Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Love Story

"In many ways this is a love story, an appreciation of relationship: between a man and a woman; a father and daughter; even a family and a house, connections that were made, enriched, and changed by the events that occurred. Almost before I started, I received the gift of a surprise romance; I fell in love and found a partner to support and sustain me the whole way. I developed a new kind of relationship with my father, and I was able to review my family’s past in the process of cleaning out the family home. I experienced the privilege of being present for both its creation and destruction, each of us having to say goodbye to something different but equally special; our childhood, our married life, our health and independence. It is impossible to go through the illness of a parent or any other large, stressful event such as cleaning out a family house without relationships changing, for better or worse; it is how those changes are handled, how we allow them to be transformed and to transform us, that makes the story, makes us who we are.

This is a story about a six-month experience, emptying out the family home, captured in moments, some bad and some glorious. I was there for hours at a time, month after weary month, but it is these scattered events that shine in my memory. For so long I dreaded the looming nightmare that was my Dad’s house. I knew it would take a great deal of strength and stamina to clean up the debris of lifetimes; it was a mess, in ways I could barely comprehend. I wasn’t prepared for how hard it would be to see my childhood home in such a sorry state. Sixty years of living needed to be cleaned out and sorted and kept and thrown away. At times it felt like we would never come to the end of stuff, of things that needed to be tossed or shredded or sold or preserved or hauled off to the junkyard."

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