We had just had the conversation, one that kept coming up over and over again. We needed to save some money so that we could do the work necessary to sell our house. We talked about the 5 year plan and how, if we really focused our efforts, we would be in “our house” in no time.
When Tom and I blended families we made the decision for all of us to move into his house and rent out my townhouse. This decision was made because of space and because of where we wanted to live long term, Forest Grove. We knew from the beginning, when the market was better, we would eventually sell both places and find the perfect home that we both, with the help of the children, picked out.
I remember daydreaming about the girls running from room to room in a big empty house trying to figure out which rooms would be theirs. I was excited about creating a space that was ours from the beginning and about the possibilities of a bigger yard so we could have chickens, something I’ve wanted since I was a kid.
I was never coming back, how could I. It was empty and I knew that I would feel that in the core of my being, and it would be too painful.
It was during the first week after they went to Heaven; Tom and I were staying in a hotel and couldn’t sleep. Holding hands we talked about what we were going to do.
He asked if I wanted to go see Sampson, I did.
So in the middle of the night we got in the car and drove home.
Sampson was so happy to see us. He was old and missing his people.
I immediately went down to the studio and started writing a letter to Anna and Abigail to put at the memorial. The site was already filled with balloons, flowers, stuffed animals and lots and lots of cards from so many people grieving the loss of my girls.
The tree was empty, it was my canvas, and I quickly began the process of filling it with the letter and two photos.
I stood in the exact spots, this is where they met Jesus.
I went back into the house and I met Tom in the living room; we stood silently, both feeling the spirit of our girls.
I still feel it.
As I’m typing this I feel them, looking over my shoulder wondering what words I will choose next. When I’m in their rooms I can hear their laughter, feel them dancing around me and sometimes when I close my eyes I can see their smiles, their eyes and the beautiful way they both moved in this world.
That night we decided there was no place else we would rather be.
My mom has been here all week helping us to repaint our living space. Once dark, red, green and even black in spots, is now white and yellow with red accents. We had slowly been working on it but my mom is a rock star painter and has gotten the job done.
In the mornings she sits in Anna room and reads. I know she feels her granddaughter too.
We are so grateful to everyone in our life who has helped us in some way these past 9 months. Our house transformation, the painting, the deck and all the work that has been done, has allowed us to focus on each other, our girls and on sharing love and joy.
This big old house of ours, the one we were so ready to get out of, has become more than just a home. It is the place we have experienced a love drenched life with our family; a space in which we celebrate the life of our girls and it’s our safe place where we can be when our hearts are heavy.
We are no longer on a 5 year plan. This old house is “our house” and we aren’t going anywhere.