My mom's house was the family's epicentre, but in a good way. And my mom was very much a part of our lives.
At the end of that day, once all the boxes and furniture had been moved out, my husband and I stood in my mom's empty basement to have one last look around. And we were both so overcome with emotion.
Even though we were only moving 1.5 km away -- which is a slow 20-minute walk or a quick 3-minute drive -- it felt to us like we were not only leaving the house, but also turning our backs on my mom. Though we continued to include her in all our daily activities, including traveling the continent and beyond, I know that my mom was left to feel incredibly lonely.
That entire day, Miranda Lambert's The House That Built Me continually played through my mind.
One year ago this month, I again briefly moved into my mom's house, but with my newborn son, while my mom was recuperating from one of her many hospital stays. It was an oddly comfortable feeling, just me and my mom, like old times. We had been alone in that house for 15 years after my dad died, and so, in a sense, it was like I really was able to go home again.
But I remember thinking that this would more than likely be the last time any of us spent any significant time in that home. The house that built me.
And now here we are, one year later. My mom is now gone, and her house is inhabited by renters.
Her beautifully large garden hadn't been attended to in the last year, and so it had gone to weed. It broke my heart to do this, but I hired a landscaping company to clean it out and lay down some sod and an additional parking pad where my mom's vegetables once grew. I think she would have liked the end result.
And I hired a property management company to look after the house and the tenants, which has already been a huge nightmare in and of itself. But I don't have the time or energy to micro-manage the management company, and so I have to let go and put my trust in them.
But when we visited the house last week to drop something off for the renters, I felt like a stranger in my own home. And I couldn't bring myself to go inside and see someone else living in my mom's house.
All I can do is hope that she's all right with the decisions we've made so far.
My daughter keeps telling me that she wants to live in her Nonna's house when she grows up, and I absolutely know that would make my mom so incredibly happy.
And maybe by that time we'll finally be able to build that in-ground pool that I've coveted for all these years.
Hopefully my daughter will allow me to come over and swim in it.
I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here it's like I'm someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself
If I could walk around I swear I'll leave
Won't take nothing but a memory
From the house that built me