I grew up on a farm in west central Minnesota, a mile from the nearest town of 300 people. We visited my mother's sister in Minneapolis often and, in my mind, urban life made my rural existence pale by comparison. I could hardly wait to graduate and leave small town life behind.

Fast forward thirty-five years. College, office jobs, marriage, the usual; except no children (by chance, not by choice). My husband's job layoff and subsequent heart attack turned our lives upside down. We found, without his income, we could no longer afford our city lifestyle. At the same time my mother, now 86, still lived on the family farm but had reached a point where she could no longer live there alone. We solved both problems by moving back home in December of 2006.

I envision this blog as a chronicle of our adaptation to rural life, as well as a home for my thoughts, opinions, memoirs, and maybe even recipes. ~January 15, 2007

This photo is courtesy of Gracey at Morguefile.com who is kind enough to allow this use of her photos for free. This is not a photo of the area where I live, but I chose it for its similarity. At some point I will replace it with a photo of our Minnesota farm. At this writing it is -10F so I will not be taking any outdoor photos anytime soon.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Sunday Scribblings - Goodbyes

This week's Sunday Scribblings prompt is goodbyes.

I don't know if I can write this post; I feel the tears starting already. On December 17, 2006, I said goodbye to my house. In doing so, I also said goodbye to my independence, my privacy and a good chunk of my self esteem. And I said goodbye to a lot of my "stuff" that I just could not keep. It wasn't our idea to move. J was unable to work for health reasons and the savings had run out. The house went into foreclosure. Selling was not an option; the house needed a lot of work to make it salable and there was not enough equity left to do it. Our only option was to vacate. I did not want to move but I had to start packing anyway.

This was a very personal and painful process for me. I am the kind of person who wraps her memories around things. Sometimes to the point of ridiculousness. I had unidentified movie ticket stubs and popsicle sticks from the 1960's. I suppose I thought I would make a scrapbook or something. This move forced me to choose what bits and pieces had real meaning and which had to be told goodbye. I gave some precious things to friends who would treasure them as I had done. Our niece who was setting up housekeeping for the first time was the happy recipient of the dishes and silverware I had purchased in my bachelor girl days (and was still using) and even some wedding gifts. I donated useful things to charity, and we took a literal ton of magazines and papers to the recycle lot. No, really. We added up how many grocery bags of paper goods went, in five trips, and their average weight. We topped 2000 pounds of recycling.

We are starting to settle into a routine here, but I have periods of melancholy when I think about our nice little house and our old lifestyle, and how it is all gone. I miss being able to do what I want, when I want. I miss being surrounded by all of my books, magazines, videos and mementos. I feel like a tip of an iceberg, where most of me (i.e., my stuff) is buried out of reach. I suppose time will heal these feelings, but for now, I am still saying goodbye.

Before I posted this, I saved the draft and went around to read other Sunday Scribblings. After reading about the significant losses of others, relationships, family members...I wondered if I should just chuck this post altogether. A part of me said no, grieving is grieving, whether for people, things or intangibles.


Janie Hickok Siess, Esq. said...

You made the right choice. Your post was heartfelt, compelling, and touching.

We are in the same place (our childhood homes) but under different circumstances. I chose to sell my house and move into my parents' house, but it was just across town and because my mother had to go to an assisted living environment. So my sister and I cleaned out the house, divided up her belongings, and we moved in with all of our stuff. It wasn't like I was trying to co-exist with my mother in her house surrounded by her stuff. I couldn't have done that, I don't think. But then, circumstances never forced me to try and all things can be accomplished if we try hard enough.

I will check back to follow your journey.

West Central Minnesota? I was born in Britton, South Dakota. Do you know where that it? I relate to midwestern life because we used to visit all the time. I still have relatives there.

Janie Hickok Siess, Esq. said...

Barb: That little cafe on Main Street in Britton closed! Now there really is no family-oriented restaurant in Britton. The people who operated it put it up for sale and had no takers. They wanted to retire, so they just closed up shop. My aunt was very unhappy, as were many folks around there, because it was a really lovely little place to eat.

sarala said...

I asked myself if I should post my loss too. I wasn't sure I wanted to but did anyway. There always is the old delete button.
Your story is very moving and well written. I hope the future holds more stability for you.

gautami tripathy said...

It is not easy to move home. So many memories.

I wish you luck..

Tink said...

As someone who's been temporarily homeless, I'm glad you posted this. It's as real, and difficult, and hearbreaking as any other tramatic experience in life. It's like losing a friend. I'm so sorry for your "loss." I hope one day you can move into a new home (of your own) and make new memories. ((HUG))

GeL (Emerald Eyes) said...

Although, I'm a new participant to Sun. Scribblings, I clicked on your name when I read your heartfelt comment on Sarala's blog.

I couldn't write about current goodbyes because of pain different in particular circumstances than you describe here, yet shared so much in common threads that tears for you mingled with my own, are streaming down my face.
Hugs to you,

sognatrice said...

This is beautiful and, as others have said, every bit as much of a loss as another. I'm so glad you didn't delete it, or I wouldn't have caught it. I wish you peace, calm, and a new, full bookshelf.