Shutting the door to my parents’ empty house was like coming to the end of a movie when all the vivid splendor suddenly fades to black. The story-line had finally come to a close; all voices were silent. The grand collection of objects and heirlooms were ferreted away in boxes or sorted into purposeful piles. The stuff that were the backdrop, scenery and props of a 62-year marriage, would be assigned to new duties now.
Bob and Winnie were no longer living in the house they had made home. No one would be scurrying from room to room packing the suitcases for road trips; no excited voices on “catch-up” phone calls to family and friends would carry down the hallways; there would be no more holiday gatherings for the family that spent much of their year scattered across the miles.
Yes, it was hitting me all so squarely in the face, I would no longer bring my Papa his fresh, black coffee in his favorite navy mug. Gone forever was his gentle teasing about my leaving cold coffee in the bottom of my cup. (He loved to boast his coffee never had a chance to get cold, because he didn’t waste any time drinking it!) I would never again hear his verbal reward: “AAAAAAAAH, Good to the last drop, Miss Donna!”
Over too were the days I would steal Mama away for a Saturday outing while Dad would stay home watching football. Her lilting voice, her love of shopping for the grandkids, and her absolute enjoyment of her daughter’s company…those times all faded like old photographs lining the now lonely hallways, scenes with familiar dialogue, never to be re-enacted.
Although the physical door to my parents’ house shut quite silently and without much effort, I heard the echoing crash of another ethereal door, closing permanently on life as I knew it. To me it was hauntingly deafening. With that ghost-like sound arose mental apparitions of tractor trailers, tambourines, tent meetings and television studios, circling around me like a whirlwind and finally resting behind the closed door of the past life. The surreal emotions marked the end of a glorious era, never to be re-visited.
Sadly, poignantly, it was becoming quite clear. It was okay for me to remember; I should and must mourn their deaths; but, I could not ever re-open that door and try to relive their long-shared life. A new chapter was waiting to be written; a different drama begged to be played out on an awaiting stage. In order to find my voice…my platform, I would be required to confront the fear of the unknown.
All my familiar anchors had vanished. All emotional tethers had been severed. Behind me stood the cherished, comforting, and all-too-closed door to what I knew as home. Before me, my teary eyes strained to discover the next open portal, somewhere off in the distance, slightly ajar.
My heart was asked to trust God, knowing He was already writing the next scenes and gathering the cast of characters for this freshly-produced drama, filled with His personality and purpose. i determined to trust He would somehow replace the love and fellowship so vacant from my life, and restore the lost sense of security in having nearby those who were always happy to see me.
I had to trust I would experience love behind the door yet to open, even if differently than I had ever known. Tenderness, friendship and joy would be shared with many in the global family I had yet to encounter, in the next, unwritten chapter of my life, after one amazing, epoch door closed forever this year.