Since I remember, Mom had her nursing graduation photo above her bed and Dad had his pilot’s grad. photo above his. They indicated who slept where – on which side of the bed. They were icons. Everyone who saw the photos commented on what a handsome couple they were. “Your Mom was a real looker” they’d say – and, “wow – what a mischievous smile your Dad had.”
Any comment that was repeated in their company would be met with a blush and a grin. “Oh”, Mom would say bashfully. “I don’t know what happened to that gal”. Dad would say, “yeah, cocky young pilot with the world at my feet.”
Those photos were as much Mom and Dad as Mom and Dad were. They were the first things to come off the wall when they moved and the first to go back on the wall when they arrived. They were legend.
Tonight – the stager came to the condominium. She was wonderful, kind, and sensitive. She kept watching me to see how I was reacting to the suggestions she made – but she missed my reaction – gut -wrench – when she took Mom and Dad’s photos off the wall. They had been watching vigil over Dad as he passed and they had been watching vigil over the empty place as prospective buyers passed through. What the stager knew had to happen, happened. I knew it – and she knew it. There was just too much Bill and Paula in that room. It took someone else to “do the deed”, but I knew it had to be done.
I left apartment 1001 tonight knowing that things had changed. Mom and Dad were no longer there – they never had been in the material things – always there in spirit in my heart.
Yes – things were different – I was more peaceful. Now, that’s not to say a few tears were shed as I entered into yet another stage into adulthood (finally). But, it felt good.
And I think they finally felt free to leave apartment 1001. Finally, they were “off the wall”.