In recent days, the past has appeared in unexpected ways. Last week I walked across the street to converse with my neighbor. While talking to her, my gaze moved back and forth to our house. My neighbor noticed our door open, the slither of my slice of life peeking outside. She asked, “Who is opening your door?” I said, “Oh probably my mom or my dad are just wondering where I am.” In reality it was my daughter who stood behind the door, unseen, wondering where her mom was taking refuge. My neighbor was familiar with my grief and patted me on the back, taking notice of my fumble and with a pensive face said, “You must be missing your Dad or thinking about him.”
To be honest, referring to my father in the present jolted me. In the past two years, I’ve never confused memory with reality. So when I fumble this way, I like to stop and think about the message that the universe maybe offering me.
I sense that it might have something to do with my Mom’s decision to sell her home that she shared with my father and where they both raised my sister and me. We never moved from that space. I spent over twenty years in my childhood home. There were many birthday celebrations, nights where we played Carrom, and watched Cowboy games while eating Subway sandwiches. It was the first place my husband met my parents and where my grandparents from India stayed when they visited us. There was happiness and sadness and all of the in-betweens that lived in those walls. It’s the place where my father laughed and loved and cried for most of his life. And where he took his last breath. Selling “the” house means many literal and metaphorical doors will close.
Maybe my fumble means that my father is sending me a signal or a sign. That by selling the house we aren’t abandoning him. That he is standing at the foot of my doorway in Arizona, saying, he understands why some conversations with the past must end.
Do you believe in signs and signals? Is it difficult to let go of sentimental items from the past? How do you reconcile moving on with the past when it is so much of who you are?