Sunday, March 20, 2011
In my previous post, I discussed how we are witnessing shifts of energy – in which things are coming to an end so that new beginnings rise out of the ashes. My father currently undergoes his own transition as he begins the process of “wrapping up” life as he’s known it in the home on Marksberry Road that he and my mother built from the ground up. Eighteen months have passed since my mom’s death, and the time has come to downsize, clear out my mother’s things collected over 69 years, and prepare to sell the homestead.
Dad has been going through drawers and boxes of papers and items that mom collected: article clippings – by the hundreds from Southern Living and Martha Stewart magazines; clippings from newspapers about events that touched her heart and instilled her hope and faith in humanity; office supplies for her never-ending mission to be perfectly organized; silk flower arrangement and craft supplies for the many Martha Stewart projects she did and planned to do; purchase receipts; owner manuals; warranty information; billing statements and invoices; cancelled checks; tax papers; bank and investment statements; maps and AAA books of every state she and my father visited; the list goes on! Dad mumbles as he sifts through it, tossing most things and keeping a few things as he moves towards this inevitable life transition.
This weekend, my family gathered in Owensboro to celebrate my little brother’s birthday with brunch at the Moonlight Bar-B-Cue, then a visit to my mother’s grave. Afterwards, we went through some of mom’s personal memorabilia that dad had set out for us. Steve took what he wanted; I took what I wanted, and the rest was tossed. I was amazed, and rather pleased, with the state of peacefulness I felt as I sifted through old photos, love letters my dad had written to mom in their youth, her baby gown and a lock of her baby hair. She’d kept letters I’d sent to her over the years and my baby scrapbook. She stored carefully my old Apollo band Field Commander uniforms, as well as her own wedding dress and one of my childhood coats, all of which she’d made. This woman, my mother, continues to amaze me, even still today. Upon bringing these items home, I sorted through some other belongings I’d collected two months after her death – jewelry, more photos, a notebook recording her family’s genealogy, and keepsakes of her younger years; again, feeling such inner peace within as I touched these items that strongly hold her energy.
Though a great portion of this transition is my dad’s, it isn’t his transition alone. It’s my brother’s and mine, and even my sister-in-law’s and nephews. We’ve shared many memories in this house, on this land, with our neighbors and friends, grandmother, cousins, aunts and uncles, etc. I watched my mom and dad build this homestead with their blood, sweat, and yes, even tears of exhaustion and frustration, doing a little bit at a time over the thirty-five plus years they’ve lived there. My mom’s legacy lives on in her beautiful flower gardens. We’ve experienced a great deal of life on this place that overlooks beautiful Browns Valley, Kentucky: winter storms, birthdays, anniversaries, marriages, divorce, Sunday Smith family gatherings, heartaches, grandchildren, high school graduations, retirement, celebrations, disappointments, holidays, and the death of our matriarch.
Yes, grief over the loss of my mother finally eases its grip on my heart. The loss of a loved one means change, and I’m grateful to my dad for taking time to make this next and natural transition. He’s ready; my brother and I are ready. We want him safe, comfortable, and without worry of the huge responsibility of the homestead’s upkeep. And as time marches on, mom’s energetic presence permeates the household less as Dad has made it his home. He’s worked through the process of his grief, and we’ve paced with him. Several months ago, I felt dread around this impending transition, one much discussed over the last year. Today, I’m ready, willing and able to serve him for his highest and best, without the hooks of grief creating drama in and around the situation.
Does this mean the day he hands the keys to the house over that I won’t feel any emotion? Honestly, I don’t know. But I do know I will miss my homeplace. I will miss the comfort it has offered in times of upheaval in my life. It’s been a sanctuary, a retreat in my adult years. But the legacy of my mom and dad will forever live on in these eight acres to be enjoyed by another who I hope recognizes the depth and spiritual value of this piece of land and the house that sits upon it. More importantly, I hope the new owner will forever know and appreciate the energy of the love with which it was created.