Menopause

Downsizing: The Final Goodbye

One of the big bad snags in life is that things don’t always go as we expect them to go.

Wait a minute. Is that really a problem?

Cases in Point: The death of my mother and my diagnosis with cancer. You’d think they would be two of the very worst things that can happen to a girl. And they were. But also they weren’t. Happy shocks.

And so for two years, as we slowly moved, I dreaded my last time in our old house.

Cliff and I said goodbye to the house together, in the middle of final cleanup before the buyers took over. But the next day, I went back alone. This was it. My last chance.

And so as tears streamed down my face, I went, as I have done many times in the last few months, from room to room. But after a few rooms, the tears stopped, and I whipped out my phone.

I know, I know, phone addict here. But I began to take pictures. I’ve taken hundreds of the house, but during that last visit, I took some shots and some angles I’ve never taken before. A detailing (above) of the curlicue carved into the stairs.

Gazing right into the original bathtub.

The view down the front walk from Kath’s room.

Looking out from a bedroom we never used. Note the part of the shed they say once housed a horse named Corbit.

The mirror in Laura’s room, where she stood to check outfit after outfit, including a beaded red prom dress I still feel guilty about giving into. I used that mirror too. Best mirror in the house!

I took photos of all eight mantels.

I not only snapped a picture of the kitchen drain, but I picked out every last piece of gunk. Drain dignity!

I took this photo of the doorbell my girls rang and rang when they got home from school in the afternoons. Then I rang it myself one last time.

I touched and then photographed all five red doors on our back porch. Boy did people get confused about where to go when they came to visit.


Here’s the shed, living proof that Clifford Younger really does know how to clean one out.

I walked the yard and then sat in the old well house. I took in one of my favorite views of the house. It looks smaller here and more cozy.


Then it was time.

As I pulled my car keys from my pocket, an enormous flock of black birds flew high across the back hedge. In a long formation, they went over me and then over the house.

I’m not really sure what kind of birds they were. Geese maybe, although they made no noise. But for me, they were a magnificent salute. Joy for the years. Gratitude for the days. And relief that a moment I thought would be so sad, felt wonderfully mystical

12 thoughts on “Downsizing: The Final Goodbye”

  1. Lovely tribute, thanks for sharing. Looks like a beautiful house too! When I said goodbye to the house in Charlotte where we raised our kids, I wrote a goodbye letter. This is what you did with pictures.

  2. Even though you had to say goodbye, you still have all the memories that hopefully won’t go away. And now finally you can completely, physically and emotionally, involve yourself in your new life ahead. It will be an exciting one I am sure with lots of new memories.

  3. Love how you describe each memory — those memories will stay with you always— you write so beautifully

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