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January 5, 2022

Moments that Define Us: On Moving and Letting Go

Photo by ROMAN ODINTSOV on Pexels.

**Written to a friend struggling with selling a family cottage.  She felt that somehow selling was giving up on her grandmother and her legacy.  She bemoaned the fact that they had always simply called the place “home” and never given it a proper name like other beach cottages. I needed her to know that it was okay; okay to just let go…okay to remember and okay to grieve.

The house never needed a name for it was always “home”

As much as the sand beneath our feet absorbs our weight and burdens and allows us to expose the most vulnerable parts of ourselves;

As much as the sound of the tidal water or the smell of pluff mud soothes us and promises a change for redemption…

So has this house.

This house; this place knew me before I knew myself…before I even existed, when we walked the shores together, my hand in yours – or as a figment of your imagination – your promise of a future to carry on your beautiful legacy.

This house was our bond – shells gathered along the way, when walking for miles couldn’t bring him back to you or to me. This house bore the weight of those moments – moments that break and build us…the cracks in our mortar that are strengthened when repaired. We, too, grew strong and then weak again, like this house.

When the tidal waters ebbed and flowed, and pulled us deeper into the waves, waves that crashed against us and over us until we felt like we may drown because the undercurrent seemed too powerful to bear, I know it may well have been; it may have all been too much, had it not been for this house.

This house gave us the strength to bear what was needed, even when it seemed impossible.

This house became counselor, pillar, host, and confidante, keeper of our deepest secrets and our overwhelming fears…and joys. A place laughter resonated deeply, beyond petty disagreements or insignificant divides and brought us truth and honesty.

With simple gestures, it healed…my nurse-mate when I was too weary; my compass when I was lost; my beacon to guide me when you were no longer here. Its walls still embrace me; its wooden boards speak the language of my soul. I hear in its song that of my own…its legacy is your legacy, and mine. Physical embodiment of a past, a present, an undetermined future…and how can I begin to imagine that future without this house?

This part of me, intertwined into my very being, woven into me like an elaborate tapestry string – pull it, and I may fall apart. Its song colors my life’s painting – without it, am I opaque?

Its words become my own and spill onto the page out of some ancient part of me that longs to have meaning.  To have a story.   To hold onto the things that define me.

How can I let go?

Even the thought feels like some secret, cruel betrayal. This house is not done; its purpose is still strong. It feels like I’m giving up on myself and on you. When I close my eyes, I see myself returning to it, and to you. My grandchildren surround me, and this house opens itself to them.

Yet, I know it’s time.

This house will once again speak to me and despite my fears, I will listen. My grandchildren – they will know you both. They will feel your embrace in their own way…

For a house that does not need a name and a woman who was larger than life itself always find a way of being remembered.

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