Thursday, March 26, 2009

Something Necessary


I've had many memorable birthdays and then some that I don't remember (like my first three). On Tuesday, while I could tell you that I got blitzed and swung from the chandelier nekkid, I actually did something sobering. I finished packing up the last of my mother's furniture and belongings in her house.

My mom departed this life last year in May and her directive to me was to sell her house and split the proceeds with my brother. In her will, she had a list of what was to go to whom and what should go to Goodwill. My mother was so organized that sometimes it's hard to believe that we share the same gene pool.

She wrote her own obituary and the entire order of her funeral service several years before she actually left here. I used to always tell her, "Would you stop talking like this... it's ghoulish. You're gonna mess around and outlive everybody." She'd always say, "You never know." And, you don't.

It's almost been a year now and her house has finally been sold. The new owner is just days away from moving in so, Tuesday, I rented a truck and rode with my daughter's fiance to her home, where I was joined by my aunt and several of my cousins, who also rented vehicles. We packed up everything... it was a labor of love.

We laughed, joked, and did the somber work as a kind of tribute to her memory. Every year, my entire family used to have Christmas dinner at my parents house... uncles, aunts, cousins, and their spouses and children. We had polyannas, danced, sang, made home movies, the works. Of course, someone always got drunk and did or said something that we would laugh about for years. It was good times.

I got married at that house 20 years ago... right on the lawn. We had our wedding reception there too, on what seemed to be the hottest day of the year. I can't even watch the wedding video anymore... there's just too many people in it who are no longer here.

We ordered hoagies, steaks, and pizza and had a nice meal... all of us family members. I was especially glad that my daughter's fiance was there... it was kinda like his initiation into the family and, for the record, he fit in well. They loved him and put him right at ease.

When we were finished, all of the U-Haul trucks were filled, and we were ready to leave, I suppose it was fitting that I was the last one out of the house... the last one to lock the door. The house didn't seem the same empty. I wasn't saying goodbye to my mom... just a house, a place, and time.

This is not the birthday story that you'd expect from me, I know... but, it's still a birthday I will remember. A birthday in which I did something necessary.

(Thank you to everyone who stopped by on Tuesday to wish me a "Happy Birthday!")

24 comments:

CareyCarey said...

I was sitting in church last week and the pastor said he could tell when he was saying something that was necessary. It was those moments when everyone wasn't throwing their hands in the air and shouting "AMEN, preach pastor, preach". It wasn't the times in which everyone laughed at a snide remark directed at the sinner. It wasn't a common scripture in which all could voice as one unit. It was a time of reflection that gave pause to the entire congregation. Keith, you didn't give us a rant, a complaint or your political opinion, you gave us a piece of your heart ...you gave us what was necessary.

Thanks for the moment.

Jillian said...

life is all about creating those moments...those meaningful moments...and on your birthday you should be surrounded by love and those you love...and that's all that matters..

a labor of love...who could ask for anything more on their birthday...

Glad you had a memorable birthday Keith! :)

Toni said...

That's why I love this blog..You always bring it..Whether it's making me laugh,making me think or nearly making me tear up...Love this blog and love you too!

Sunflower said...

What a touching story Keith..Birthdays don't have to be decadent partying..You just proved it.

Halo said...

It was good that you had a meaningful birthday Keith.

Angie B. said...

This nearly made me tear up Keith.
I think you had a nice Birthday, all things considered.

Lisa said...

It was nice that you were surrounded by people you love and who loved you on your birthday!

Vanessa said...

You had a meaningful and memorable birthday Keith...That's all anyone can ask for. Great post.

Sean said...

The raw honesty you present here on this blog is simply beautiful bruh..just incredible writing. You are gifted brother.

James Perkins said...

Birthdays are also times of reflection Keith as this story prooves. It still sounded like a great birthday.

Simon Bastion said...

A very moving post Keith!

Grover Tha Playboy said...

Very Touching post playa...Now go party like a rock star this weekend.

Tate2 said...

Great Story Bruh...You still had a worthwhile birthday just the same.

Swaggie said...

I loved this post...It truly was a labor of love.

Jazzy said...

A very touching and loving experience. I enjoyed reading this.

Captain Jack said...

Birthdays are milestones and this post demonstrates that Keith.
Lovely post.

Beautifully.Conjured.Up said...

...Beautiful post...

SLC said...

Sounds like an awesome family, and a beautiful legacy for the Booga Wooga to inherit.

A good life gets passed on to the grandchildren;
Proverbs 13:22a (message translation)

Arlene said...

Oh Keith,

How moving. I'm sitting at my computer crying- for myself, for you, and the rest of our family. These are tears of joy. What a legacy this family has!! Strong men and women yoked together in love. I'll truly miss the trip "down" Jersey each Christmas. But, your mother remains in my heart.

Rich Fitzgerald said...

That was very poignant and I'm sure it will prove to be quite lasting in your memory. I still remember the day we packed up my Grandmothers house 5 years ago.

ninamm said...

Neens felt this one in her heart. I too was responsible, along with my aunts and uncles, for packing up my grandmother's apartment upon her transition, and saying goodbye to the many memories we had shared there. As the lawyer, I was responsible for going through all of her papers. It was the most critical and important history lesson I've ever received, or ever can imagine receiving. I carefully separated papers that were significant to our family as a whole, and painstakingly checked & double checked that I hadn't thrown anything away that had a "story." I know the feeling. But like you, when I left...I didn't leave down-hearted. I left considering that perhaps we left some of the magic we made there for the new residents. :-)

Sounds like a fabulous birthday.

Strongblkwmn said...

Beautiful post. I shed a few tears. It took me back to when my husband, sister, and brother-in-law drove to Utica, NY to pack up my father's place when he passed ten years ago. I still think about it. I too was the last one to leave. I know your mother had a smile on her face after seeing your family come together that way.

CurvyGurl ♥ said...

Keith, so so sorry for missing your birthday! I thought it was coming up and forgot to ask you :-(.

Had to hold back the tears because I can relate to these experiences. My sister and I still haven't moved things out of our parent's house...things are almost the same as my mom left them 6 years ago... Though I know it won't be easy, you've helped me take a different perspective on how to approach the clean-up. While it's a necessary process, it doesn't mean it has to be a sad one, huh? I appreciate ya, bro :-)!

Stacye said...

While I echo so many of the posts, I thank God for the smoothness of your journey down memory lane, with of course other family members.

What an awesome reflection of who you really are...that's why we love you!

**...and of course I'm going for my famous box of tissues!**

Love ya,
Stacye




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