Saying goodbye, some more

Duncan with Nanny in Florida
Duncan with Nanny in Florida

I sold my mum’s house last week. The house we found together when I was a teenager. The one I lived in for my last 2 years of high school. Where I found refuge from the frozen Northeast each February once I started a family.

It was the house my mum called me from, when we’d have long chats on the phone.

And I know for the past three years she hasn’t lived in it — that it’s been empty of her furniture and person. She was here in Oregon with me. And I know that for the last year and a half she hasn’t just gone back there. But. But some part of me, I think, did.

It’s good that it’s sold. It’s what I wanted. And the new owners lived on a street with the same name as the one I lived on in New York. It seems right.

But it’s still another end tied up — one of the last, I think. Another end on the life that was my mother’s.

I miss her every day. As much as she annoyed me at times–more than I wanted–she was my faithful champion. I often found her critical at the same time. Having kids of my own now, I understand. I see the potential in them and all their wonderful qualities. And I also want to somehow fix all the things in their personalities that seem like they could be obstacles to them.

My mum believed in the best of me. And I really miss that.

Her house was a place I didn’t choose when we bought it. We looked at some many houses. We had a joke that we’d still be looking decades later for a house and a little old lady routing, “When I’m 60 and you’re 90, will STILL be looking at houses to buy.” Part of me is still stunned that we’ll never be 60 and 90 together.

It was a house I wanted to move out of as soon as possible. I moved away to college — as far as I could get while still being in the state (in-state tuition). I moved back for a few months in my early 20s. And then wanted out again–and moved to upstate New York, almost as far as I could get and still be in the U.S.

But it became a place of refuge in my late 20s. I’d go to visit each February and get a chance to relax. The kids really loved it. And it seemed like we all smiled and laughed more.

There are lots of places I’ve said goodbye to over the years. At one point I think I moved 10 times in 16 months. I suppose this is another of them. It’s harder because I’m not just saying goodby to the building, but to the home, the memories and the spirit that dwelled within.