By 2003, I had cleaned up one house, rehabbed another, and moved. Time flies when you are having fun they say; while I’m not sure about the fun, I stayed really busy. The house rehab saved my life. Losing my husband had meant the setting of my sun. There was no light and I groped through the darkness. I had sight, but couldn’t see. I badly wanted it all to end, but I still had a duty to my kids which couldn’t be relinquished by leaving them. The void reigned supreme, but this house, this needy, needy house called to me. It was so broken, so afflicted, so unloved. It needed me and only me. I could fix it, make it mine, and make it shine. And I did.
Now, it is seven years later and I live in that shiny house which I love and enjoy. But life goes on. A thinner, happier me is ready to get on with the next phase of my life. It’s time to downsize and take some of the burden of owning a large house off my shoulders. However, downsizing brings on a whole new set of problems. I had enough furniture to fill near overflowing a four bedroom 3600+ square foot house. Moving to a, hopefully, 2200 square foot house meant getting rid of more things. So, once again, came the decisions of what to keep and what to sell. But these decisions were harder; the clutter was gone and I was down to meat and bone. Each piece of furniture had a story or a memory attached. I loved those pieces either because I had bought them for our family or because they were a part of my parents’ house.
So many memories; so many stories told with joyful glee. I spent some time grieving loss of the furniture and wondering if it was the right thing to do for me or for my family. A part of their history would be gone; parts of mine would be out of reach forever. Saying goodbye is hard. I sell it all to friends, neighbors, and auctioneers and the furniture steadily moves out and away. Some stuff is given to a local charity for resale and other items are just trashed.
It’s done now. The living and dining rooms stand nearly empty. I sold my parent’s bedroom suite that they had bought early in their marriage. That was the hardest. But, honestly, I don’t really miss it. Truth to tell, I don’t miss any of it. I still have the memories and pictures of the furniture. My grandchildren can plan on being bored by the stories when I’m in my dotage. Perhaps, my children might even care enough to relate their own memories to their children.
But I’ve found that slimming down be it physically or just clearing out a house is freeing. I feel as though I can breathe again. Everything smells better, stays cleaner, and spacious rooms bloom with just a touch. I have stepped out of the void and am back on solid ground again. My home is no longer a museum. The mental cobwebs are swept away. I have found out a lot about myself and it’s all good. I can let go and be the better for it. Letting go of people is harder for me than letting go of possessions; I hope that is normal. R. Kelly’s song, “I believe I can fly” rings true for me now. To paraphrase the song, “I believe I can fly, I believe I can touch the sky, I think about it night and day, Spread my wings and fly away, I believe I can soar, I believe I can fly.”