We still cry and we still grieve, but admittedly we moved forward in life without you for 3 years now. There are absolutely moments when my voice is full of loss and longing—either triggered by a memory, a dream (I love when you visit me in my dreams), your voice on a voicemail (I hope those never disappear), some reference about you, and signs from you (more on that later).
This year, I unearthed a bunch of new-to-me old pictures of you. (The pandemic has prompted many folks to “go through stuff.”) I’ve loved reliving the memories through them, like the one of you polishing my first car and the one of you boogeying at a wedding. I inherited your dance moves and love of a good music beat, but definitely not your affinity for clean cars.
2021 was another epic year full of ups and downs and everything in between. But I’m not here to update you about me … I’m here to fill you in about Mom and the house.
Let’s call 2021 the year of house issues. Actually, ever since you’ve left us, there seems to be problem after problem popping up. I couldn’t make up some of these issues if I tried …
A MASSIVE ant hill that took up residence in the generator, that you so thoughtfully had installed for impending power outages. It took pest control two visits to clear it.
The furnace needed some replacement parts, but in the process, the experts realized the ancient oil tank that was buried underground needing uprooting and replacing because it was an environmental hazard. Which resulted in the beautiful concrete walkway you had installed having to be dug up and subsequently replaced. Which resulted in a new oil tank taking up precious space in the basement.
The salt delivery for the water softener was WAAAAY delayed thanks to a Covid-related worker shortage, and this caused some water heater parts failing because of corrosion. And Mom even called to complain to the softener company since it was essentially their fault (you would be proud), but they didn’t even so much as apologize.
Are you sensing a trend here? The house is indeed falling apart. You did an amazing job at upkeep over the years, but the house was built in 1954, and 2021 takes the cake for showing its age. Taking care of the old house solo has legitimately stressed out Mom; prompting her to think about an exit plan. However, as soon as Janice and I started discussing the options of moving her into a more sustainable living situation and the financial repercussions of that, we could tell you were unnerved by the initial conversation. How could we tell? Mom’s hearing aids started beeping incessantly. Yes, hearing aides are finicky. But this was different. Now, advice from her daughters typically goes in one ear and out the other (to be fair, she does have a hole in her ear. I was there for the doctor appointment). But the 15 minutes of a beeping hearing aide worked. No matter how many times she yelled, “John! Cut it out!” You were clearly telling us your wishes for her to stay in that house. So stay put she will … for now.
I’m pretty sure the topic will come up again as soon as the next appliance breaks (please not her beloved stove so she can heat water for her 30 cups of coffee each day).
We miss you and your wisdom on Earth.