We sold our first house to friends. It is in the neighborhood over.
Today I dropped Matthew off there for a birthday party.
Even after 6 1/2 years, it is still a tiny bit odd to be in the house.
It is not that it is still home -- it truly isn't. It's just that it was home.
We brought 2 babies home from the hospital to there. Three learned to walk there. We celebrated our 10-year anniversary there. It is flooded with memories, even though the colors are not the same and the furniture is in different places (just as it should be).
And somehow that makes me...just a little sad.
I drove away and off to run errands...missing Keith.
My memories of there are ALL with him. We bought the house together and worked on it together. It was the first either of us owned.
I am a creature of habit, I know I am. I would make a good blind person, as I never move my furniture. When I think of repainting, it is not to change the color but to touch up what was already there.
I think that makes my grief just a little harder at times. I want to fall back and cling to the past. I fight the rut.
But God loves me enough to kick me in my complacency on a regular basis. He is there to pick me up after He does, but He does not let me wallow, He does not let me dwell.
My dear friend and fellow widow Theresa puts it in terms of the rearview mirror. We all have one in our cars because it is important to know what is going on behind you. We have to be able to move from in front of the fire engine or know when to stop for the police car. But we cannot spend too much time looking behind. If we do, we will inevitably get in an accident. The focus of our lives has to be in front -- where we are going, not where we have been.
I finished my errands and headed back home -- the dream house we built a year and a half before Keith died. More good memories. But not all these memories involve Keith. I have lived twice as long in this house without him as I lived with him.
Oh, the evidence of him is still all around. The man painted 17 -- yes, 17 -- colors of paint here for me. We still refer to "Daddy's closet" and "Dad's dresser." But there are things here he never did see -- including one currently-barking dog, and another currently-whining dog.
But somehow, after all the living here, the memories with and without Keith all have a place and are...just right. We miss him here, but feel close to him here as well.
I'll tell you a secret. The day we closed on this house, my big, strong, Marine husband cried. He felt so blessed by God to have this home, and so thankful to my mom for providing for us even after her death so that we could.
I am still blessed - to live here, to have been provided for equally well in death by Keith, to be able to continue to homeschool my boys...to live among the memories, and to have the freedom to create new ones.
I guess the suddenness of the onslaught of memories got me at the old house, and I started looking a little too much into my rearview mirror. Now, I am back on track, glancing in it periodically, but firmly looking forward as I travel forward in my life...blessed...so, so blessed.
You hem me in behind and before, and You lay Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. - Psalm 139:5-6