Mountain Climbing: Releasing Parents’ Home Sparks Renewed Grief
I don’t want to tell you that I’m grieving again. Not that I ever really stopped, but after eight years without my Mom, it wasn’t intruding into my every hour or day in that heartbreaking way.
But lately, it has – in that heartbreaking way. In that way that hinders sleep. In that way that casts a pall over everything I do. I smile, but inside a part of me is crying.
I know what happened. I’m being called upon to let go of my parents’ home. I’ve known all along this is what I’d probably do. Sell. But the day was far away.
I had to sort through their things first, and as I did, I sorted through the tangle of sorrow, regret, depression and all the other complicated emotions that losing the heart of your life brings.
The intensity of the grief over losing Mom subsided five years out. Now I face another grief – losing the house.
New grief reopens old grief. It is a frustrating truth. It is like almost reaching the top of a mountain and then missing a hand hold. A cascade of rocks follow me down the slope.
I cling to the side. And then, with my fingers bleeding, I decide to climb again. Each time grief sends me backward, I decide to climb. I decide I must climb. I must survive, thrive. Somehow.
While I regain the gumption to climb again, I’ve revisited the question my husband and I had after Mom died.
Should we keep the house? We decided several years ago that the home isn’t suitable for us – Richard fell through the kitchen floor this past weekend. But now my thoughts return to the idea of building a new home there. It sits on 13 acres. It’s a beautiful lot. If I had a million dollars, I’d keep it forever.
I know I’m trying to cope with powerful fits of grief by considering these options, but the memories are so powerful, I’m compelled to consider any option, no matter how impractical.
As I mow my parents’ lawn, I’m bombarded. I pass the chain link gate my daddy held open while I learned to back out with the car. I cut around the dogwood trees Mom planted and over the spot she put her vegetable garden. I dodge fallen sticks under the row of pine trees, introduced to our yard when I was a first grader. I love the memories, but they hurt, too.
How do I let go? I’ve never been good at goodbyes. As a girl, I cried when my parents sold our family car. I was so upset, the salesman gave me a little hand broom to comfort me. And later as a young woman, I held onto every boyfriend to the bitter end. I’m no good at goodbyes. And yet, I’ve managed them.
I go through my grief, I strategize a future, and I forge ahead. I climb. No matter how many times I slip, I climb. No matter how much it hurts, I climb. With God’s help, I climb.
That’s the indomitable human spirit. That’s the resources lavished upon us by our Creator. That’s life defying the darkness of death.
Grief isn’t easy. It isn’t quick. But we climb.
Was there a time when you thought the worst of grief was over but the feelings washed over you again? What strategy did you use to face your “mountain” again?
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