Letting Go of the Place You Grew Up
I lifted the piece of plastic under the gutter drain and plucked a worm from the damp soil. I walked to the little girl at the end of my parents’ driveway, the gateway to 13 acres of beauty.
She was visiting with her parents, the people buying the property that’s been in my family 45 years. Her brother watched. At almost 7, he was the age I’d been when we’d bought the land.
“Do you like worms?” I asked the girl. I put the squiggling thing in her open, outstretched palm. “When I was a little girl growing up here, I found all kinds of creatures. Like turtles.”
Her brother stepped closer. Together, the children examined the worm and then placed it in the grass. As their 2-year-old brother stayed close to his parents, the two older children soon were on to another adventure, watching a circle of ants work to get a flying insect down their hole.
Life comes full circle. This chance meeting – the family had come out to walk the property but were not aware I’d be on site – felt like a handing off of a baton. And though it is the parents who are buying my folks’ property, it is the children whom I feel I’m handing a legacy. The place I grew up will become the home where they will grow up.
I get the impression this young family intends to stay here for a very long time. The children will become teenagers here, perhaps eventually nurse aging parents here, and then, as I did, go through belongings and decide what to keep and what to discard. The house will look different – the new owners plan to renovate it – but the attachment and love will be similar.
Having a young family buy the property is an answer to prayer. It helps knowing a new story will be written at the house. The chapters I wrote at that place will always be a part of me, and I will continue to talk and write about my experiences there, but I do feel a sense of newness in my own life, and that is helping me turn the property over to others. A new era is beginning.
Stretching out for what’s new is essential to healing. I don’t pretend that healing from a loss is ever complete on this Earth, but we can grow into a spot where we can smile again, love again, be excited about life again. We won’t focus on the loss as much, but on the blessings of the love.
What new pursuit or new situation is helping you look expectantly ahead?
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