Recently when called home to assist in my folks' transition to long-term care, the full spectrum of life presented itself in subtle, confusing and sometimes frustrating ways. Such rolling emotions from letting go to surrender and acceptance to shining a light on our hearts and dark closets. Whether the heart-stopping moments come from worrisome decisions or things that bump in the night, is it any wonder sleep eluded me until I sensed the dawn of life-giving sun might yield another day?
Depersonalizing a home to prepare it for sale is like cosmetic surgery where things need a lift but you aren't confident the work will pay off or that you've made the best decision. Or perhaps it is more like a detoxification of a family's lifeblood. Returning it to a perfectly pH balanced neutral zone. Only then can the next family visualize how they might bring new energy to its space.
During the day, the bustle of preparations around the house, the windows flung open and with birdsong on the breeze, the aliveness feels like home despite a lack of family photos and afghans lying about. At night with the house closed, the quiet is deafening, and the dark lifelessness becomes unbearable. I wander aimlessly, like a night crawler, searching for the warmth of my kind.
The clock's pendulum ticks off the memories one by one.
From midnight to the wee hours, the clock's pendulum ticks off the memories one by one. Like the time Lena and I played a Suzuki violin holiday "concert in the round", stocking-footed, on the living room stage, with our feature tune "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" earning us a hearty "Bravo!" And of course, the knitting lesson, the Casting on Connections story, happened here also. Garrison Keillor's "Prairie Home Companion", on cassette, supplies background entertainment while Mom teaches me Canasta at the kitchen table for the umpteenth time.
All that love energy trickling down the street.
All that love energy trickling down the street, like an errant sprinkler head losing its nurturing spray too soon, changing a home into just another suburban ticky-tacky house where "they all look just the same" reminiscent of Malvina Reynolds' 1960's song "Little Boxes".
How is it that the painful, painstaking yin and yang of letting go and of acceptance parallels hope and blessing? Every drawer opened is a hundred mini-decisions, and as I pick through its contents, the memory triggers, both good and bad, are tempered with this:
May the remaining years be well-lived with few regrets of today's decisions.
May I not disappoint my elders.
May the family learn to care in a new way.
May we prepare thoroughly for the next family's life at Anywhere Avenue.
May they build another lifetime of excellent memories.
And may we all sleep well.
Have you experienced a depersonalizing situation? How did it feel? Were you able to discover some grace along the way?