One of my favorite authors, May Sarton wrote a journal about her journey finding a new home and filling it with her parents’ furniture. Like May, I had to deal with the death of both my parents and had to take apart their lives together in that house that they lived the majority of their retirement lives together. I had to wander about having to make decisions suddenly and rapidly and hoping that the decisions I made were ok.
I have always felt that I was dreaming deep in my life here in Tucson. I ended up living here after a divorce which tore me apart and left me having to figure out what will my life be now. But I managed to find a good job at the University and have worked for and with some great people. Some of these are now my closest friends.
And I also bought a house for the reason of wanting to have a place to call my home and a place for my floor loom to live. I got this little 1925 Tucson Bungalow house just to fit my loom. And it have been a happy and creative place. In addition to the loom, there is a table where I make my jewelry, and work with fabric. The list constantly expands.
In June, the furniture from my parents’ house arrived as well as boxes filled with old clothing, old envelopes, quilts, dishes. On one wall the case with my dad’s flag hangs in his honor. My mom’s quilt now hangs about my bed.
My own fear like May’s was would their furniture languish in my house full of my other furniture, tucked here and there, feeling crowded out? Or would the pink packing peanuts take over the place like the creeping pink ooze from some horror movie?
Would these great pieces of “their” lives now rot in cellar,unloved, uncherished, like so much old lumber?..how long would the life in me stay alive if it did not find new roots?” May Sarton
And their wicker furniture now gracefully fills my house after a few months of quandary about how to fit it all in and what to remove. It was a hard decision. In the end, my lovely rattan futon frame and my hand-tiled coffee table has found a new home with my good friend, Nura. In their place, are the wicker chairs and tables that my parents had had in their home in New Jersey. My childhood home. The parson’s bench that my mom had in their living room, sits now in my dining room with generally one of the cats sleeping on it.
But the wicker was white and off white. And my house really wasn’t ready for a new white pallet. So I started stalking the aisle of ace hardware’s spray paint seeking inspiration.
Now at last it feels more like my house. And I find like May that I feel their happiness in my house and find myself lifting out of the grief that has been saturating me throughout the hot Tucson summer.
“I suddenly realized that what I had brought with me into the house,and the house itself, were making it possible for the first time since the death of my parents to evoke their joys. For the first time the joy that surrounds them in my mind could be rooted again, and had a place to root in. The long grief rose and melted away as I have so often seen mist do over my fields in the early morning.” – May Sarton
May’s writing has always been a source of inspiration to me. And now it is only fitting that she gives me some guidance getting through the maze of being an orphan.