Memories string together homes


Going through the motions of holiday decorating has felt very much like a grand finale to me as I prepare to pack up the contents of this home. It has been a long good-bye, as we prepare to move sometime in the new year.
Just as a woman can pick out her child’s voice in a crowd, a mother remembers so many little nuances of things within the walls of a home. For me, this home has many memories, and there are times the echo of a child’s voice seemingly remains.
The fire. After the house fire in December 2000, I thought it would never feel the same. Our son was so sick at the time, and I remember urging him to come out to the house with me after I had spent weeks working on restoring it – with lots of blood, sweat and tears. I was proud of the direction it was going – beginning to look like a livable home again – and I wanted him to see it. I was hoping to wipe away his horrid memories of the night we spent watching firefighters battle back smoke and flames.
Cort came in the house, looked around and walked back out to the vehicle on that frosty February day. When I closed up the house and went out to the car, I found him inside, sobbing his heart out.
“It’s just not the same,” was all he could choke out. My heart was shattered in a way that is impossible to explain.
Up and down. We didn’t move back in until April that year, and the months spent living in town seem such a blur to me. We had no idea what all we had lost, or what exactly we would be returning to, but we had to continue going through the motions of living as a family. In the midst of it, I had to go through surgery, my son was in constant pain and his health was continuing to fail, and we felt trapped by a medical nightmare.
But, the day we moved back into our home was a triumphant turning point. I felt we would stay here forever.
We have been through lots of ups and downs since then, but at the core has been this beautiful old home, a safe place to land.
Moving on. As I take down the garland and pack it into a box, I am sort of saying my good-byes. I am wondering who will be enjoying this home next year at this time. It has been a bittersweet season.
But, there are lots of new memories waiting to be made. It is time to start making them …


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.