My car tire dipped into the familiar divot in the curve of the road as I drove home, tears started to well up in my eyes, and a moment later, our magical property came into view on my left— my home, my sanctuary, my place for recharging and relaxing with the people I love most. As a realtor, I have helped countless people sell their homes—declutter, donate, clean, stage, photograph, and present the property in the best light possible, all while knowing that someday I would have to help my parents do the same. My sisters and I agree that it came too soon; we weren’t ready for it, but the truth is, we never will be.
As I walked through the back door, the springs caught and slowly closed, then slammed shut behind me. When my daughter was a baby, I remember yelling at everyone to not let the door slam. She would instantly wake up and my few brief moments of peace would be shattered. I walked past the kitchen island, a butcher block top with two strong wooden posts on either end, the second one marked with our family’s heights over the years. I was grateful at that moment that our mom let us do that. I continued down the hall and the hardwood floors creaked predictably as I turned to head up the stairs. I reached out for the banister and my hand wrapped around it easily as I ascended. Halfway up, at the landing, I stopped and looked out the beautiful window that overlooks the yard, tears streaming down my cheeks. The grandfather clock chimed in the front entryway as it had for nearly the last 40 years, and it was simultaneously soothing and sad. I tried to touch every piece of molding, open and close every door, admire the original door hardware, and the beautiful carvings and millwork. All of these emotions and I hadn’t even made it outside yet.