Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Saying Good-Bye

View from the front porch

I wanted nothing more than to put my fingers in my ears and hum ( I can't hear you ), when my father in law called me to tell me he would be going up to the house in Northern VA last Saturday.
I had not been all the way in that house since I left to visit my mom in January of 2012. Part of me knew that I needed to go, and try and retrieve some of the Bumper's dad 's things so I can share our story withe her when she gets older. Part of me just wanted to hide under the covers. The part that knows what is best for the Bumper won.

The Bumper's Dad
I went back not really knowing what to expect, but hoping to retrieve our wedding album and a few other personal mementos. My brother-in -law tried to warn me: the house was a mess, and I would most likely be torn between wanting to set a match to everything and wanting to keep it all. He was right.

The Bumper and her Daddy
By the time I arrived, my father-in-law, and my husband's uncle had already been there for two hours. They had packed up the kitchen and most of the living room, and put it on a moving truck to be put in storage and sorted through later.

Taking a dip on our Honeymoon
At first I just sort of wandered about, picking things up reminiscing -- "Oh hey, there is the conch from our vacation in Key West or look there is the travel guide to Hawaii from our honeymoon!", and putting them down "Oh yuck! That is vacuum cleaner we had our last argument over." I actually gave that a kick as I went out the door for the last time, childish I know, but it still felt good. Then I started moving through the rooms with purpose trying to find the items I wanted to keep and later share with the Bumper.  I was unable to find our wedding album, but some of the things I did find surprised me. I did not expect to find the St. Francis of Assisi medal I gave him our second year of "Work Camp" for the diocese of Arlington -- we spent a week guiding teenagers as they made repairs to homes in the area-- that was also the year he proposed, I did not expect to find not only his wedding ring, but also the ring I had got engraved for our 1st wedding anniversary, I had meant for it to be blessed on our 10th anniversary. He sent me mine, while I was staying with the Bumper's Nana the first year we were apart, but he kept his.

Everywhere I turned I was confronted by memories of our life together, good and bad. It was so hard, so very very hard and then I saw the bathroom in the master bedroom. He had scrawled a message of such despair that I dropped to my knees as the sobs tore through me. I cried the way I have been wanting to cry since last November. I cried for the good times we shared, I cried for love lost, I cried for who he was and who he became. It was the first time I broke down that day, but it was not the last. When the emotion finally got too much for me to bear I left, taking the champagne glass from our wedding and with tears streaming down my face. From the house I took his wedding ring, the kilt he wore when we went to Renaissance Festivals, the mortar and pestle we used to grind the cloves for the first pumpkin pie we made together, and his five year sobriety chip from AA. These are the things I want to share with the Bumper for these carry a story of love, joy and triumph.

Toes in the water
As sad as I felt, then and still feel, I was able to close a chapter in my life that day. I said good bye in a way I could not at his bedside in the hospital. On that day it was about forgiveness, and peace. Saturday was about saying goodbye to the life we shared together.

In  time I will tell the Bumper of her Dad and his life. First I will tell her the good things, and when she is old enough and ready to hear, I will tell her the rest. Above all I will make sure to tell her that her Dad loved her and wanted her. For at the heart of this is a story of love and an illness that tried to destroy that love, but in the end did not. 


  1. Very moving and also brave of you to share. Your little one will be very grateful that you did this for her!

    1. Thank You. I just felt I had to share my story.