Saying Goodbye

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Today is the day we have waited for for 10 months.  It is time to move on.  Many of you have shared our journey over the past year with us—it has not always been an easy one but one we had to travel.  Chris’s dad’s illness and death in August 2011 took a toll on us all.  As the daughter in law it probably did not have as profound of an impact on me as it did on his children, Chris, Colleen and Carlton, but it impacted me nonetheless.  I loved him like a father and respected him.  He had raised a wonderful son who I fell in love with and married.  That in and of itself made me love him.

We moved into the family home and stayed there full time for 6 months.  It was not always easy for me —I will be honest about that.  Giving up privacy and getting used to living full time with someone who has special needs is a challenge some days.  While I counted it a joy to be able to do it I do not gloss over the fact that it was not the easiest thing that I have ever done.  I lost my patience.  I lost sleep….a lot of sleep.  I missed my husband whose job was traveling back and forth.  I was selfish.  I wanted things to continue on MY routine.  But it was not to be.   It was I who had to make some adjustments and learn to live with someone else again who needed structure more than I did. But I did it.  Because it was the right thing to do.

Today we are holding an estate auction at the “homestead”.  The house will go to new owners next week. After one massive garage sale, 3 roll offs of garbage and lots of items being given away or taken by the children to put in their own homes there is still enough left for an estate auction.  It is going to be a day of emotions.  As I write this I am awash in them.   While “things” do not define a person they are reminders of that person.  The things that will go to new homes today are just that—things.  But with them are memories that hit me at my very core.  The beautiful teacart that Chris’s dad surprised his mom with that she loved so much, the ice cream table and chairs that Grandma Kate had in her house, the couch that Dad basically lived on the last 6 months of his life, the multitude of duck and geese pictures that adorned the walls, the antiques that Dad refinished and poured love into, and the list goes on.

The new owners will not know the history behind the items that they will be taking home. When they listen to the cd of Andrea Bocelli they won’t know that that was a favorite of Dad’s.  When the family gathers around the dining room table they will have no idea of how many family meals were shared there by another family.  When the car gets new tires the new owner will not know how many miles those other tires traveled taking Dad to doctor’s appointments and to Lee’s Chicken to get Carlton’s favorite meal.

Memories are what keep our loved ones alive in our hearts.  It is not the things that we collect that do that.  I am going to try hard to remember that today when I see strangers taking bits and pieces of our lives away in their cars.  What I have in my heart will never be taken away—the memories are embedded in my soul.

Thank you all for all of your support this past year as we were on this journey.  As I wrote this post on the Wednesday before the actual sale I was moved to tears to reflect on how many of you, my followers, have been there for me throughout this journey.  I am grateful and wanted to thank each of you for your love and concern.  



  1. Touching Bethann. Praying for you today dear.

  2. Dianne says:

    Saying prayers for you, Chris and all the family today.

  3. Charlotte says:

    It’s been almost 9 years since we stood where you are. It was such a discombobulating time. Changes in identity, the family gathering place and the responsibility of being the “grown ups” kept us restless for a long while. We came out a little older, wiser and more appreciative of the sweet memories. Praying strength for you all today. Charlotte

  4. You are right, things are “just things”. But sometimes I fancy that my old things still carry some of the love and the good times that the owners who had them before enjoyed. I have an ancient sewing machine bought for a song at a garage sale, our old house had a family raised here years ago. I would like to think of happy times those people had together—whether it is true or not.

    • I agree—I would like to think that the people that bought things today will be blessed by them and make new memories of their own with them!

  5. Oh Beth Ann, my heart feels the pain you so beautifully express. For as we’ve spoken about before, and as I’ve written about with the van and the tools and things of my Dad’s, I know how strong the memories in things can be.

    The difference is, as you explain, you’re saying goodbye to not just a solitary person, but a whole era of family and love. I feel for you.

    It’s raining here today but I hope further north it will be a blue-sky, sunny day filled with hope and the promise of tomorrow.

    I’ll be thinking of you today.

