Five siblings and I met at my Dad’s condo to sift through his belongings. After that was done, we’d need to take away what was left to prepare the space for sale.
We started off, sitting in a semi-circle in the living room, reviewing the order of picking. Then, one by one, we each chose items that reminded us of my dad or mom…or of our childhood. Many times, I found myself aimlessly wandering around from room to room not really knowing what to do. What could I take that would fill the giant crater left in my heart now that my dad was gone?
Of course, the answer was “Nothing”.
But I still collected furniture, dish-ware, photos and art. After a while, my younger brother announced “Anarchy!”, allowing us all to cruise around and choose what we wanted. Things moved faster after that.
Then it was time to move on to the “Does anybody want this? I’m pitching it!” portion of the day. Slowly, hour by hour, a lifetime of accumulated stuff and the memories that went with them, were claimed, boxed for donation, or hauled to the dumpster.
I looked around at the pile of bags and boxes ready to be given away. Then I turned and looked at the empty rooms that were filled only two days before. The reality of it all finally crept up on me, so the tears do too.
Month by month since June, parts of my dad’s life, and the life I had with him, have misted over and then disappeared. His home is the last place that anchors me to my father and my family history. I wish I had the depth of language to tell you how hard it is to see it all go.
Months from now, maybe sooner, I’ll be able to look back on these moments with a more spiritual perspective. As I’ve said before, I know that he’s with my mom in heaven. I know personal stuff is just stuff. I know that this life is nothing compared to the life to come. But you see, I’ve got this crater…
It’s a pretty big hole, not to mention how dark and empty it is in there. Seeing it makes me feel weepy and sad. I think the hardest thing is knowing that nothing will ever fill it. Not silverware. Not a statue. Not a photo.
“Suffering loss” means just that. Suffering. But I guess I’ll have my own lifetime to learn how to live with this hole. I accept that it’s hard to look at it, but the aching sadness that comes with it always seems to surprise me.
Anyone who has learned to live with loss (and isn’t that everyone?) figures out eventually that it’s not about filling the hole at all. It’s about making peace with it. Maybe even being grateful for it. Grateful because the crater means someone made an impact.
I guess I just never realized how deep an impression he made…until he was gone.
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