Hang on with me now, this is going to be difficult. I’m going to tell you about the house I can see when I look out my window. There’s a “For Sale” sign in the yard that popped up sometime this weekend. That house belongs to Mr. Pop and me. It was our first home and we were its first occupants. We moved out of that house when we had more stuff than room. We had an opportunity to purchase a larger house, the one we live in now, and we took it. We moved across the street and for about six years the other house has been a rental house. When our last tenants moved out we decided that we no longer wanted the headaches of being landlords, plus with the housing market the way it is here, selling the house now is the wisest thing to do. With that all said, I’m taking you over there and we’ll see what memories are still lurking in those empty rooms.
Opening the front door, I see the vision of Mr. Pop and me the first time we walked in that door and the pride we felt as we entered our very first home together. We were human smiling machines and we were stuck on grin.
I see the blinds there at the glass doors. Those are the ones that our little dog, Shaky, decided to chew on one night. We got them repaired later.
As I look out on the patio I see Mom cat and her little kittens she gave birth to right there in a little box that I had decorated for her for the occasion. I see those little kittens all snuggled up with their brand new momma cat. I see them there and I see them when they were old enough to scamper around and get into all kinds of trouble. We kept Mom Cat, Claire and Grimley and gave the other two to a friend.
When I look back into the living room, I see the Christmas tree the year that we were hunting for Grimley and found her curled up among the presents. The memory is fresh even though it’s years and years old.
In the dining room I see the table all set and ready for Christmas dinner to be served. That was the year that Mr. Pop became ill just before dinner. I had prepared enough food to feed an army and no one to feed but me. In a sort of Christmas pity I opened a gift bottle of wine and drank it. Not my proudest moment.
Oh, there are just so many memories in this house and outside it too. In the back yard I see all the plants that we lovingly placed there so many years ago. My how they have grown. I’m pretty sure they still remember me. They watched me when I cried and they watched Mr. Pop and I admire their beauty as we cared for them. The two big oaks in the front yard were barely seedlings when we planted them. The palm we planted in hopes of one day being able to hook a hammock to it is finally big enough to fulfill that purpose.
Now the hardest part, going to the little fenced in area of the yard. You see that was our little pet cemetery. That’s where almost all of them are now. Some were pets and some were strays that we cared for as much as they would allow. Each time we had to bury one of them, we planted a plant on its grave. The cemetery is a garden. I have to leave them now for the last time so it’s important to me that I place their memories safely and deeply inside my heart. That’s the part I get to keep forever.
See? That’s why I had to do this. I had to go back over there one more time and pluck my memories from their special places. I had to take what was mine. I had to remember all the happy times and the sad times. I had to recall each animal that now resides beneath the garden. I had to retrieve their memories. A lot of my life was there.
To anyone else the house would appear to be empty and now it officially is, because I have a very full heart stuffed with memories. I think I got them every one. I tried to find as many as I could. And yes, I sure have cried. Sometimes it’s just so damned hard to let go, say goodbye and walk away from a part of your life, even if you get to take with you a heart stuffed full with memories.
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