Beach Houses and Dog Bowls

Being alive is weird. I’m sure being dead is weird, too. Or maybe not. Maybe your consciousness is dead along with your body and so there’s nothing left of you to witness whether being dead is weird, or not. But back to alive weirdness.

We put my mother’s beach house on the market this weekend. (It’s been 20 months since my dad died, and I’ve finally moved from calling things “my parents'” to calling them “my mother’s”.) My parents bought the beach house when the grandchildren were little. My brothers were still married to their wives. They were still alive. They spent weekends at the beach house with their wives, and kids, and with my parents. My sister and her husband and their kids went, too. No one knew yet what my sister’s husband had done. My brothers’ alcoholism hadn’t yet stolen their lives. Dementia hadn’t stolen my father from us. And now my brothers and my dad are dead, and we know what my brother-in-law did. And the beach house is up for sale.

We’ve spent the past weeks sprucing things up, moving things out, and dealing with my mother’s need to hang on to her things. Her memories.

“I can’t leave that coffee table. Mike made that. I won’t just leave it with the house.”

Mike. Her oldest son. Oldest child. Dead in April 2012 at 56. Liver failure. Fucking alcohol. It’s a god damn thief.

I didn’t know it was going to be hard to sell the beach house. I didn’t know I was going to well up with grief all over again. My sister, who is not terribly sentimental, couldn’t bring herself to throw out an old metal dog bowl.dog bowl

“It was Sandy’s originally,” she told me. Sandy was my dad’s boxer. The first family dog after I was born. I recall a photo of me as a little girl, leaning over toward Sandy, pressing my forehead into his. After Sandy, there was a series of black labs. Rebel, then Nugget, and then Lacy. Each of those dogs had, over four decades, lapped water from that metal bowl.

“Maybe you should take that,” I told my sister. And so she did. She took it to her beach house, where the dogs of her daughters will drink from it. And maybe some day, the dogs of her grandchildren. Dogs that will be around long after my sister and I are dead.

We die. And the beach houses and dog bowls remain. Weird.

About Unconfirmed Bachelorette

Unconfirmed Bachelorette, a/k/a Ella, is a 50-something-year-old lawyer who wishes fervently she could retire from the practice of law and write full time. Never-married-childfree Ella resides in Austin, Texas with her three fluffy black rescue cats.
This entry was posted in Alcoholism, Alzheimer's, Death and Grief, Death of a sibling, Dementia, Elderly Parents, Galveston, Grief, Grieving, Love, Mid-Life, Moving On and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Beach Houses and Dog Bowls

  1. good2begone says:

    The ending of this post is metaphorically powerful. Hope it gets easier once it is sold.

    Like

  2. franhunne4u says:

    Your memories will stay – even if the things are gone.

    Like

  3. 18mitzvot says:

    Give yourself extra pampering and love right now. Preparing the house for sale is a very hard thing that you are facing so bravely as a family. ((cyberhugs))

    Like

  4. AmyRose says:

    Sounds to me like you need (((HUGS))). Hang in there. With Love, Amy

    Like

  5. 18mitzvot says:

    I have nominated your blog for an award. You are under no obligation to accept (:
    http://18mitzvot.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/leibster-award-discover-new-blogs/

    Like

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