I remember driving to the Family Compound from the funeral home after Mom died. She had passed earlier that day, and Dad had asked me to take care of everything. So he signed the one document he had to legally then left to go home with my sister and her children. They were a welcome diversion and pillow of love surrounding him.
And I went to the d=funeral home – which apparently was the country club of funeral homes in the area. I say that because I have been to some very exclusive country clubs that were not as nice as this funeral home. I am sure I sat on a couch that was at least $10,000, maybe more. That is what happens when you are not familiar and just pick the place that seems like ti is the most respectful. It was. And beautiful. They had bronze sinks in the bathroom.
I had not slept in days, as taking care of Mom and talking to doctors, and taking care of Dad, and making calls to family and my own emotions of the situation kept me from rest. I was exhausted. And ti had not hit me yet, but I knew that it would, which was something I truly dreaded. Sometimes at first you are so tired and overwhelmed and busy taking care of everything, that the death of a close loved one doesn’t sink in immediately.
And so I was driving back tot he compound and trying desperately to stay awake and exhaustion crept into every part of my being. And I was praying and talking to Mom as well. And all of the sudden, I saw a deer jump out of the woods as I was taking a curve. This deer looked at me straight in the eyes, and almost, it seemed, looked right into me. And I knew in an instant that this was my mother sending me a sign. I slammed on the breaks so as not to hit the deer, and I still have no idea how I missed her. But she trotted away. And I took that as Mom saying the she was fine, beautiful even, but that I had better stay awake.
I did not have any trouble after that. That jolt and message woke me up better than an entire pot of coffee.
The anniversary of her death was not easy. I sat out on my deck, where I am sitting as I write now, and I cried. It was morning, and I was having coffee. And then I saw her, this beautiful doe running through the woods in the back yard. She was beautiful. She paused a moment to look at me, right in the eyes and she seemed to nod before running off again into the woods. And I knew, again her telling me that she was fine, and beautiful and happy where she was, in the Hands of God. It brought me great comfort.
And now I sit here on this deck, a house full of boxes and things needing to be packed. And leaving is bittersweet. This is the last place Dad “loved”. I say that because even though he lived at the assisted living facility, and they were truly wonderful to him, he did not feel like that was his home. He felt this was his home, or as close to it as he could get with Mom gone. This is where we laughed and planned the future. This is where we ate breakfast and dinners, and had family movie night.
And so in moving forward we have to say some goodbyes. This house, this place has been such a blessing, along with landlord’s who truly are amazing and generous people. But I also see that leaving this space is the best thing for me. While it sounds strange to say the new place has no memories of Dad, it is also good. It is a fresh start in a house where there are no reminders of pain. I will miss both my parents every day of my life, and I will carry them in my heart. I have wonderful memories of the parents I was blessed to have, who loved me unconditionally and were the best parents in the entire world.
And so I say, as I pack up the house, I am ready. I am ready to move forward and to make memories in a new home. To have a fresh start, to move forward with a life full of love and happiness and possibilities. And I say goodbye to this wonderful place.