Bits of life, now dust
Beneath floorboards, in corners.
I found the thought that specks of my mother’s DNA were likely still in our house even after she died to be comforting. I’d lie on the kitchen floor that she mopped for years, and catch a glimpse of the corner where the baseboards met between the oven and the sink – maybe, just maybe, part of her was in that corner.
A hair? Some skin cells? Something, somewhere. I didn’t find any of the tangible items that she loved while she was alive, but left behind in death to be nearly as grounding as this; the thought of being surrounded by microscopic bits of her. “She is still here,” my inner dialogue would tell me.
My childhood home, the last earthly home my mother knew has since long gone. I cried heavily the last time I drove away from it. Goodbye specks.
Fast forward five years and my husband and I are about to move from the first house we shared together. We are moving on to what we expect to be our “forever house”. During the preparation to move and the inevitable “purge or pack?” debates, I’ve had to focus intently on not letting my mind wander to all of the specks we will be leaving behind.
What’s more, my husband’s brother owned this house before we did, and before my brother-in-law owned it, my mother and father-in-law did. I started dating my now husband while his entire family lived in the house we are about to move from.
So many bits of all of us are in this house.
It’s not enough to consider the moments and memories made in a home, or the quirks that made the space itself unique and so well loved. Where you call home both moulds and reflects who you are over time.
I’ll miss the street light directly outside the front window of this house. Every time I climbed the stairs after having fed my babies late at night, I’d see the glow of that street light streaming into my living room, casting long, tired shadows.
I will miss the little sitting area in front of the kitchen where my daughter took her first steps, where I would lie after an exhausting day of work, and many years before that, where my husband’s extended family would gather around a baby grand piano and bottles of wine to sing together late into the evening.
This house holds so many bits of our past. Perhaps it’s those bits and specks that eventually have your house smell like home.
Our new house doesn’t smell like home yet. It smells of paint, and drywall dust and other peoples memories. I’ve wondered how long it will take to smell like home, but I suppose theres no way to know. One day it just will.
Tomorrow we start to remove all of our things and will begin to try and wipe away the traces of our dust and grit and specks. I will miss these walls, I will miss the thought of being surrounded by moments replaying around me in some parallel universe.
The memories will come with us to the new house and we will begin to unpack and to shed our lives bit by bit eventually creating our new home. Little by little. Moment by moment. Speck by speck.