So many ghosts are here.
My mom in the kitchen, Dad chopping wood. Mark and me—the children we used to be. As I sit on the bed where mom and dad slept, I hear the giggling of the little brother and sister in the bedroom.
I realize that my grief for Mark was interrupted by the moving, diagnosis, and difficult dying of my aunt. I had to put that all on the back burner to deal with the death at hand, my aunt’s, then my cousin’s kid, then Tis—and still fresh off the death of my cousin and favorite uncle. It felt like a bit of a firing squad. Who will be next?
No time to go deep as I did with my father’s death.
No time to sit and be with what was.
Too much to do.
I’m so grateful I have a quiet place to go to be silent now.
So, I sit here in the place where we grew up and feel the bitter sweet memories of our childhood. So close in age that I didn’t know for some time that we were different people. The illusion; it was very painful when that separation happened. As we spent our days in this old cedar cabin, the four of us together, life was just so rich.
Maybe I only remember the good times, but they all seemed good. I look at the old tin toy box that still remains in our bedroom. The spaceman helmet he wore and the metal plane with he fold up wings. The pink plastic telephone I used to pretend to have very adult conversations with people I didn’t know. They are all still there. This place is frozen in time. There was no end to the fun we created in the magic of our minds—together.
Walking up the steps yesterday, I realized that Marks ashes were all around me. We laid him to rest here because it was his favorite place. His friends told stories about their drunken times with Mark, but they also told of his very quiet humanity. How his Eagle Scout heart would help people on the side of the road and he wouldn’t say a word about it. I remember how tears shot our of big Mike’s eyes when I gave him a box of Mark’s ashes. He held me and sobbed for his friend, my brother. What had their brotherhood meant to him?
Boxes of each of my family members’ ashes are now on a corner shelf.
Somehow, when I’m missing them, it is comforting for me to know their ashes sit in the cabin together.
That sanctuary is always there, waiting for me.
I feel both sides of these losses.
I feel the little girl who lived her weekends there and now feels all-alone. I also feel the beauty of that continuing life that happens and the new memories that have been made. Season after season, life after life; this old place remains. It smells the same as when I was a kid.
Every time I walk in, I know I’m home.