I’m getting closer to the finish line. While looking at all the updates on Zillow, I did see one little house that I thought might be a contender. Then the realtor sent me additional photos: part of the plumbing missing, a shabby roof, a large window rotted underneath, no furnace. Hmmm.
The Salvation Army took away much of what has to go, but I’ll need to have them come out again for the final large items that I’m still using. They took my father’s recliner, and I replaced it with an old Mission style rocking chair that suits me better. I’m packing every day, and now I can take more down to the basement. I sorted and condensed bins in the garage on Saturday. There is still too much stuff, but I don’t know where I’ll be and what I’ll need. At least a lot of what I have is in boxes now.
As I was maneuvering boxes in the basement, I saw one from Oregon that I hadn’t opened. Inside were some photos, some books (what a surprise,) and a beautiful, soft knitted wrap from my friend Beverlee. Beverlee and Robert were my first landlords there and my neighbors and friends after I moved from their furnished, stunning loft apartment with a wall of glass. This wrap was on an arm chair facing the ocean, and I spent most of my mornings there with coffee. After moving across the street, I would sometimes see Beverlee sitting in that chair, the wrap on her shoulders.
She offered items to me sometimes when she did her own downsizing or redecorating. At some point I had admired this when she was wearing it, and during her next clear-out she brought it over to me. It’s soft and light and hand made with little imperfections in the yarn and stitching. I can still see it on the back of the wing chair and feel it against my arms on misty mornings and rainy evenings in front of the loft’s gas fireplace.
Finding this made me cry and cry. It may be all of the emotions attached to this process and feeling overwhelmed and tired from this solitary journey. I’ve been going through three lives for the past year—my father’s, my mother’s and mine—trying to determine what will remain of them. And this knit throw smells of the ocean and is what remains (for me) of Beverlee. She passed away three years ago this month after a painful battle with cancer. I was talking with her at her home in Phoenix before I moved here, and she had not been feeling well but was planning to get to their summer house in Cannon Beach that summer—and did. The disease finally took its toll.
My life went on and is still going on. Her memories now mingle with my parents’ memories and those of my grandparents as I sift through all of the things that once meant something to them. I took the wrap upstairs with me. I couldn’t open any more boxes or put sheets of newspaper around anything else. The house suddenly felt cold, even though it was near 90 degrees outside.
I put the wrap around my shoulders, sat in my chair, and rocked myself to sleep.