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|Family Matters - Page 3|
All the while, I tried to wrap my head around the notion that this was no longer our house. Living next door to a private school, my parents knew that when it was time to sell, the school would want to buy. We figured the school would rent it out for a while, as it did with the rest of its properties in the neighborhood.
But as the summer dragged on and I continued to sort and clean, I got word that the school had issued a deadline. They needed me out. They were going to tear the house down and build a playground. As I continued to work, I alternated between anger and sorrow. I began rescuing as many plants and flower bulbs as I could. One day, I loaded up my car with the river rock my mother had so faithfully laid out. I didn't know what I'd do with it, but I needed to keep it safe.
On my last day there, a young man came in as I was working. He apologized for the interruption and told me he was in charge of moving the house. The school had told him he could have it if he moved it. He intended to raise his family in the house, he added. His wife was expecting their first child.
I was tired and stressed. I burst into tears.
"I'm sorry to upset you," he says, in a slightly panicked voice.
"No," I say. "You've made me very happy."
So the house was moved. I showed my father pictures of the house en route. He, in turn, showed me pictures he'd just snapped of our old yard.
I'm taken aback at how deeply the grief hits me. There's nothing left of our former yard. All our trees are gone—the maple tree, our Christmas tree. Tears come to my eyes because I was the kind of goofy kid who made friends with the trees, and it feels like part of my family is gone. Every scrap of vegetation has been bulldozed.
I try to come to terms with the fact that I'll never again be able to drive past our old yard and house. My mom is gone, and now the yard that she loved with such a passion is finally, completely gone. It feels like losing her all over again. Eight months into that fabled first year of grieving, it feels like another layer of sorrow has been scraped raw.
A few weeks later, sitting around the table at our usual Thursday-night family dinner, my niece excitedly tells us that she and her husband have found a new house. With a two-and-a-half-year-old and a six-week-old baby, they need more room. She tells us about the house, located on a cul-de-sac, with a full basement, a screened porch, and a wooded backyard.