Today the sale of our Maple Avenue house became official. Those who know us and have spent time at our house understand why it was impossible for me to live there after Andrew had gone. His presence was huge, and the emptiness in the house was more than I could reasonably bear. Though we owned the house for a mere seven years, it’s difficult to overstate what the place meant to us. This 110-year old, Victorian fun house on the river was our absolute refuge and sanctuary. We arrived here a bit battered from too many hard years in the city, ready to start a new beginning in the countryside. We had a 9-month old infant and very few belongings to fill the many, many sunny rooms. Over time, and with a lot of paint and sweat we made it our own beautiful nest – a love letter to each other.
Our babies were raised here, among the tomatoes, cucumbers, and watermelons. They learned to walk and swim and play here. They learned to identify various flower types in the rambling gardens I planted, and how to distinguish the weeds from the seedlings. They helped us plant the birthday roses, mother’s day roses, the flowering shrubs and fruiting trees – so many gifts of love from my husband, too numerous to count. They helped their father hammer and saw and weld things in the beautiful old carriage house that bore the inscriptions of previous owners from a lifetime ago. And we all delighted in the secret places and spaces the house revealed to us. We cooked and ate delicious food here, we made cozy fires in the winter, and swam like fish in the summer. We entertained many, many friends here -- friends that we are so privileged to know, and who took care of us through Andrew’s illness in ways I never could have dreamed of.
We loved each other passionately, talked endlessly, laughed and cried, and rarely ever fought in this house. I helped my beautiful, young husband make his journey to the next life in this house. And as I watched him leave us, I gave a tiny prayer of thanks that his last years here had been so very, very happy.