April 03, 2012

Once There Was a Way

When I was growing up, my Dad was fond of The Beatle's song Golden Slumbers. I remember it making him pause and listen when it came on. He'd say things like "Gee, this sure is a beautiful song."

When I headed off to college, I bought Abby Road for him so that he could listen to Golden Slumbers when I was away.

This past weekend, for the first time in awhile,  I listened to Golden Slumbers on the long drive back from my mom's house. It suddenly had new meaning for me.

"Once there was a way,
To get back homeward.

Once there was a way
To get back home.

Sleep, pretty darling,
Do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby"

My folks bought their house on the river, where my mom still lives, when I was ten. My mom was my age then, and my four older siblings had gone off to college, or off into the world. I was the only one to grow up there.

My parents loved the house, as did I, but it took years for me to truly see its beauty.

Now 41 years have passed and it's time to move my mom to the Boston area. She was born here, and will now live just 4 miles from my house.

This is the good news.

The bad news is that we all have to say good-bye to an amazing home. For me, it's not just where I grew up and where we sailed, it's where I got married, and where our kids, as babies, crawled around in the grass.

It's where our families came together, where my folks grew older, and where, almost eleven years ago, we tossed my dad's ashes off the end of the dock to rest.

The river house, I see now, was the way for us "to get back homeward" and my parents, perhaps especially my dad, knew this.
The sad thing is that very soon, just like the song, there will no longer be a way to get back home.

The blessing is that this house on the Niagara has almost always been in my life. 

Now I just need to make peace with letting it go.