Alan and I were in Windsor last weekend. His Dad sold his house. The deal closes at the end of next month. In the meantime, Dad’s moved in with Alan’s brother and sister-in-law. I think we’re all sleeping a little better knowing he’s not alone.
On Sunday, we all met at the house, to turn in our keys, take what we wanted and help him price the rest. Not, I’m sure you can appreciate, the easiest of tasks.
But we pulled together and got it done. None of us really needed much, just one or two things to hold onto. It’s been my experience that one item can hold memories while many items seem to dilute them. So we took a strongbox that came out of Alan’s grandfather’s store. It’s old and rusty and battered. It was jimmied open once. It’s perfect. We also took the carafe that we always used when we had dinner at Dad’s house. He can be assured that he will be toasted many times over with the wine that it will hold in the years to come.
By early afternoon, it was time to go. We put our treasures in the car and said our goodbyes.
And, with the jingle of keys, it was done.
For fifteen years, we’ve been gathering at that house, just a simple house in the suburbs. I met two of my nieces there. We celebrated Thanksgivings and Christmasses. Learned to start dinner without Mum to tell us it was time (a much harder lesson to learn than you might think). So much food and laughter and tears. All done.
On the way home, we stopped in to visit my niece and her husband and see their new house. I know. It’s like I planned the juxtapostion just for this post. They’re just getting started on their journey. Right now it’s just the two of them. Soon there will be three. They’ve had their first Christmas. There will be other celebrations. There will be fights and forgiveness. And time moves on.
In this life, we learn to love and we learn to grieve when we lose those loves. And there is a stage in that grief when everything seems dull. Blunted. I call it the “All of Life is Pointless” phase. I’m sure many of you know it. And what I am learning, slowly, is that this, in fact, is true. There is no point to life, no ultimate goal, no lesson that, once learned, makes it all worthwhile. There are just moments, one after another, after another. We are faced with those moments and asked to decide what to make of them. The hope is that we make them something good. And, moment by moment, hello turns into goodbye.
But if you’re really lucky, you have a store of moments behind you, people you have met, meals you have shared, lessons you maybe have learned. And you relax, knowing that that is all you get and really all you need.
How about you? What kinds of moments have you been having lately?
Wow! Fabulous post!
Thanks for articulating that “feeling” “situation” “space” that I have also found myself in…. knee deep in life; wading through the water- sometimes with the current, sometimes against it. I guess you just have to keep your eyes up, out, toward your chosen shoreline.
But I also call it “not taking this moment for granted”-realizing that even the mundane, workaday world we inhabit IS life, IS the happiness, IS all.
And yes, there is no “point”
So I’m thankful- trying always to be mindful that this moment, situation, space will one day be one of the memories that will give my life meaning.
Trying to force meaning on anything diminishes the experience.
It is revealed later; when we least expect it.
(Until then, there is coffee!)
Thanks for making me think….
“Trying to force meaning on anything diminishes the experience.” Perfect.
Those of us fortunate to read your blog are especially blessed by the extreme common sense of today’s . It took me many, many more years than you to see the ‘rightness’ of your conclusions; however, my blessing for today is YOU. I have learned many lessons from you, shared many meals with you, laughed with you and you have cried with me and each time is and will often be a blessed memory.
your posts get me everytime. thanks for putting yourself out there with your journey and your insights.
Awwwww… thanks Sandy!
Lately, I have been reminded of mindfulness (connection) as meaning in so many ways…the effects of breathing, single tasking at work, moments of stillness, listening, connecting and being present. And I am amazed over and over again how much fullness there is to experience whereever I am…I flew out with colleagues to a client meeting this week. We sat in a windowless meeting room with artificial light, artificial food and an artificial work assignment for 5 hours. And I felt awful doing it. Disconnected. Telling myself how pointless the whole experience was, trying (?!) to get through the meeting as fast as I could. Instead of mindfully breathing, connecting with my body and experiencing moment by moment with kindness to myself…and relaxing knowing that I had a whole pack of almonds in my bag in anticipation of a bad lunch – emergency food. I find “denying what is” results in disconnection and that sense of meaninglessness (that we all experience in one form or the other at some point).
Thank you for another stimulating post!
And thanks for sharing your experience Kaija! Getting connectedness and meaning into the workplace – wow! what a challenge that is!
Please forgive the inadequacy of my response, but…wow. And thanks.
Not inadequate at all. And thank you!
Just to comment on your point about choosing one or two keepsakes rather than half the house…A few years ago I was at art college, having the time of my life (in my 30’s) when my mum died followed fairly quickly by my Dad. Refusing to give up the course I’d been so happy on, I limped to the end and as part of my final project I reappropriated a beautiful leather-bound Victorian photo album, traditionally designed to hold very formal family portraits, and I filled it with photographs people sent me of the item they had chosen by which to remember a loved one, along with the story in their own words of what the object meant to them.
It was fascinating to note how people did not send photo’s of ‘diamond rings’ or ‘fur coats’ but instead they sent pictures of a half finished dolls house, a packet of Bisto gravy granules, a pipe, a headscarf, a teapot. All these objects seemed to hold the essence of the day to day life of these special people, almost a connection with their DNA, objects which would have been touched and used time and time again by their loved ones.
I’m reminded of the cliche’d question of ‘what would you save in a fire?’, it’s rarely a thing of monetary value that makes the top three, so it does beg the question why do so many people spend their lives trying to make more money, to have more stuff when the thing they would save from the flames is their grannie’s teapot…and the family photo album…
Thanks again for making me think.
And thank you for returning the favour.