As we packed up the house this past week, and walked out the door to spend the night in our new home, I looked around the rooms at the emptiness of them. The pictures were off the walls, the furniture had been carried out. There was nothing left except an old chair or two and a sack of trash here and there. The sun had set, the day was done, and we were exhausted.
Pausing at the door, I took a deep breath and told my husband, “I’m
sad. This is sad.” He sweetly replied, “Well we can bring sleeping
bags back and stay here. ” I giggled. “No, it’s not that. It’s just that there are lots of good memories here.”
Memories of birthdays, Christmases, celebrations of many kinds. There are memories of family, friends, snowed in days, and dog dribble.
And there are memories of my dad, who died barely 3 weeks ago. Those are the memories I don’t want to leave.
The house I’m moving from is the last place I saw him walk. That’s the last place I saw him alive. And it makes me sad.
I’m leaving that place. And it almost feels like I’m leaving him and his memories. I can still see him coming down the hall into the kitchen. I can hear the crinkling of the Chips Ahoy Chocolate Chip Package being peeled back. And then there he goes, back down the hallway to the bedroom with a handful of cookies in his big old paw of a hand.
Or I see him with his coffee cup struggling down the hallway, sloshing his coffee. My husband used to tell a joke about him. He’d say, “My father-in-law doesn’t drink coffee, he spills most of it.”
The last time he was here was at Thanksgiving. My sister insisted we watch a movie. He finally agreed, even though he’d already seen it. He laid on the floor with my sister and we laughed and laughed.
I sit in this house right now, the house I’m moving from. I don’t have internet at my new place yet, so I come here to blog. I’m alone in this quiet house, but if I sit real still, close my eyes, and listen hard, I can hear my dad. I hear him holler for me to come fix the TV in the bedroom because he’s pushed the wrong button on the remote, or figure out how to get to his email on the computer, or get his basket of pills out of his truck.
I see him laying on the end of the bed, on his stomach, snoring with the TV blaring when I come home from work. I only wish I could hear him snore one more time. Just one more. I wish I had more coffee spills to clean and TV remotes to fix.
But I can’t look back, I have to move forward.
I have new memories to make. New roads to travel.
I wish he was here to travel them with me. I wish we were making memories still. I want him to see my chicks. I want him to stay in my new house. We laid laminate flooring instead of carpet, simply for the ease of cleaning up coffee spills.
I’m moving ahead, but there will be times on my journey, I must pause to remember my dad.
Just for a moment, but not too long.
I have promises to keep,
and miles to go before I sleep,
and miles to go before I sleep.