Even though Dad passed in April, we are still dealing with things. Death may be final for the person but some stuff lives on a little longer. Friday was a big milestone and another dip in the emotional roller coaster that has been this summer.
Memorial Day weekend was our time to clean out the house ahead of the service in that first week in June. In July, my brother and I drove back up there to sign the papers on the sale of the vacant property next to their house. My parents kind of bought it on a whim because they loved the woods and wanted to make sure nobody built on that lot while they were around.
We sold it their friends and neighbors who also want to keep it vacant which was what our parents wanted. We had met the neighbors many times and they were helpful to Dad in the years after Mom died. They actually had us over for dinner over Memorial Day just I think as way for all of us to share memories. But this goodbye was different because without the parents, there just aren’t many reasons for us to venture back to their final home.
The biggest thing was selling the house. Objectively, we could look at the house and see the flaws. It kind of got away from my parents towards the end. Certainly in the three years after Mom died, things just didn’t get done. That didn’t stop all of us from getting a little defensive and mad when we got comments from potential buyers as to why they weren’t making an offer.
Even though it wasn’t the house we grew up in, there are still many memories attached to it. And my parents loved the last part of their life spent there. We didn’t need to hear it trashed by people with more money than manners.
The basic problem is that the nature of the town has changed over the years. There is a lot of new money coming in from the nearest big city from people who want a summer place and/or a rental to make more money. For a variety of reasons, our parents house wasn’t that. I knew we needed to find a couple who really wanted to just live there and wondered if that was going to be possible.
Turns out there was a couple who were interested. And they even knew my parents. I think it was meant to be.
So we went up to sign over the house and got another reminder of how small that town is (at least for those who actually live there). The other realtor knew Mom and kind of recognized us right away even though we’ve never met. Guess my brother and I bear some resemblance – him to Dad and me to Mom. The other couple was as nice as can be and we got an open invitation to visit any time.
To continue the string of coincidences, they didn’t know it was my parents house until they were showing pictures to their daughter who recognized it because she had been there before. She knew Mom from somewhere. We’ve learned just how active both of them were in this little town. The last little thing was that these new buyers remembered meeting my parents with my older brothers kids as they were leaving a restaurant. Just a normal day in the beach town where everyone seems to know everyone.
Still, when the papers were signed, it was the end of an era. Both my brother and I did a final walk through the day before. Even though Mom has been gone for three years, there was a part of me that expected to hear them welcoming us as we walked through the door. Of course, there was just emptiness.
Even though we didn’t stay with them after the first couple of years, as long as they were there, it didn’t feel like we were tourists. Something about that house and their presence that just made it seem like we were honorary locals. That is all gone now. The only thing left to anchor us to that place is the cemetery where my parents are buried.
We have one last trip in September to close out the trust and divide up the estate among the four of us. My brother, who has made many more trips than I have is going to do up and back in a day because he no longer wants to stay there. I haven’t decided yet. Also not sure if I’ll swing by the house. Think it may be best to just let it stay in the past.