Last night, I stopped at my grandparent's house and took a look around for the last time. When dad called me a few weeks ago and told me that the house has a buyer, I wasn't sure that I wanted to do so. The last time I was in the house was in August when all my grandparent's belongings were auctioned - - on that day, as I watched the furniture being carried out and saw the house emptied, it really hit me that I was seeing an era come to an end. The home has always been in my dad's family, and has been my grandparent's home since before I was born.
When my grandmother died in October 2008, I knew that this day would come at some point. It’s funny how there are certain things in your life that you think will always be there – then one day, they’re not. I never imagined a time when I couldn’t just walk right up to the door of that house and not walk right in.
Now it will belong to someone else who never knew my family gathered around the massive dining room table (that had so many leaves that it practically spread into next week.) The folks buying the house never knew a time when apple trees stood in the side yard (or knew that my brother and cousins and I would use the fallen apples as projectiles in a sometimes-painful game of apple tag.) They never saw my family all gathered on the front lawn and on the porch to watch the annual parade in August (and catch the massive amounts of candy.) They never knew us watching movies shown with an old-style movie projector, playing Dominoes at the table, or running through the dining room and making the dishes shake in the china cabinet.
During the last few years of her life when my grandmother’s Alzheimer’s had gotten bad, I didn’t think much about these things. I realized, of course, that things would change, but it was something that was going to happen LATER. When Grandma could no longer take care of herself and had to move to a nursing facility, her home kind of went into a state of suspended animation. When it unfroze and everything was piled onto rack wagons and carried out for auction, the finality of it became truly apparent. Perhaps it is just always difficult when another connection to your childhood is severed. I have no desire to return to my youth, yet that doesn't stop me from waxing nostalgic for those times every now and again. As I took that final look around last night, I realized that ready or not, LATER had arrived.