THE LONG VIEW: Former home lost to memory and new owners

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Pat Grimes New pic.jpg

In this life it can be difficult to stay focused on what is important and to ignore what is not.  When it comes to items having sentimental value, I tend to hold tight to whomever or whatever once touched my heart, as if letting go would somehow diminish or erase the happy recollections they elicit.

Not quite four years after the divorce decree, I am in for a sentimentality challenge.  My former wife and her significant other have purchased their dream home; the residence where my sons were raised will soon belong to someone else.

In this life it can be difficult to stay focused on what is important and to ignore what is not.  When it comes to items having sentimental value, I tend to hold tight to whomever or whatever once touched my heart, as if letting go would somehow diminish or erase the happy recollections they elicit.

Not quite four years after the divorce decree, I am in for a sentimentality challenge.  My former wife and her significant other have purchased their dream home; the residence where my sons were raised will soon belong to someone else.

Even after moving out, I was a regular visitor to the old house.  Sometimes I was there to pick up one of my children, and every week’s exchange of Charlie, our dog — shared in a joint custody arrangement — saw me returning to that familiar address in the old neighborhood.

Truth be told, though, being there was often hard to bear, if not heart wrenching. Despite the many changes my ex made in décor, every room teemed with recollections of how things used to be, and every glance had me noting renovations, repairs, and upgrades we had made to the space over the years.

Echoes of my younger boys’ laughter bounced off the walls and into the yard; there is where we put up the swing set right after we moved in, here is where the tree and tree fort used to be, that’s where the pool delighted us for a decade, and there by the fence is where two of our beloved dogs patiently waited for the neighbor to bring treats (and where they are now buried).

Confronted by memories like these, it was all too easy to forget the meaningful reasons our marriage ended and to look toward the past as though it was somehow better than the here and now.

Again and again, being where most everything in my family’s life happened tended to underscore feelings of loss associated with the divorce.

I suppose it is best I’ll no longer be going there; being at the house was, too frequently, a recipe for a heavy heart.  And it is absolutely appropriate that my former spouse starts a new life in the new place.  Besides, it’s not as though I will be losing any memories of what was good about the place we once lived.

Truth be told, even if the divorce never happened, that home would pass out of my family’s hands soon enough.

Eventually, we would move on, changing our living situation as we aged or, more starkly, succumbing to death.  So, now is as good a time as any, I guess.

In not too long, hopefully, the boys and I will reminisce about the fun we had, the goofy colors and patterns they painted in their rooms, meals we made together, their friends who visited, and home projects we did together over the years.

For the moment, however, it feels like something else is being taken from me.  After a few tears, I believe it’ll be time to let go and move on.

Pat Grimes, a former South Bay resident, writes from Ypsilanti, Mich. He can be reached at grimespat19@gmail.com

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