On Monday we were no longer at the House. In truth, it was midnight Tuesday before we cleared the last of our stuff out and finished cleaning, the people following us giving us the time we needed. We actually started staying at the apartment Saturday night, and are adjusting to (much) smaller quarters.
Monday evening I found myself alone in the House, Leah and the others had gone down to her parents for her little sisters birthday celebration. I was taking a bit of a break, sitting in the darkened client's Dining Room, when I started looking around, admiring the details of the House's finish, and thinking about the good memories.
I got up, and wandered throughout the House, starting at the attic, touching walls, trim, window sills and what not. I was trying to soak up the essence of it all, the tactile memory of the place. I went to every room, every nook, of the near empty building. And it was good.
At the end of my tour I returned to the stairs and sat on them in the dark, remembering the times that I'd come back to the House after supper to find Gary sitting on the stairs, silently, in the dark House, watching the moon through the windows of the Great Room. I couldn't see the moon now, it was low on the southern horizon out of view from the East facing room. But I had already been outside admiring it, a thin crescent, orange in the sky just above the hills, and it was easy to sit back in the silence and contemplate all that happened there.
The loss of the House, emotionally, has been surprisingly easy for the most part. Probably that has much to do with how long the process has taken, how long this has hung over our head. Not that it has been without its stresses and dangers, there are many times they've bubbled to the surface of our family, our patience shorter and tempers quicker than they should be.
For me, the most emotional moment happened last week. Travis has taken to playing with our MacBook, having discovered the remote for it, listening to music mostly. I came in and laid down beside him as he was on our bed with the laptop. He had started a slide show from one of the photo folders, one of pictures taken during construction. As I sat there, watching the transformation from empty lot, to piling, to a floor and on and on, I cried, memories washing over me.
That done, I dried my eyes, hugged my son and went back to the boxes. There was still plenty of work to be done.
There still is.