Since I last posted here the peonies have come and gone. Now the daisies are about to bloom, and just like last year it seems I'm going to miss their big show.
Earlier this month, exactly one year from the date my grandfather called to tell me of his cancer, we received an offer on his home. Stranger things have happened, though I feel in some ways this is remarkable. Since then, the offer has been accepted and plans have been made for all of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren to gather there in just a few days.
Saying goodbye to his home and much of its contents will mark the end of an era for us. In the past six years we have said goodbye to our grandmother, our mother, and last summer, our grandfather there. Though there have been some truly bright moments, it has been a heavy handful of years for my siblings and I. His faraway town is a place that, after this trip, we'll most likely not see again for a very long time. We are ready for one last goodbye.
This time around, we are determined to find the celebration in the goodbye, to say a fond farewell to a home and a town that held such a significant portion of our family. I am sure there will be tough moments. The thought of saying goodbye to my grandmother's kitchen and her wonderful neighbors already brings tears.
There will also be laughter, and joy, as we celebrate memories of being there together and pour over a collective life rich with stories, good and bad. Both have shaped us. We will toast to this and to forging forward towards a new chapter - one in which it finally feels like we are the new adults, the new parents, the new keepers of the family stories we hold so dear. All has shifted now.
And after we have celebrated, a full-circle year after boarding a plane to be with my grandfather, I will board a plane for home. This time, coming home will feel different. There will no longer be a strong pull in my heart to go back to his little town, all that I loved there will be gone. In its place will be a feeling of gratitude for all that his little town gave to him, and to me.
I can already feel my heart tug towards the future, towards a new chapter, and a new generation to tell our stories to. My grandfather was quite the story teller. I hope to do him justice. I hope to tell them well.