Anyone who knows me at all, knows animals are equal to me and that my family cats are more important than anyone in the world. They are real sons and daughters. I am also well-known for caring about physical connections to places and keepsakes and dates, which I retain keenly. Very different from fixating on wealth or acquiring things out of a need to spend, is respecting and recognizing why some objects, places, dates, and memories are cherished by us. Thus, one day after Canada day, I always remember Thumbelina Sandy’s birthday! She was my childhood cat, like her Mom, Sandy but we were blessed with her much longer.
An emotionally-hard thing I am working through right now is the sudden need for my parents to leave our family home. I wish it weren’t rushed and that they weren’t urged by my siblings & one wife ungently, to dispense with several possessions in a wave. They should have gone through things over time and prepared for this. But to be fair to my releatives, while not approving of the demeanour, it came to my understanding that my parents left things so long; they had to move this summer. They hoped to find a way to keep their house. Unrelated to that, they refused to let me have garage sales each year that I offered. There was a need to clean-up anyway. This sibling & his wife have practically carried my parents through all the steps and probably don’t enjoy that. The other brother came from out-of-town for a whirwind week and has been supportive by phone. My spouse & I help as much as we can in numerous ways and are going there again today. My parents were so nervous about opening their yard to a garage sale in the past but had they listened, could have cleaned without panic and made a few dollars. We will all enjoy their new apartment. I’m not against them downsizing and recognize they can’t afford to renovate and upkeep a city house. What feels awful is the way this is so hastily occurring. Suddenly it’s time for a good-bye. My long-distance brother already had his and asked for a picture of the house with our cottonwood tree showing happily from behind it.
Most people wish their parents and descendents can go on living there so we can keep visiting it. I have been out of there a long time and know our belongings feel more like home than the rooms without them. Ron & I, for instance, tackled the attic and brought home most of the toys that were stored there for 30 years. These were things that mattered, as well as a few belonings from other places, like my doll crib. When I was little and Sandy was a baby, she slept in it like a baby and so did her predecessor, Candy, who lived too briefly. Thus I was desperate to get my crib safely to my adult home and I did. I have taken care of most of my belongings since I was small. My parents stored a few items I was unaware of. It has been nice seeing all of the doll faces, toys, and unexpected books again.
For me the landscape of our house and yard is what looks and feels like home. Especially with my dear, favourite cottonwood tree. It might be at least 800 years old and has a triple trunk! It is very tall, comforting, and positive. I feel it has always protected us and while the inside began to feel suffocating with clutter, the outside always feels great. I will add photographs to this writing later. I’ve snapped some recently but fortunately have many from the thirty-seven years this has been our family home. I prefer that pictures not be of someone else’s, or an emptied home but it’s nice to know we can drive by and still see our place occasionally. Mom’s heart is in the frontyard where she constantly added small trees, flowers, which wonderfully gave them privacy and shade on a city street. I took photos of them for her. Not least, is our 21 year-old cat and one of the love’s of my life: Thumbelina Sandy. Her resting place is in the backyard. I only have two more weeks to drop in a couple more times and see it.
Her spirit is with me of course but sharing this isn’t about what I can still do. Sharing this is dealing with what I am reluctantly parting from. She’s been physically gone since July 21, 2003 so I can do this but will certainly miss our very alive cottonwood tree too. Thumbelina was born July 2, 1982! I can and will bring flowers to her resting place today. Ron & I will help Mom pack up what she still needs to do and I’m sure we’ll all enjoy the new place. This is about the difficulty of leaving the original one.
Today is her birthday! Happy birthday to you, my dearest girl! We really do remember our most cherished loved ones always. Her birth, at our home, was a very happy one. Thank you for reading this.
Yours from the heart, Carolyn.