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.