another goodbye

12 Jul

i wish this worked, + that i had taken it with me. alas, it went with the house

ten years ago, i said goodbye to my childhood home. my parents, then recently-divorced, sold our property and a little piece of my soul along with it. we had moved into that house just after my 4th birthday, and it was sold a few months before my 20th birthday. the land has changed much since it changed hands. yet in my mind’s eye it remains as it was: wide expanses of green grass; abundant vegetable and flower gardens; aviary populated with racing pigeons, mourning doves, pheasants and canaries; rabbit cages housing dwarf bunnies; chicken coop and yard playing host to dozens of fiery red chickens. there was a wooden staircase, made of cut logs, that allowed the childhood me to explore the vast hills that lined the back end of our property; there was a swing, made of heavy-duty chain and a carved and painted wooden seat, all dangling from a huge maple tree; both of these were made by my dad’s hands, for me. a part of me still lives on in that house and its grounds.

today, my mum said goodbye to her childhood home. well, one of them; she was the firstborn and she and my grandparents moved around quite a bit until they finally settled in the place that they would call home for the next 46 years. four more children were born into the family in that house, as well as four grandchildren, of which i am one. i lived in that house for a time, twice. it was a happy, safe place to be. my family didn’t go on many vacations – but when we did, that house was where we stayed. it was the opposite of my home: where my home was isolated, serene, rural, + rustic, my grandparents’s house was urban, loud, + teeming with people at all hours of the day and night. at some of the most chaotic and unstable times of my life, my grandparents and their home were a sort of rock that kept me grounded.

as i approach the next decade of my life, i understand it’s a pivotal time, a time of life that’s rife with change. in the past 10 years i’ve had to say goodbye to many of my “rocks”, my homes, my homes-away-from-home, my sense of familiarity, my links to my past, my foundation. my home is gone; our business is gone; now the homes of both sets of grandparents are gone; soon the place i’ve called home for the past 8 years will be gone, too. for some, this wouldn’t be seen as a big deal; but for someone like me, who hasn’t moved around much in her life, it all adds up to a very big deal. it’s a cliché to say that life is forever changing, that life itself is ephemeral, and that “all things come to an end”; and i know the truly important “things” in life aren’t things at all, or places, but the people we love and the connections we make. but there’s still that little girl inside of me, the vulnerable one, the delicate one, that wishes that there could be just one little thing that just wouldn’t change; something concrete, something tangible, something enduring. just one little thing to hold on to.


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