I thought I came to say goodbye to Mom, as she was the last to truly live in the house. But it was Dad to whom I ended up saying hello again. Upon going into the house, I immediately went to our parent's bedroom. I found a Mother's Day card beneath a drawer in their old dresser. The signature was clearly Dad's writing: "From your girls." He was not one to mince words.
I also found a note pad with Dad's scratchings from a newspaper puzzle that we would race to figure out each morning before he went off to work and I to school.
Finally, in the basement by his impeccably organized workbench, a slip of paper fell to the ground when I opened a drawer labeled "chisels." It was a receipt from a hardware store for the paint we used to paint my old bedroom.
After my discoveries, I let down my guard and saw the house again as I saw it when I was a child. The giant beech tree outside my sister's and my bedroom window, the one that gave beautiful shade and beech nuts that would fall into our pool and inevitably clog the filter. The snow covering the section of our yard that, summer after summer, was home to our dad's vegetable garden. The dread of having to help him turn over the earth for that garden every spring. The bathroom sink my mom would fill when I was no older than three, to let me play in the water: "puddling" was her word for it.
So much of this was an unexpected surprise, an uncovering of raw emotion. I had only driven down to pick up a few last relics of our lives there. I think the house and it's ghosts wanted to reminisce. I'm glad I took the time to listen.