The Anchor is Gone
It has taken a few days for me to get around to this post. I’ve been thinking about how to write it. No luck yet.
Last Thursday my three siblings and I were together for the last act we’ll ever do as a family. It’s likely I’ll never see my oldest sister again. I will see my brother and youngest sister very little. We finished the task of dealing with mom’s stuff by signing the papers to sell the house. It’s over.
All these years that house has been “over there,” the anchor of a family separated by different attitudes, lifestyles, and religions. We all have a few happy memories but in all none of us had a happy childhood. Mom was not always easy to get along with. We loved her, though, at least three of us did. Not to sure about my younger sister. Anyway, the house was the anchor. Now that it is gone there’s nothing holding the family together at all.
Mom and dad would be very sad, probably, about the disolution of their little family. I’m a little sad too. All that is left of mom and dad is a stone in a cemetary where their remains rest. That and an assortment of stuff scattered among our things. There’s memories, of course, plenty of those.
What is a family? In some cultures family is everything. In most cultures family is important. It seems less important in this country. Families don’t get along very well here. In our case it’s not so much getting along as it is that we’re so different we don’t have anything but a few memories in common. I, especially, am the odd person out (as usual). Christianity is a big part of my brother and younger sister’s life. I am Buddhist. Where do we find a meeting of minds? We don’t. They dance around subjects, avoiding anything that might lead back to a discussion of beliefs or point of view. I miss all of my family. I’ve never really been a part of it, though, for a very long time. When mom died I lost my last best friend outside my own family. When mom died, too, she took with her the reason we’ve all had to act like a family.
Maybe it’s more difficult for me because I do not have a circle of friends like my three siblings do. My oldest sister has fewer but she has her family. My brother and sister have a huge circle of friends, all of them tied to their church or their spouse’s family.
Thursday morning I walked through the house one last time, taking pictures, trying to stuff memories on the camera along with digital images. My brother could not walk through the house. He struggled with just being at it that last morning it was in our family. Neither of my sisters made it by to say goodbye.
My oldest sister and I were talking before the signing. She said, “it’s just like mom died all over again.” I had been thinking the same thing for a day or so. It wasn’t mom dying, it was the family she raised. We killed it with the stroke of a pen. Each of us walked away with a check that represented the final vestiges of all that had kept us together: that old house.
I don’t really know what to say now. It’s just over. The anchor is gone. What do we do now?
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