The Long Goodbye

As I mentioned yesterday, Otto’s house has sold.  Well, sold in so far as we  now have to complete a bunch of paper work and possesion will be in 10 days (Canadian laws around real estate are, well, forgive me but they are much, much, much saner than the American ones).

I came in from a run at the gym on a Sunday afternoon, and Mr. Spit had just gotten off the phone with the realtor and then his brother. We had been negotiating back and forth and eventually, over the process of a week, met in the middle. It’s not as much money as we might have liked, but it’s a good offer. It’s all over but the signatures.

And, on my part, one final request. Perhaps I can put it into context this way, by mentioning this – the day we sold the house was the Feast of All Saints. The Anglican faith doesn’t do all that much with the feast day, but we do mark it. We note both the formal, cannonized saints we recognize, but perhaps also the people who have gone before us, who formed part of who we are.

I am, well, I’m pleased that Otto’s house has sold. It’s a load off Mr. Spit’s mind and that relieves me. And yet. . .

I asked if we could push out the possession date almost 2 weeks. I need to go back one last time. Not to see the house, but to see the garage. My father and Otto built that garage, and it is the last link to my father. I need to stand in it and look around. I need to say good bye to not just my father in law, but my father.

I know I don’t often talk about my father. He has been dead for 12 years and gone from my life for much longer than that. I have realized in the last few days that there are fewer and fewer people who knew him, who can tell me about him, left. In some senses, as we say good bye to the house, we say good bye to Otto. I remove the picture of him in my mind, sitting in his chair watching the Cubs lose at baseball, yet again, smoking Benson and Hedges 100’s. I replace it with the Willow River, knowing that we have sent his ashes more northernly. I say good bye in a different way. I acknowledge the loss just a bit more, I accept a bit more of a change.

So too, in the middle of the garage will I say goodbye to my father in a different way. So too will I hold my memories close about me, turning them over, tossing them as one might toss dice, trying to see a different point of view. And I will realize that time so often my friend, smoothing out the blunt and painful edges of difficult things, bas become my enemy, removing from me even more details about a life I once lived. When the last thing left standing still stands, my scattered collections of memorories and fragments will blow away.

This is the hardest, the most mysterious, the very worst part of life, this long good bye.

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6 Responses to The Long Goodbye

  1. a says:

    It seems like we’re always saying goodbye to someone in life, and then we give certain possessions or locations magical powers to hold that person in this world still. I suspect that’s how many people become hoarders.

    I hope your trip brings you peace – saying goodbye is difficult under any circumstances, and when it feels like there will be no more reminders, well, that’s very wrenching.

  2. HereWeGoAJen says:

    I’ll be thinking about you while you say goodbye.

  3. debby says:

    I’ve often thought about the fact that, for most of us, we will live our days in our time, in our way, and then we will die. We will be remembered for a time by our contemporaries, but then they too will go, and there will be no one to remember us at all, no one left that even remembers the same things that we remembered in our own life time. They will be remembering something new. Their memories will be their own. Their memories will not include us, or anything that we know now.

  4. Kristin says:

    Abiding with you as you say your goodbyes.

  5. Jamie says:

    I can completely understand. Looking at something or holding something in your hands can make memories spark a little brighter.

    It will be bittersweet, but I hope you enjoy your time there.

    Thinking of you . . .

  6. Heidi says:

    I’ll hold your hand if you need while you say goodbye.

    Love and hugs

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