These are a few of the photos I found of my home when I was growing up. I have so many more with far better view points, but I hope they are still a good follow-up to my stories about living in the woods, in a treehouse of sorts, perched up on boulders.
Many people vacation to sit atop the trees, listening to water rushing by and narrowly escape a brush across the nose from a scarlet red cardinal. At our house though, it was a daily luxury. (I have a hilarious story to tell about that cardinal by the way.)
I can’t wait to find more pics to share but here is a little story…
After my parents passed away- I held onto this house for a year, tried to be my mom and keep everything going just as she had- the home, the holidays, guests, etc. When the time came to sell and move on- I wasn’t ready. I remember my last minutes there, searching through the woods to find my sweet cat, Maverick, who had grown up prancing around on the rocks, running up the trees and stretching out in the sun on the deck railings. He was scared and hiding and I had hundreds of acres to search beyond our own 13. I was alone as all had gone on to the their next destinations. It was just me, our empty home, the woods and my missing cat.
I crawled around in the dark for over an hour, gently calling his name and praying his sweet little gray face would appear. I know he didn’t want to leave either. I was aching an ache as heavy as the grief of my parents passing, knowing that none of us would ever be able to come back to this home. In between searching for my cat, I would walk back up to the house and just touch the windows. The beautiful, heavy, wooden front door. I leaned against the trees I learned to climb, and the boulders that taught me how not to fall.
In the dark, I walked through our massive yard and remembered flashlight tag, Easter egg hunts, reindeer paw prints, the hundred different wild animals who adopted our family and became wild pets, riding my sisters new ten speed in the gravel, (and then right off the cliff nearly plunging to my death- I was fine, mere flesh wound- just kidding- not even a scratch).
When I couldn’t see through the tears anymore, a timid meow came from behind a tree, and there was Maverick, my cat, looking at me with the most unsure eyes a cat could show. I knelt down and he ran up to me. I scooped him into my arms and then laid on the ground holding him until I could gather myself. I told him we would be ok, that our woodland adventure was over and on to new adventures. He too had lost my parents, and now his perfect home.
I tucked us both into the car and drove up the very long driveway to the road. I wasn’t ready to leave. I was empty and lost. I drove away, just longing to go home again, to my mom’s sweet voice and heavenly scented kitchen, to my dad’s warm hugs and long talks about life and the world, to my view of the creek, to my pets and wildlife. Just home.
For the ten years that followed, whenever I needed solace or a connection to who I really was, I would find myself driving past my old home, and reminiscing about my happiness there. I would stop along the road to hop around the boulders on the creek and would have done anything to pull down that long driveway to just check on the house and see if it was “ok”. In reality- I not only left the house behind, but all our woodland pets, and the land we promised to protect and all the other special things, including some of my parents collectibles, which were just meant to stay there, with the house.
Then one day, while at the club pool, (the club my parent s belonged to for 20 years), with my children, a woman walked up to me and asked me my name. I told her, expecting she knew my parents somehow as everyone always did. And, she then told me her name, and said she and her family were the ones who purchased our family’s home. I nearly collapsed. I could not believe what she told me about our home, nor that she was also a member at our club. I felt dizzy and giddy and never wanted her to walk away. I had so many questions. But before I could ask any of them, she looked at me with the kindest eyes, and said she would like to invite me and my family back to the house for a visit. I know I cried, and emphatically said, “yes!!. Not only did I not expect to ever return to the home again, but much less take my children there.
I don’t know how that all happened or how she knew to hold off until Christmas for just the right time to have us over but it was the most remarkable experience of my life.
When we arrived, she greeted us with her kind eyes and smile at the door. The second I walked through the door a warm chill came across my entire body. Our home had barely changed. Some cool architectural enhancements, but overall it was our home. She walked us through the house, and as we went along I realized how many of my parents’ belongings were still in the same place as we had left them. She said she could not ever change the kitchen and certain other rooms, because that’s how she fell in love with the home and she vowed to never change it. She said the love that was in the home from our family was so strong, she had to leave some things unchanged.
We spent probably 8 hours there, cooking and eating in the kitchen, my children playing with hers. All the little kids played with toys in my old bedroom, which was virtually the same. We enjoyed a long day, and ended the day with pictures in the “Christmas room” as we all called it.
We were all amazed how each picture had a white film to it- on all cameras, no matter what angle. But we just smiled and all decided it was a certain set of visitors ❤️
When our visit ended and it was time to go, and after many hugs to the new family, we scooped up our kiddos and walked to our car. I stopped in the driveway, looked around and said to my husband, “I’m completely healed, I can finally move on. The home is full of love, I’ve felt my “closure” and I know I just had the most beautiful experience since my parents’ passing!” And, my children were inside that home, they were there, in every room I thought they would never see.
I could finally, finally let go. 🎄❤️