    • The day turned out very well. A little cloudy and misty when we were setting out all of the stuff but the crowd was good and we sold it all. The sun came out, the food truck was great 🙂 and we all made it through the day relatively well! Thanks for the sweet words.

  6. Sandy Cox says:

    What a beautiful post Beth Ann…..keeping you all in prayer.

  7. Oh Beth Ann… I wish I could give you a hug… I know how hard this is for you all… But you are an amazing person, an amazing daughter and sister in law, and Chris and your entire family is so lucky to have you….

    • Thanks so much for the sweet words!!! We did well—the sale went very well and it all is done now. House closes next week and we will be shifting what has been our focus for the past year to other things!!! Thanks for the long distance love!

  8. You are all in my prayers. Love You!

  9. Praying for you–been there and it wasn’t easy. But knowing you always have the memories even when the “stuff” is no longer, helps. Hugs! Sissy

  10. Oh, Beth Ann, I wasn’t reading you yet back then, but I am so sorry to learn of your loss. Blessings to you and your family today, my friend. You are in my heart and prayers.

    • Thanks so much, Kathy! it was a long year but we are on the other side of it and today went really well. Thanks for the sweet words.

  11. Helen Brown says:

    You and all the family are in my prayers, not just today, but for the healing days to follow. You were fortunate to be taken into the Chiles family with much love.

    • Thank you! We definitely felt the prayers and the day went well. Have to say it is a relief to have all the hard work behind–now the healing can continue.

  12. Becky Miracle says:

    Thinking of you and the family today.

  13. The items go to different homes, but each will carry a bit of love to them. Whether the new owners know it or not, good Karma goes with them..
    You have done a magnificent job all around. God Bless you and your family(ies)

  14. I write this with tears in my eyes. I will keep you in my thoughts today and hope you all will make it through. This was just beautifully written and expressed your thoughts so well!!! Take care.

    • Thanks so much!!! We did really well, actually. Carlton was a little bereft but I think we got him refocused and by the end we were all just ready for it to be done. Thanks for the sweet words!

  15. I remember when my grandmother passed on, several years after grandpa, and we had to do the same thing with the farm and homestead. I didn’t think I would get so emotional seeing grandpas’ horse show ribbons and trophies being boxed up…..or the ones grandma won for her home-made pies. I took one of each for remembrance.
    thoughts and prayers with you today *hugs*

    • Thanks so much! We really felt the prayers and good wishes coming our way. The sale went well, the people were respectful and the items went to some really great new homes. And now we can refocus our lives and move on!! Thanks again!

  16. kzemek says:

    Moving can be very emotional as well as exhausting. Hope your move goes smoothly!

  17. Well we aren’t really moving—-just clearing out the estate but it all went well. thanks for the kind words!!!

  18. Sorry to join the parade late Beth Ann, I guess I’m a little behind again. So glad everything went well with the auction & also glad you realize the memories are not in the things you let go, but in your heart. You are a good woman.

    • Thanks!!! We have been working up to this and it is very strange to be in a motel in this town where we have never stayed in a motel but in the house….but it is another milestone!

  19. Glad to hear that things went well. Do you have your next project planned?

    • Next project—work on our own house!!! We have a big “excercise” room in the finished basement that I have never painted or really done anything to since we bought the house and it could really use some inspiration down there so I would actually exercise……this week I am going to make myself start on cleaning that and figuring out what to do!

  20. Doing the “right thing” at the beginning is often what makes the ending bearable. Wishing you lots of laughter and good memories along side your heartache.

  21. Reading this, it made me love the fact that almost all of my furniture has been owned by someone else and someone else’s Mom and Dad. I love my things to have a history. I hope that is where “Dad’s” things ended up.
    Losing someone is very difficult. We lost our Baby Girl 2 years ago and I could hardly part with anything of hers.
    Thank you for sharing this.

    • It is still fresh in my heart. As I read your comment I went back and reread my post and was awash in feelings again. It does not end as I am sure your grief over your sweet little girl does not end. Thank you for taking the time to comment. Nice to “meet” you and find another blogger who understands the depth of these feelings.

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