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Re-wash of grief
Posted: Wednesday, July 22, 2015 2:25 PM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 2105

After 3 years since my father passed away, my parents' home is being prepared to be sold. It's a long story, I had hoped it would be purchased by a family member, but it's not.

The process of selling the home, the many strangers walking through, ripping up carpets, throwing the drapes to the floor, tearing, ripping and stripping it down to make it "attractive to buyers." Strangers walking in and out of my parents' home not understanding, not knowing what this house meant to my parents, how they loved it, how I loved it, how it was a dream to them to finally have a home of their own. They worked so hard to get it and for me growing up, it was heaven, finally being able to live in a house that we could call our own, to finally have a garden. It was heaven, it was wonderful.

The process is so cold, so impersonal, so painful. My mom had those drapes custom made, my uncle's brother installed that floor, my dad put up those shelves, the garage where my dad built all of the cabinets and his workbench, the Meyer lemon trees. The house has been wiped clean of any trace of my parents, of the events of their life, the Thanksgiving dinners, the floor mounded with Xmas gift for their grandchildren.

Since my dad passed away, I would check on the house every week, walk through it, pick some lemons, do some cleaning. I could almost pretend they were still there, my mom and dad, furniture, pictures remained as they were. Now, it's all gone, everything. This is painful.

Mrs. Braxton
Posted: Wednesday, July 22, 2015 9:11 PM
Joined: 9/12/2012
Posts: 929

I am so you were not able to purchase it. When we sold my dream house it was hard that the buyers did not want to leave it just how it was...
I look at it with gratitude that a least I was able to live there for 15 years.
You have lots of lovely memories and pictures too.

I hope it gets better for you.

Jo C.
Posted: Wednesday, July 22, 2015 10:31 PM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 11988

Dear KML, I understand. What a beautiful tribute you have written of what that home meant to you. So much love there.

When we had to sell our parent's home after their deaths, it was a poignant and heartbreaking process. Each time a piece of furniture went out of the house, after all closets and cupboards were emptied, all of it tugged at my emotions. It was like losing them all over again.

On the last day, right before we turned over the key to the house for the buyer, my husband and I did a last walk through. It was so empty; stripped of everything they had been. I swear I could hear the faint echoes of all the times we spent together with them and all that had been during the better times. I could almost see my mother sitting in her chair smiling and laughing and my step-dad chuckling along with her.

They loved their home and were so cozy and content there. Now, all that was left were the faint echoes of what would never be again . . . I saw the tears in my husband's eyes as mine fell down my cheeks. Walking away was actually painful.

So hard . . .


Posted: Thursday, July 23, 2015 12:08 PM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 2105

Thank you for understanding. It is exactly like losing them all over again.
Posted: Thursday, July 23, 2015 12:32 PM
Joined: 10/6/2012
Posts: 924

KML, thanks so much for sharing this sad experience as many of us will be faced with this situation. I go back and forth with the decision about selling my home. So many memories: the living room where the Christmas tree stood, the corner where we had our daughter's crib, the backyard pool with all the friends. No one cares because it's just real estate. Luckily, you'll always have those memories. And for the new family that buys the house, they'll tear down and rip out everything so that they can create their own version of home and have generations of their own memories. Best wishes and peace during this time, Debra.

Posted: Thursday, July 23, 2015 10:46 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 4122

it is iike losing them again.....all things depend on the meaning we attach to thoughts are with you...sit with it, recall the memories perhaps in a journal and know that no one can rip out your fond memories or take them rom you- when my mom sold our family home after my father died he took for me the dress sign which was hung on hooks..."7509" I cherish it---is there anything in th house you can take? A rock from the garden, trellis, carpet,any keepsake/

Thoughts are with you

Posted: Friday, July 24, 2015 10:28 AM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 2105

I have taken some things, my mom's hope chest, some chairs my dad salvaged from somewhere, a lucky horseshoe over the backyard door. I have some things.

I don't do well with loss. It takes me a long, long time to get used to it. We lived in a really bad neighborhood and this move to this neighborhood in my parents' home was livesaving for us. They took such pride, they were the last of their family to buy a home and were looked down on by their families because we had always rented. I remember one of my aunts had African Violets and they were so pretty and I asked her if I could have one, she said no, not until your parents buy a home. So the purchase of this home, was a huge accomplishment for them. They were in their early 50's when they bought. I have pictures of the home inside and out and those will help me, I know.

I'm going to try to take cuttings from the lemon trees this weekend, hopefully, they will take. I was fortunate to live there for awhile. I was fortunate the home wasn't sold for three years after my father's death and I was still able to visit it and just sit in the quiet and remember.

My mom would do something very funny when preparing for Thanksgiving dinner. She'd get up early to start cooking and preparing. She would wash the turkey and have it sitting on the counter with its legs crossed, like a person sitting. It just cracked me up when she did that. That was my mom, sense of humor. I have some of my dad's tools, he had quite a collection over the years. So I will take comfort in those things.

