Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Still a House, No Longer a Home

Today was a tough day. I am here in New Jersey with my parents preparing for my grandmother's funeral. Today my mom and I drove over to my grandmother's house in Philadelphia to start going through some of her things.

It wasn't until I walked into that house that it really hit me that she was gone. She lived in that house for almost sixty years -- it's the only place I've ever known her to live. And every single inch of that house holds some memory for me. I was overcome by them as I made my way through the house. Just being there evoked remembrances that I haven't thought about in years and years.

The house definitely looked the worse for wear. When she was well, she was fanatical about keeping things clean. When my aunt was alive and well, she did all the maintenance. But, the last few years had been hard on them. The house seems sad and neglected: the carpeting on the stairs has holes in it, the wallpaper looks worn and faded, the house lacks the aroma of meatballs or gravy. The house had all of her stuff, but it didn't have her. And so, it seemed empty.

It was a sad day. I think the only positive I found in it is perhaps my inspiration for the eulogy I am to give on Friday. It's a meager silver lining.

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