Monday, April 2, 2012

Sorting through the past

Growing up sucks. My siblings and I have never really understood our dad and it's been hard learning how to relate to him since our mom's death. He doesn't respond well to change and losing his wife nearly broke him. He's doing much better now - he's dating a very nice widow and he's spending almost all of us time at his vacation property. He says he likes the small town atmosphere and he seems really happy. That's all well and good except for the fact that his primary house stands empty and neglected, a quasi-shrine to my mom. My sister and I tried to go through her things a couple years ago, with our dad's blessing. We pulled everything out of her dresser and were in the midst of sorting through the pile when our dad walked in. His face crumpled when he saw the empty drawers and he convinced us to put a few things back in the dresser. We knew that he wasn't ready yet so we stopped pressing the issue. And time has kept ticking by with the house growing more and more neglected. 

My parents built the house about 40 years ago and my dad did a lot of the finishing work himself. He is incredibly attached to the place but I don't think he's comfortable there any longer. I think he keeps imaging the night he found my mom's lifeless body in their bedroom and the subsequent horror of the paramedics trying to revive her. I can't say that I blame him. I think the rest of us feel the same way. The house used to feel like home to me, but now it feels like an empty shell of a house. I realize now that my mom was the one who made it feel like home. The house is just a house and I don't need it any longer. I can visit my memories any time I would like.

My brother knows a family that might be interested in renting the house and I think my dad is ready to allow that. So, it appears that our summer project will be cleaning 40 years worth of memories from that house. I don't think my dad will be much help since he's pretty much checked out of all of his responsibilities in the community that he called home for over 60 years. He used to be very involved in our home town, but now he seems to only care about his new, adopted community. Perhaps it's easier to leave behind the ghost of our mom, but it really sucks for those of us who are left behind to deal with it. 


  1. That must be difficult for your dad - wanting to move forward, but unable to leave the past behind. And for you and your siblings, too - just hard all around. Hugs.

  2. I'm so sorry to read about the loss of your mom. I hope that moving forward without your old home can bring you and your family peace.

    1. Thank you! We'll see how it goes. I'm thankful that I have three siblings to help me through this. Maybe between the four of us we can find a way to relate to our dad. :)