I couldn’t sleep last night, so I wrote this.
It was about 1230am. I had to be up at 6am. And my brain just wouldn’t shut down. I’m sure it had something to do with the 830pm cup of coffee, but my God I was dragging after the days events. I’m actually sure it had a lot more to do with the days events, so I decided to write and hoped it would quiet my soul a little.
I did sleep later than planned, 830am. Which was nice, but threw any chance of getting anything accomplished at home out the window. I had been gone most of Saturday, and it was looking like most of Sunday was booked, as well. I wanted to go and finish my grocery shopping and hit the bank and gas station again, as well as head out to my aunt’s for her candle sale. I had also received a text from one of my other aunts that they were opening up the farm to family to come and get anything that we wanted before the rest of the items were donated. I thought of these things while I made up my morning glass of water and popped some Motrin for this never ending headache that I’ve been plagued with. I yoga’d and showered and dressed, made coffee, and called my aunt to see if she was ready for us. I text Chase’s aunt to see if he could hang out there for a few hours this afternoon while I made the trip to the farm, and headed out.
My aunt lives in an outlying town near Toledo, and in preparation for the town’s festival, traffic was a clusterfuck. We found somewhere to park, and walked to my aunt’s. The previous evening she had been at the farm with other family and they found letters from my dad when he had been in the service. She gave me these, along with the letter from Papaw to my dad, and I stood at her table and read the letters from my dad to his family. His hand writing was exactly the same and he spoke of having bought a guitar finally and making friends – and enemies. He had also apparently injured his arm somehow and had refused a medical discharge, and apologized to them for not taking the opportunity to come home. He stated that he wanted an honorable discharge, though. Seeing my dad’s familiar hand writing was bittersweet. I was overjoyed to have another piece of his history, but it tore at my heart that he is no longer here to tell me the back stories to the letters.
I hung out there for awhile, chatting with my aunt while Chase played with her niece, her sisters daughter. I called my cousin to see when she was going to be at the farm, and left my aunt’s shortly after to head out there.
After dropping Chase off to his aunt – once again, thank the higher powers for this woman – and grabbing a cursed energy drink and downing more Excedrin than I should have, I set out on what I believed would be my last drive to the farm that was my second home as a child.
How can I begin to explain the deep sadness I felt as I made that drive? I wasn’t even there yet to feel the emptiness of a home that was once so full of life. I have made this drive so many times in the past 12 years. I remember when the road was repaved, previously so filled with potholes from farm equipment that my junk vehicles were lucky to make it there in one piece. I previously spoke of this road in Sunday Visitation, how I know it better than I know myself. But it was like I was seeing it for the first time this time. The trees changing with the season, and the sun shining on the last warm day in the foreseeable future – I should have enjoyed the drive. But I didn’t.
And as I pulled up the driveway, slow because of the ruts, I already saw some changes.
The front porch swing was gone and the cattle. Instead of the multitude of vehicles I was used to at family gatherings, only my twin cousins vehicles were present. I parked, sighed deeply, and grabbed my cigarettes and Monster. It was going to be a hard day.
The garage once so full that there were only walking paths, was basically bare. Two large tables held some odds and ends. Some old work benches and a chest freezer remained, and that was the extent of it. I shook my head in disbelief. It was here that I sang my song to my dad and uncle and their friends. Here where my dad and uncle were supposed to be wrapping our Christmas presents and instead played with the remote control cars, laughing loud enough for us to hear inside.
And it was the same through the rest of the house. Rooms once full to busting sat bare save some knick knacks and large cabinets. I wandered the rooms in disbelief, and as I glanced at some of the left over items I wondered how someone hadn’t wanted this item or that item, now taking it to put in my own home. My cousins and I were mostly somber as we slowly walked the home. It was like all the loss was finally hitting home. They kept handing me things – “take this.” Or, “here, you take one and we’ll each take one and then we each have one,” Mamaw apparently liked things in threes. There were some jokes made regardless though, finding humor in life is just part of our blood. There was also catching up to be done from the last few months since none of us make the effort to get together nearly enough. We talked about the upcoming holidays and how we needed to do something to celebrate, despite evrything. Because of everything.
I was only there for about three and a half hours, but it felt like an entire day. I walked out to the barn, hay was stacked there as always – but now there was a sign “make offer.” Ugh. The old homegrown strawberries sign sat leaning against the barn, and the fountain that had been dug for Mamaw by dad and my uncle’s sat still, growing algae. The fields were overgrown a little, and bees were overtaking the long porch in the absence of my Papaw’s diligent care. My heart was breaking as I saw the place I knew so well in such disrepair.
I hope a beautiful young family buys my grandparents place, and fixes it up and makes it their own. I hope they work the land, and raise their family there, and that someday their children bring their children there, and that it is filled with happiness and love, laughter and the wonderful smells of home cooked meals again. Because that’s what this home was to me, and it doesn’t deserve to just sit and be so sad and desolate, nor be demolished after my grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins worked so hard to make it such a wonderful place.
I came home with Clarice loaded down with mementos, a large fountain that my cousins husband had helped me load into my vehicle now was my responsibility. I managed to get the bulky 100lb item unloaded onto a dolly, and wheeled it where I wanted it in the yard. The bruise on my knee will remind me that it’s okay to wait for someone to help with large heavy bulky items for about a week I’m sure. Grandma helped me wash up the beautiful knick knacks and table decor and helped me find places in the house to put them. Not her family, not her responsibility, but she helped me anyway.
There are pieces of my loved ones scattered through out my home now. And while they are material things and material things don’t take away the pain of the loss, at least I have a piece of them.