….. “As they cross through the swamps, the sadness that lingers in this region takes hold of Artax who stops in his tracks and begins to sink into the bog. Though Atreyu tries to bring his horse back from sadness, Artax is consumed by the swamp, much to the heartbreak of both Atreyu and Bastian.” ….. taken from the IMDB synopsis of the 1984 movie, “The Neverending Story”.
I can relate to Artax the horse in the movie “The Neverending Story”. Overcome by the sadness, sinking into the bog.
My brothers and I are going through the difficult process of downsizing the family home in preparation for closing. After over 3 years on the market and multiple price reductions, it’s finally selling. It’s a stately traditional brick home on 12 lovely, secluded wooded acres. Huge and old with tons of character. It was filled with objects my parents lovingly collected and treasured for many years, an eclectic mix of modern and antique.
Mom and Dad came to the US from Cuba in the late 50’s with nothing but their lives, the clothes on their backs and my oldest brother in tow. They settled in FL, where I was born, until my Dad decided he wanted to be a country doctor and moved to Belmont, NC in the mid 60’s. And there they stayed, raised their family and grew old.
It’s a necessary thing, this cleaning out, selling, giving away and throwing away process. I get it. But it’s one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to deal with besides divorce. Mom is actually handling this much better than I could have imagined. I think she’s ready for it to be done, exhausted by the stress of trying to maintain the massive property on her own and the uncertainty of her future. She’s weary …. looking forward to a simpler life. To me this feels like a death has occurred.
The house is nearly void of furniture, few pieces remain. The artwork has been picked over. Most everything has been sold at a tremendous loss. Beautiful, graceful things sold at a fraction of their value just to make them go away. Thursday we will clean out cabinets, bathrooms and closets. I can almost see vultures circling.
My Dad’s practice of over 50 years, now closed. His body is wasting away in a nursing home bed with his mind alive in Cuba. Mom, although blind and partially disabled, is a tough old girl, a walking history book and sharp as a tack. She’s lived through Hitler and Castro … so this season of her life is cake compared to that. Would that I could be that brave and strong.
My wise-old daughter says it’s the order of things. People get older and have to downsize. They get rid of the stuff. But it’s not about stuff. It’s what this symbolizes …. It’s a passing generation …. A life’s work …. It’s impending mortality … It’s on the verge of eternity.
I’m so not ready for any of this.