The Big Empty

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My parents fell in love with their house on one of their beach trips. They basically saw it, loved the location and bought it. Dad was kind of that way. He’d think carefully about a lot of things but then there would be the times he’d go out and come back with a new car. Back then, it was more of a sleepy little beach town. There was certainly tourism but the infrastructure hadn’t really grown to support it. I remember when the first little hotel opened. Now there are four with a fifth under construction.

They had the only house on their side of the street for quite some time. At one point, they decided to buy the open piece of land next to them to preserve the wooded lot that they had come to love. Eventually, another couple built next to the vacant lot and they became good friends over the years. Mom always told us that they wanted their neighbors to have first bid on the land when they were gone. They knew the neighbors would never allow building either.

So that’s where I was at the end of last week. We quoted a price, they made an offer and we accepted. All the legal things got taken care of and it was time to sign a bunch of documents to officially make them the owners. My brother and I were put in charge of these things so we both had to be there to sign.

This drive up had a much different feeling than any previous ones. There’s always been that tie to the area. Always a place to stop in after getting there. (OK, this hasn’t really been true since Dad went to the retirement village but there was still a connection). This time, it was just drive up and wait until we could sign the papers.

The house is now up for sale. Seeing the “For Sale” sign is just another brick in the end of this road. There were a few things that were still in the house because the people who took all the furniture didn’t have room in their truck. They came back Thursday morning to load up the rest of the stuff. Not that I have an emotional attachment to chairs but there is this sense of finality seeing them loaded into the truck.

The house is now empty. Like we’ve just erased their existence and now it sits waiting for the next chapter in the story. A story that we won’t be around to read. It makes me wish I had saved a few more things but the logical part of me knows that they would have just gathered dust for however many years I’m still around. And the memories will live on even without the stuff.

Ironically, we did this right before Father’s Day. I used to get him steaks when Mom was alive to cook them. The last years were a mix of food things – all things that could be consumed without further preparation like fruits and cookies. Of course, once you order something, the emails keep coming with reminders to not miss out on Father’s Day. Not that it mattered this year.

It was just a couple of days of serious mixed emotions. But it is unfortunately a part of life.

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