I’ve been working on getting Dad’s house cleaned out with the much appreciated help from family.
There’s a LOT of stuff in this big ole house but, each day, the house becomes more and more empty yet more and more unorganized.
I’ve also found it challenging to clean out a house while you’re still trying to live in it!
Nikki visited the Homeland…
Nikki was here for 2 weeks to attend Dad / Grandpa’s funeral and to clear out some things she was storing here at Grandpa’s house.
It was great having Nikki here for hugs, support and help. As usual, no matter what the circumstances, we always manage to have some fun.
Nikki flew back to Homestead last Saturday.
I briefly considered taking a couple weeks to take Nikki back to Homestead FL in the van. But it was too much to get the van road-trippin’-ready in such a short period of time.
I also wasn’t sure I’d want to come back!
In retrospect… with everything going on with COVID19 it was probably best I stayed here in the Homeland. As of today, Illinois is under a Shelter In Place order until at least April 7.
Taking a break from the chaos…
There are times when I just need a break from the chaos of cleaning out the house.
Sometimes I just sit on the sofa in the living room reminiscing about the creation of Mom and Dad’s home.
They purchased this home over 24 years ago as a fixer-upper (growing up, most of our homes were fixer-uppers as Dad enjoyed doing the handy work).
I ponder a while as I look at the walls Dad so diligently covered with Victorian looking wallpaper (I’m not sure it’s actually Victorian – it’s just what I think of when I look at it).
In my mind I picture Dad brushing the paste on to the wallpaper as wayward splatters of paste fall to the floor. Then, I see Dad slapping the pasted wallpaper up on the wall and gently smoothing out each and every wrinkle.
My eyes move to the original woodwork that Dad refurbished and stained. As I admire each and every brushstroke I think to myself “my Dad did that!”.
I remember how it felt when Mom and Dad moved in to this house. It was exciting to see the work in progress.
Every time we visited Mom and Dad there would be something new to be shown and funny stories to hear about Dad’s handy-man mishaps.
The wall of memories…
I glance at the picture wall where Dad hung pictures of the family as it grew through the years. The very top picture is their wedding picture. Below the wedding picture are various pictures of Mom, Dad, myself, my brother and the grand-kids.
Now, as each picture comes down, it leaves a hole – but the memory lives on forever.
In my mind I travel back in time, remembering the family get-together’s, holiday gatherings, birthday shin-digs, special celebrations and all the times we just stopped in to visit.
Over the years, this house has been filled with good times along with some challenging times.
One challenge in particular involved Mom – who lived the last 5 years of her life attached to a ventilator.
Mom was not bedridden, she was simply attached to a machine that breathed for her. She could do everything except breath on her own.
Mom and Dad traveled a time or two while she was on the ventilator but it was difficult to travel with all the medical necessities she needed. It wasn’t long before they decided to put their traveling days behind them.
Mom lived at home and Dad took care of her. I learned how to care for someone on a ventilator so I could help out, when needed. But I have to admit… it was scary caring for Mom on the ventilator.
Thankfully, Mom could do most of her vent care herself and usually just needed someone to assist.
It’s sad to see the house emptying out and all of Mom and Dad’s worldly possessions being dispersed among family, charity donations or, when necessary, the trash bin.
Everything I touch holds a memory and it’s not always easy to keep moving forward. But I have to believe that we’re making room for the next family to come in and fill this house with their own precious memories.