Saturday, March 8, 2014


If I can remember it, it's already in the past.

A Journal Entry

spent a few days last week in Decatur with my grandson while his sister and mother went to Syracuse, NY, for two days of college preliminaries.  While he was in school, I spent  time going through the last boxes, files, and books, at Amy's house, because the house has been sold and we suddenly find ourselves with deadlines.  I went through clothes, too,  grandkids' clothes, clothes I had made for our  children that were passed down to grandchildren, Amy's  Cedar Shoals High School sweater with three slightly tarnished varsity bars in tennis, her warmup jacket from Georgia State and her teddy bear named Pia, which was stuffed with a cutup nylon dress of mine after she pulled the stuffing out and tried to eat it.  I don't regret one tear that I shed into those boxes.

My son and his wife, Amy, and our good friend, Bam, were there with me when they could be, so I wasn't alone, except for a few times by choice. They had all done so much before, that my task was mainly to make some decisions they had left for me.

Charles got off the school bus at Amy's house in the afternoons,  so he could be with us, too, and Wes brought food in the evenings.  The first night we had a contest to see who could guess how much money was in Charlie's bank and then we split up the money and counted it.  We were all wrong on the high end.  BTW we gave all the money back.  There was also some juggling of bean bags involved, at which time we found that both Charlie and Wes have hidden talent. 

Marykay and her crew of Amy's friends and hers have done so much work that the house is truly ready for its next family.  Marykay has been tireless in her effort to make her former partner's house and belongings be respected, and find homes for special items.  I made some of those decisions, so I know how hard it is, and how much work it entailed on her part.  I held Amy's tennis racquet the way she did, fitting my hand into the worn spots, for two evenings before I made  the decision to give it to her ALTA doubles partner Liz.  I hope there are many aces left in it for her and that it, too, carries with it that calming effect she said Amy had on her in matches.

For me, I would never have anticipated such a strong need to say goodbye to a house.  So many birthdays, holidays, the girls' Marguerita parties, puzzles and Yahtzee and UNO and dyeing eggs, deadline homework, watching Friends, Sponge Bob, the Desperate Housewives second season, first episode party --  Bam wore her yellow dishwashing gloves for that one -- Amy's deliberate chopping of vegetables into identical pieces while we watched, late night talks when the kids were in bed, the sign 'grandma's room' made for me by Charlie, Bam and Amy (and sometimes Emma) watching Dexter together every week, the chocolate mint Marykay once put on my pillow, Uncle Wes dipping ice cream for birthdays, two ducks from the judge who made Amy a Mommy, Grandpa going to get our dinners, the political discussions and election night vigils, all the hugs -- on arrival and on leaving, AmyD and Emma heads together planning which cooking lesson -- Emma dancing for us in front of the fireplace where she could see herself in the glass front; this sweet child  showing me, in secret, her little-girl box of treasures; Charlie standing on his head in a chair, climbing the doorframe, going down the zip line, his hamsters buried beside the play house.

I wanted the walls to talk, tell me everything will be like it was, but if I can remember it, it's already in the past.  I want a future, with Amy in it, to make more memories; but that won't happen.  Her wise, kind, measured voice is gone forever from our company -- but most of all her laughter has been silenced.  I miss my daughter's presence so very much.

Before I left Decatur, I drove alone to the house once more, wanting to feel the usual happiness of anticipation as I turned into the drive, but knowing it would be absent.  In my car I said goodbye.  

Good karma in the house will awaken at the sound of laughter.   Another child will play on the swings, slide down the zip line, and read books in the Harry Potter room under the stairs. Those are the good things that will happen while we grieve.


  1. Although I first read this months ago, I still love the cadence of this piece...although I deeply regret the reason it exists at all. Much love to you, Chris. Thank you for sharing your words with us.

  2. Thanks for steering me to your work, Chris. So many fond memories from a life well lived.


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