Thursday, October 30, 2014

House and home

The other night at my writers' group, we did an exercise where we had to write for ten minutes; whatever we wrote had to include four words that were written on a piece of paper.  The four words we got this time were

car, yellow, promise, farmhouse

I thought I'd share what I wrote.  (Keep in mind it was unedited and spontaneous.)

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I spent the last week of Mom's life at the apartment with her and Dad.  On the Thursday I took Dad's car and went over to the farmhouse to pick up a few things.  Mom wanted to be buried in the blue and white dress she'd got for their 40th anniversary party, so I went upstairs to the wardrobe to get it.  I also got panty hose and underwear from a drawer and took a pair of slingback shoes out of the closet.  I didn't know if they would put shoes on Mom in the casket but I thought we should be prepared.

I wandered through the house, which looked, as my brother had warned, like a bomb had gone off.  I looked at the odd rectangles of yellowed wallpaper where pictures had been removed from the wall.  I looked into the bedroom where, just 6 weeks before, Rich and I and Jonathan had slept, with Mom sick down the hall and no one knowing just how sick she was.  My other brother had said, "It's a house, but it's not a home."  He was right.  The rooms seemed desolate, with no more promise of warmth and laughter within their walls.

I went outside, where it was sunny and much warmer than inside.  I was glad to drive away.  I'd gotten what I was looking for -- Mom's dress, Dad's suit, a few odds and ends -- at that moment there was no reason to stay.


photo by Alycia Adams-MacEachern - October 2, 2014

8 comments:

  1. Interesting writing exercise, and a powerful result, Jeannie. They say home is where the heart is, and your heart is so clearly with your family that anywhere they are is where I bet you find home.

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    1. That's true, Tim. I believe that. It reminds me of that song from Fiddler on the Roof: "Far From the Home I Love."

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  2. Home is the family who lives within. I hope for that house that a new family will make it their home, and as you carry your fond memories, may the home that you remember live on in your heart. God bless.

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    1. Thanks, Sarah - that's truly a beautiful blessing.

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    2. Amen . . . Lifting this as a prayer for you today, dear Jeannie.

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  3. This is a beautiful piece of writing, Jeannie. I agree with Sarah's hopes for your home. May the Lord bless you as you continue to make your house a home for your family, through the good times anda bad. (This made me think of how my mother just sold her home in Texas. I'm here in Turkey, and have felt loss at the house being gone. Just a house, really, nothing like losing your mother, but it's a small grief.) Grace to you, friend. Praying for you now.

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    1. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers, Betsy. I think it is a loss to lose your mom's home -- we have memories associated with certain places and when the place is no longer part of our lives it can really leave a void.

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