Last weekend I had the opportunity to be in the house by myself, I hugged the walls and I laid down on the floor in my old room and remembered how I felt that first day we moved in. I was so excited to have a backyard, I slept outside in my sleeping bag. My mom, dad and I went to Pioneer Chicken and got food to go and ate outside in the backyard that first night in our home. My dad did some cement work in the backyard and he put our initials into the cement. I have those wonderful memories.

King Boo
Posted: Wednesday, July 29, 2015 4:46 PM
Joined: 1/9/2012
Posts: 3521

It is kind of agonizing. There are days when I can be practical; there are other days, when I am immobile, frozen. How can it be that they are gone when so much of their physical things are left behind? Going back to clean out the house was either pure torture, or a methodical, blank of emotion robotic event. I waxed between weeping hysterically, or having tears fall non stop for 4 hours while going about the awfully weird and sad motions.
I am still a bit in crisis about it. I can only get so far. . .I have boxes of stuff to still go through. Will I ever be able to complete it? It will soon be 8 years for one parent - only 4 months for the other, only a room full of things. . . .but the little pile sitting in the middle of my garage remains untouched for now.. . . .merely a few photos, string of rosary beads, a crystal toothpick holder. I was ruthless in cleaning out the first 3 days after Dad's death.......I just can't bring myself to put them away.
A family member bought their house. . . .I do not really find that of comfort. It's just wierd and odd, the one time I went back.
What I really, really, hated the most? The realtor who came in and actually made fun of the interior of the house. It must have hurt to take those curtains down.

Posted: Wednesday, July 29, 2015 5:28 PM
Joined: 7/26/2015
Posts: 26

Yes but what you feel about your Dad, your memories of those happy times, those can never be stripped away. It helps me when I remind myself that the suffering, the disease, the grief doesn't wipe away the joy that I shared with my Mom. In fact, that's what helped us get through the Alzheimer's together. I hope you can someday drive by the house and just smile at the happy memories.

Posted: Wednesday, July 29, 2015 5:32 PM
Joined: 7/26/2015
Posts: 26

Your post brought a smile to my face. My Mom used to chase us around the apartment with the turkey on Thanksgiving. We'd screech and yell, but we really loved it. Just goofy fun. She had a great sense of humor. Maybe a little morbid too.

Posted: Thursday, July 30, 2015 12:53 PM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 2105

King Boo:

Yes, the real estate business is cold. It did hurt to see my mom's drapes on the floor. Also, the house had beautiful honey-colored hardwood floors. The floor person part of the real estate crew, sanded them down and stained them a very dark brown. Makes we want to scream, really. Got an email from the real estate person saying for none of us to go to the house because it's in the process of "staging". They really do take over. I'm going over anyway, later in the evening, it still half belongs to me and I never liked being told what to do.

Couple of weeks ago, we had a garage sale. Some of my parents' neighbors came by, just to say how much they missed my parents. One neighbor started crying, then I cried and we were hugging each other. Just too much. I just haven't come to terms with losing the house, too, so much association of it with my parents.


I don't want to go over and drive by my parents' home after it's sold, too painful. When the real estate agent met with my sibling and I, she asked if I had any concerns about the sale, I said yes, I want it to be sold to a family who is going to love it and take care of it. She said her job was to get the highest price for it, but sometimes we get what we wish. No, not always.

What is it with our moms and their turkeys?? Very cute memory.

Because she's my mom!
Posted: Tuesday, August 11, 2015 11:18 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 737

KML-I do understand your sorrow. Fortunately, ten years after my dad passed away, my mom sold the home she and my dad built together, doing most of the work themselves. it probably would have killed me to have to ell that house. But she could no longer keep up the acreage. So she bought a house in the village, and moved 5,000 SF of stuff into a 2500 SF house! When we moved her closer to me in 2007, I had to get the house ready to sell. That was painful. Even though it wasn't THE house, we still enjoyed 10 years of family holidays in that house. It finally sold in the spring of 2009, and I now have 10, yes TEN, large under-bed plastic storage bins chock full of photos, memories, paperwork, poems, cards and family history for 4 branches of the family going back 5 generations.

Two days ago my daughters and I went through 6 of them to find photos for the celebration of life we are having for her on Sunday. We discovered she was camera-shy. Tons of photos, but she managed to either be the photographer or scoot out of the picture! But we laughed, and we cried while going through them. I imagine we will do that more than once in the future.

Sending you hugs.

Posted: Wednesday, August 12, 2015 3:41 PM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 2105

The home has sold. Hard to wrap my head around it, it's not going to be part of my family any more.

It has been sold to a young couple with three children. I guess that's a consolation, but I was hoping it could have stayed with us. I feel like my parents are still there, they loved it that much. It was home. I feel like this is the last straw for me, the finality, the last piece of them, wrapped up and sold off. They never wanted it sold, they wanted it to stay in the family. I'm sorry I could not make that happen.