|We sending this painting of our house to my sister Julie in California. Goodbye house, goodbye painting. Ah…goodbye sister.
They arrived on time, all five of them, loaded up with bins, tables, price tags, papers, armed and ready to begin sorting and pricing a lifetime of our stuff.
Suddenly, furniture was moved, drawers were emptied and the laundry basket I was using to do laundry was filled with items to be sold. I quickly emptied it and filled it with my dry laundry to be folded, laundress that I am in the worst of times.
I felt panicky. I’d sent a few texts to friends, eliciting comfort for my stifled hysteria while quietly roaming about gathering endless piles of items to be moved out with us. They responded with compassion, although I could sense that they were baffled by an appropriate response.
What does one say to a person who has loved to entertain guests, possessing all the perfect accouterments in an effort to make each experience a memorable event for every guest, when all those items become nameless and unattached?
Wandering from room to room, I felt a sense of robbery, pillage, detachment, not over my personal effects: clothes, cosmetics, jewelry and trinkets. The sense of loss was born over the those items that I had used for years to create ambiance, warmth, love and sharing with family and friends over a lifetime, or to design a romantic dinner for Tom and I with specially prepared food and thoughtfully chosen drinks, soft music and a fresh bouquet of flowers.
The arrangement of it all, pleasing to the senses with the ultimate desire to have the experience linger. As they cleared out our aperitif, wine and shot glasses, a plastic enclosed piece of paper dropped to the floor. I noticed that it sat there undisturbed for awhile while I was cleaning a drawer.
Picking it up, my heart sank while at the same time a wide smile came across my face from the happy memory. It was a drink list I had prepared from which guests could choose their favorite wine, beer or cocktail. We kept no less than 15 different brands of beer, 12 types of alcohol, 6 liquors and a wide array of mixes and popular concoctions to satisfy every guest’s personal taste.
Tom or I would said, “Pretend you are at a bar and choose your favorite drink. We will make it for you.” And make them we did; in the perfect glass served with a little napkin to catch the drips, an umbrella if appropriate, a decorated little stick to hold pickled mushrooms, olives, onions or maraschino cherries, a slice of orange or a perfectly cut lemon or lime. This menu of drink options, elegantly typed, slipped through my fingers and into the trash. No one will buy that.
The estate sale people, although quite busy with the stuff, took the time to be kind and sensitive in handling all of our belongings and to the reality of the loss. Thank you Jim, Nadine, Jason, Lena, Sheri and Jessica. So kind.
I didn’t cry. Taking deep breaths, answering texts and taking calls from some of my amazing friends; Karen, Chere, Carol, Jamie and Steph, all brought comfort. My thoughtful daughter-in-law Camille, looming in and out all day, aware of my angst, offered a safe haven every few hours by phone and by text, is coming today. We’ll spend time with the three little grandchildren while she drives me around, laughter and stories coming from the three little passenger in the backseat.
Stranded that I am, we’ll go to the UPS store to mail the above painting of our house that has hung over the fireplace in the kitchen for years to be sent to my sister Julie in Los Angeles. Goodbye picture!
(We’re not ready to face the goodbye of loved ones yet. I’ll write about that later).
As I sit here in my comfy chair, soon to be moved to a more “sales orientated location,” I write today, an off day. Usually, I write this blog every other day but today was different. Perhaps, I will write every day once we are “out in the world” but today was truly different.
We’ve decided to move to Karen’s home on Sunday, getting situated before the Vikings game at noon. Tom can watch the game on her big screen TV while I go to Costco to order the food and supplies for his upcoming retirement party on the 27th. So much to do. So little time.
Who am I to complain or feel sad? We have the most exciting life that we could ever have dreamed, ahead of us. But, that’s the magic of Life. We are allowed to feel, to laugh, to cry, to whine, only moments later to rejoice. Who’s to say it should be different?
Are there rules regarding the order in which we feel? Should sadness only be reserved for sad times and joy for happy times? It’s ironic how we often laugh at wakes and funerals and cry at movies, having little to do with the state of our lives at the time.
I give myself permission to feel a little sad, however fortunate we may be, in the process of letting go of a lifestyle that has so much enriched our lives and filled us with a lifetime of memories.
Perhaps a year from now while living in Kenya, we will cry when we witness a lioness and her cub sitting along the road as we drive to the grocery store or laugh when a zillion tsetse flies are flying around our heads while we cook outdoors at the braai.
Ah, Life, thank you for being so rich.