Moving on

After many years of cajoling, my grandfather is finally moving from the farm that’s been in our family for generations. This is—without a doubt—a positive transition that will ensure the safety and relaxation he deserves after nearly six and a half decades of manual labor.

While we are collectively relieved, there’s an unspoken sadness surrounding this change. Few things in our lives are fixed, and my attachment to physical places has been well documented, no matter how ill-advised it may be. And so now, as an auction of household items, furniture and machinery is underway more than a 100 miles to the north, the reality of the change is setting in.

It’s hard not to associate the kitchen table, or the boxes of books in the attic, or the feel of tin coffee cups you’ll never hold again with memories of my grandmother. I argued with Bryan for weeks about whether or not I would attend the sale at nearly 38 weeks pregnant. The thought of being there was nearly unbearable, but the idea of missing it was even worse.

But as we visited the farmhouse for the last time a few weeks ago, I realized the things I’d truly miss won’t be for sale today.

Instead, we have the luxury of retaining memories for free, like those of drinking coffee with more sugar than brew as we waited for Grandpa to come in for lunch. And we get to keep thoughts of a rare sick day whiled away on Grandma’s couch. I vividly recall trying on her wedding dress (which happily now hangs in my own closet), and “swimming” in harvested soybeans before they were hauled into town. I remember the fragrance from her prized sweet pea and snowball bush, and the hours spent playing upstairs and outside under the pine tree.

And, as Bryan and Gramma Great have both reminded me, things and places are far less important than relationships and memories. But I have to admit, I will miss them nonetheless.


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