Loss squared

We put Grandma's house up for sale November 25th - that's when the realtor pitched her sign in the front yard. We've already gotten two offers. When we first decided that we should sell before the market gets any worse, I thought I could handle it. But I was wrong.

Over Thanksgiving we spent a lot of time in that house going through things my Grandma had stored away in the basement, fixing up little odds and ends, hanging out laughing and telling stories. I was surprised at how warm and full of love the house felt - I'd never before been particularly attached to a house, and I'd thought that Grandma's house would feel cold and empty without her. But it didn't feel cold or empty. It felt full. In that house, I felt like there was enough.

I've never been a person with minimal expectations. I've never been low maintenance or overly appreciative. I've never woken up in the morning and said "This is fine and I am lucky." I've always wanted more: more love, more family, more friends, more fun, more control, more sleep. Most of my angst probably stems from that feeling of hunger. But at Grandma's I felt like there was enough. I was overwhelmed by that feeling. I've never been so affected by a physical space before. My only explanation is that Grandma's goodwill, compassion, and never ending love and devotion literally soaked into the walls over time. The house has good juju, if you will.

But now the house also has buyers.

I know that it's not practical to keep it. I know it's not practical for me to move to NJ. I know it's too late. But what I don't know is whether or not I'll ever feel so safe or anchored anywhere else. And I know what people say - that it's not the space you're in, it's you. I guess my problem is I don't believe that. It can be the space. It can be both. How we feel at any given moment is such a complicated convergence of things that it's impossible to dismiss physical space as unimportant. It's impossible to dismiss anything as unimportant. I realize that a house won't change my life. But things can matter without being pivotal. Sometimes the periphery changes everything.

It's not just the house. It's never just a house, is it? The things that matter to us but don't make rational sense to other people are never what they appear. It's not just about the house.

But it's totally about the house.

 

2 comments:

Bob said...

I only use oils Elle. I have considered going to acrylics just to be rid of the "solvents" needed to clean oils. With acrylics, it just takes water and the paint dries much faster than with oils. It's something I'm considering seriously. A painter can get nearly the same look with acrylics, it's just that when I am in a museum, the masterpieces are in oil unless I'm looking at modern abstracts that tend to be acrylics. I guess I'm fighting that deep-seeded attachment to the true masters of yore. Another "change is scary" and "I am particularly bad with change" angle for ME to regard.

11:03 AM
SongBird said...

It was really hard for me when my uncle tore my grandparents' house down. He built a new house where the old one was and my aunt had a lot of the big old trees out of the yard including a tree my granny had planted when I was born. It is still difficult to drive by there!

4:44 PM