I had a grand pity party all by myself when I went out to tidy up the RV. I had put it off as long as possible; it had needed doing since January, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. My magic carpet, that had kept me and my Richard safe for all those months after the hurricane wiped our neighborhood off the earth, needed cleaning. I could put it off no longer even though I knew it would spark a storm of emotion in me.
I had purposely peopled our home on wheels with pictures of our life on the lake. As the nieces, nephews and grandchildren, glistening with wet from sweat and swimming, smiled back at me, all I could do was sit and cry. This was the life I had dreamed of; this was my grandma house where we had legions of lizards, spiders, and all manner of squirmy thing carried through and simply laughed about our good luck.
We celebrated everything imaginable in this house on these waters; we also mourned everything imaginable.
These were the deck boards that grandchildren’s little baby feet had blessed as we watched our two naked one year olds in a baby pool full of birdseed. Our first visit from our youngest grandchild happened here, and I‘ve been told that it was also where she was conceived. We lived here when the pregnancy was announced.
This was the flower garden where we practiced my son’s second wedding with our oldest granddaughter as the preacher, while the two that had played naked as babies, giggled through the vows, and the youngest danced down the walkway casting rose petals from our bushes upon the path. We taught our grandchildren how to live off the “land,” bayou style, with our endless rounds of catching crabs off our back door dock. Our oldest learned the hard way by casting herself into the water along with the crab trap.
My family gathered here to celebrate our lives after saying goodbye to our oldest brother and his ashes. This was the home that held my son’s family as they handled the initial shock after the death of his wife’s mother. It was into this house that I entered when Richard was in the throes of the near-fatal heart attack, after which he endured a ten-day coma. These were the windows looking out on the waves that carried my cares away while waiting for word on whether Richard would get a new lease on life that only a new heart could provide.
Not only did I have the memories staring out at me from the photos, I also unearthed remnants of the Holidays in the Holler bacchanal that was our last gathering here. So many memories, so much mourning for a permanence that can never be in this life. Every time I see my loved ones, I’m overcome with gratitude for their being. And every time I say good-bye, I feel like I’ve lost a part of me.