Last night was the last day that I saw the inside of my grandparents’ house. By this time tomorrow, my grandmother will be settled into her new life in central Florida with my aunt and her family.
It’s the end of an era.
My grandparents bought that house after Hurricane Andrew, and since then it had acted as a “home base” of sorts. No matter what any of my grandparents’ children or grandchildren were going through, we were always welcome to enter the doors and stay for as long as we wanted or needed. My grandparents always made it a point to be openhanded with whatever they had, including their home. Generosity is their legacy.
As I looked around the all but barren rooms, many memories came back. Memories of parties we had thrown, family dinners we had eaten, guests we had hosted, fun times, hard times, obstacles that were faced and eventually overcame… nearly 30 years of life events, all in one family. We thought-we had hoped-that there would be 30 more.
However, my grandfather died suddenly and my grandmother ultimately made the difficult, albeit crucial, decision to sell the house.
Granted, the idea that this “safety net” is no longer under our family causes some anxiety, at least on my part. Even after my visits became scarcer after my grandfather passed (too painful), I still felt some sense of security knowing that I, or any of us, could always go back…
That is, until we couldn’t.
And so it is with life. When we are faced with major changes that disrupt the status quo, we could succumb to fear, bury our heads in denial, or wallow in the past-none of which is productive.
Instead, as I gave my grandmother a “see you later hug” (because this isn’t good-bye just yet) I took one more look around the house… and I smiled.
I smiled because I was privileged to be a witness to all of the family history created within its walls.
I smiled because although I will miss this place, my grandmother is free to live out the rest of her years in relative peace.
I smiled because this marks the next chapter in our family’s history-and change is what you make of it, and I plan on embracing it as we move forward, hopefully in the right direction.
9100 Cutler Ridge Drive: Thank you. For everything.