SOL2015 – Hello and Goodbyes

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It is hard when you lose a loved one. It is hard as we watch our parents generation pass away. This weekend I traveled to the family farm to gather with a few of us who still own shares in the land and house. This travel time I knew was a way of saying goodbye to old ways, an old house and a final settling of goodbye to both my mother and my uncle.

Last spring my Uncle passed away and three month later my mother was also gone. My uncle was in his 80’s and in ill health. My mother was 95 so we were not surprised by this loss. These were people who lived long and wonderful lives. They were people who gave so much to others around them. Even within their last weeks or days.

The surprise was this spring, about a year from these deaths, there were 8 of us sitting in the parlor of a 130 year old house. We are the next generation. There is only one who remains in my mothers family. My Aunt Gen who is 94.IMG_1893

It is now time for my cousins and I to take over the working of the farm. The decisions about this old house and its contents and pulling of our cousins together. I was ready for the goodbyes, the letting go and the moving on.

I think the others were ready to let go as well but as we talked, shared stories, and asked questions the mood in the room began to shift. The desire to have the larger family gather appeared. The need for a reunion to share stories. The need to say Hello surfaced like the spring sun.IMG_1896

Stories bind us and renew us and that is what they did last Friday morning. We cleaned the rock garden of the winter leaves and dead plants, moved inside to discuss the needs of the house and found our lives bond together once again by stories. We set a date of a family reunion in late summer and created a group to look over the old house and its belongings.

We moved from goodbyes to hellos while pulling weeds and sitting among the family ghosts in the parlor. A parlor full of memories and stories.


About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, care for my Grandson and write. Life is good!
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3 Responses to SOL2015 – Hello and Goodbyes

  1. rosecappelli says:

    Your post demonstrates the power of story to bring people together and help heal. I loved the way your work in the rock garden led to the work you planned for your families. A very heartfelt post.

  2. Dana Murphy says:

    That house is stunning. I love this line: The need to say Hello surfaced like the spring sun. And I also love the idea of moving from good-bye to hello.

    I’m glad your family is finding peace and happiness in remembering and honoring the lives of your mom and uncle.

  3. Catmere says:

    You came to say goodbye, but said hello. You came to move on, but found yourself drawn closer again. I’m sure your mother and uncle were smiling as you all came together. No matter what is decided, how comforting to share stories and keep them alive. “Stories bind us.” Love it!


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