It’s been 3 months since my mom passed away, 9 months since my dad passed away, and just yesterday we finally got to the stage where we can hand my parent’s house over to a contractor to ready it for sale.
I remember when my parents moved into that house. My Dad had been granted a dream gig as the house piano bar player at a swanky resort, a kind of karmic allowance for the hundreds (thousands?) of drives he’d done over the years to get to parties. No matter what, if you hired my Dad, he would be there. Blizzards, deaths in the family, there was nothing that kept him away from fulfilling an obligation. He was the entertainment for some very big events, he had to be there. That meant lots of navigating downtown locations, loading gear in and out of loading docks and freight elevators and many long drives back to the country in the middle of the night, not to mention having to be ‘on’ every night. Then there was his dream gig and he moved within 5 minutes of the resort right across from a provincial park where he could wander at his leisure daily.
I’ve been clinging to these memories of their lives of late, the good times. The last 15 years of their lives were incredibly challenging. I have some very difficult memories to accompany me for the rest of my life. But when I sweep them aside, which gets easier as the months pass, I find the moments of pride and joy that made up the wonder of their life, the pride and joy that they so rightly deserved. They were hard working people who delivered a lot of enjoyment in their lifetimes.
There is no life left in the house now, no music, just empty rooms and echoes. There are no birds at the feeders, or little red squirrels darting in and out of the shed. All that is left is the memories we carry with us and the influence they had on us.
It’s occurred to me of late, that in order for our lives to echo out, in order for the rooms to feel hauntingly empty when we’re gone, we have to have lived in a way that touched people and left an indelible impression on them.
As the winter days grow longer and my personal responsibilities lessen, I plan to take time to wonder and wander a bit more. It’s in the wondering and the wandering that I find peace.
This is my Dad playing the popular That's All - composed by Alan Brandt and Bob Haymes in 1952: