amount of ‘treasures’ that have been tucked away out of sight for who knows how long. And at the end of all that there was one more night spent in the house with my sister and one very long, tearful goodbye.
Looking back, there have been many changes over the past 5 years. Losing a mom will do that. You see your life heading in one direction and then suddenly it feels like everything has changed.
I remember sitting there one Christmas staring at a picture of our family of four and wishing that we could just go back to that. It was just the four of us and life was great. But I guess life isn’t meant to always stay the same. It ebbs and flows and things change. For example, if things always stayed the same my brother-in-law and nieces wouldn’t be around. And I wouldn’t wish for that either.
I have found that what has been hardest for me to deal with are the changes I didn’t ask for. I think life changes always present challenges but I expected them to come in the form of a marriage or babies. You know all the fun stuff that you get to pick. But everything that was happening around me felt so far out of my control, and I didn’t have a plan for any of it. It felt like my life kept changing and there was nothing I could do to stop it.
But if there is one thing I have learned, it’s that God is good through all of those things. Despite how hard and unsteady it felt at times, with Him I was still able to make it through. And I’m not just saying that as a bandaid or the kind of blanket statement we say at church. And it’s not coming from a childish positivity that used to help me cope when I was younger. But I am saying that with a deep faith that came from walking through the hard and seeing first hand that when He promised He would be with me, He actually meant it. It means that I know the hard will come but when it does I will be able to still stand because He has walked me through the hard before.
As I cried out in anger for things to just go back to normal, He was there. And as my dad got remarried, He was there. And now as I head to Florida in a week to even more change, He’ll be there for that too.
Just like the song, One Thing Remains says, He’s my constant through the trial and the change. He’s the one thing that will always remain.
And for now I’ll leave you with the view we got to take in on the last night we spent in the house:
My mom always seems to know exactly when we need her most. And this night was no different. The pink found in sunsets has become a precious reminder that she is always with us and that even through the hard there is always beauty to be found. On this particular night she really showed off, the photo is pretty great but it still does it no justice.”