We closed on my parents’ old house on Monday and got the last of the stuff out. Besides paperclips, I will never have to buy duct tape again, or screwdrivers, T shirts, pencils, blankets, or coffee mugs just to name a few of the things my house is now full of.
At first I thought I might not cry, being so busy with loading the car. But as we approached the end of the process, I found it hard to breathe. Crying is a good thing and healthy at times, so I did. Intellectually, I knew the house was just a structure, a building, but somehow it felt like I was saying goodbye to my parents and the end of an era. So many important things happened in that house. I lived there through my teen years and into my early twenties. My parent’s were there during the death of my sister in the mid seventies when she was 16. After Mom died in 2008, Dad insisted on staying there by himself until he joined her in 2017.
My husband David was a big help. As we got ready leave for the last time, he said, “We have to decommission this house!” David spent much of his life on the New England coast where old ships were decommissioned to be removed from active service. I’m sure my parent’s house will go through a lot of changes before it returns to active duty. Standing in the front threshold, David said a prayer of thanksgiving for the vessel that served my family well.
It had been drizzling off and on for most of the morning, but the sky opened some clear patches as we carried the last items to the car. Looking up, I noticed four mourning doves perched on the electrical line out front. They seemed to be watching us.
All four members of my family of origin – my father, mother, and two sisters – have passed away. I wondered if these four doves could be spiritual representatives of my family in heaven. As we finished loading the car, the doves flew away one at a time in the direction we would be driving home.
The last dove to leave seemed like the biggest one. It (he?) lingered for a bit, watching, then finally flew away.
It’s hard to put into words what I felt about the four doves, but I will try. I felt comforted by their presence. I think they were there to tell me that my parents and sisters are no longer confined to that house or this realm. Their spirits are alive, well and flying free! It’s time to move on.
I will carry with me the treasured memories from my parents’ old house and the lessons they taught me into new adventures!