20 In Women Now

Women Now: Slices of heaven back home

An afternoon in Battle Lake, MN

It’s the second weekend in April and the trees are all bare in Ottertail County in Minnesota. The fields are quiet and empty; the ground is a gray-brown.

The lake I come back to is no longer frozen (an early thaw). Nearby Battle Lake bustles with tourists in the summer, but it’s quiet now. Many stores won’t be open until May.

It’s breathtakingly beautiful in my eyes and in my heart. This is the perfect time to be here, weeks before the rush.

Mom and Dad bought this property on Dead Lake the year I was married, 1977. I’ve never lived here, only visited. But it’s home, home to many memories, both good and bad.

The family on an outing in Battle Lake

The family on an outing in Battle Lake

It’s the home of many card games with my brothers, Mom and Dad, and my sister-in-law. It’s the home of Mother teaching my daughter Caitlin how to make lefse, a Norwegian staple. It’s the home of birthday parties, wedding anniversary parties, retirement parties, and tea parties.

It’s the home of mourners gathered to comfort our family when we lost my brother Todd and then a few months later, Mother. It’s a home in transition. It’s a home with a For Sale sign out front.

In every room I breathe in the beauty my mom created. It’s all still in tact. It was her artistic creation and I wouldn’t think of disturbing a thing. It’s just the way she wanted it. It’s how I want it.

Loving Dad time

Loving Dad time

Dad wants to sell the house furnished. I get it. Who would want to take the first well-placed knick knack off a table? Who could take the pictures off the walls?

Last night Dad and I were talking about chapters in life. “Yes,” he said, “and you can’t go back and rewrite those chapters.”

No, we can’t.

I’m not prepared to close this chapter. I do pray for strength and peace to grace our lives when that day comes. For today, I will enjoy this slice of heaven in a place I call home.

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20 Comments

  • Reply
    Mare
    April 10, 2017 at 11:01 pm

    {{{hugs}}}

  • Reply
    Kathy
    April 11, 2017 at 3:43 am

    My mother is 92…still at home…very difficult discussions this weekend about selling, placement and dispersion of contents of her home. I feel your pain. This feels like walking through mud. Will keep you in my prayers as well. This too will pass.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      April 11, 2017 at 3:44 pm

      And I’ll keep you in mine! Had a few difficult conversations with Dad this week. At different times since Mother died it has felt very much like walking through mud! That was helpful!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      April 11, 2017 at 3:45 pm

      Thank you!

  • Reply
    Maggie Fieger
    April 11, 2017 at 6:23 am

    Prayers and hugs too! All 4 of our parents have passed as well as most of their generation. I have had many regrets about what I didn’t take but mostly it’s just stuff (but memories of people). It’s hard to go home, but it’s harder not to have a home to go back to.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      April 11, 2017 at 3:45 pm

      Oh, that is what I don’t look forward to! You said that so well, thank you!

  • Reply
    Karen
    April 11, 2017 at 8:00 am

    This post is a beautiful way to honor your mom and strikes a chord in those of us who find ourselves at a similar stage in life. You just poured your heart into this post. Thank you for sharing yourself this way – praying for a sweet rest in your soul over poignant goodbyes.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      April 11, 2017 at 3:46 pm

      Your words are so very comforting!

  • Reply
    Cindy La Ferle
    April 11, 2017 at 8:54 am

    I lost my mom two years ago, I can relate. I wrote an essay for Victoria magazine about the process of going through all of the things in my mother’s last home, and then having an estate sale. So very hard. Sending hugs your way

    • Reply
      Brenda
      April 11, 2017 at 3:42 pm

      Cindy if you have a link to that essay and could post it here I know I’m not the only one who would appreciate it!

  • Reply
    Katherine Cramer
    April 11, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    I ponder stuff. I was in charge of clearing my mother’s house and the sprucing-up via Staging. One of Mom’s friends said that my mother would not have liked the Mid-Century Modern staging. It certainly helped to sell her house. Lots of stuff was donated to the Oakland Museum White Elephant Sale. Our garage sale primarily served my brother’s stuff since he lived with Mom for many years. I have some of her furniture in storage. I hope to remodel my home and incorporate some of her things. I will need to move out of my house to allow for a full sprucing-up. The stuff must go somewhere and that is the difficult task I currently face. Meanwhile I look at houses for inspiration and may upgrade after fixing my current home. The emotional component slows me down quite a bit. I do a lot of stopping to read or look at things. I’m not sure how else to accomplish my goals without honoring my desire to savour what was. Thanks, Brenda. This is a beautiful piece.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      April 13, 2017 at 10:50 am

      You bring up great points. Yes, savoring. That’s what I enjoyed the most about this trip back home. I did a fair amount of savoring. Who knows what the future brings? Well, we sort of do know, don’t we? Thanks for “showing” me the process you went through. xo

  • Reply
    Nancy Molstad
    April 11, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    Hugs to you and your loved ones. I have no thoughts or words to contribute; I wish for you a warm-ish shawl and a chair on a lake dock for as long as you want to sit and think.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      April 13, 2017 at 10:48 am

      That is so precious, I just will have to go get one of Mother’s handkerchiefs and dab the tears!!! Thank you, Nancy, so very much. I think many of us don’t reach for those warmish shawls enough. It’s important to sit and let life soak in. Thank you for reminding me.

  • Reply
    Torunn
    April 11, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    How sweet of your mother to teach the grandchild to make Lefse!
    Perhaps she also made Fattigmann for cristmas.

    Greetings from Oslo in Norway

    • Reply
      Brenda
      April 13, 2017 at 10:47 am

      Oh yes, she did! We had all kinds of Scandinavian treats! Rosettes, Krum Kake, and more! Thanks for sharing all the way from Norway!

  • Reply
    Barbara Kraus
    April 12, 2017 at 11:37 pm

    I really wanted to see each room, to see how she created them. 🙂

    I especially feel your heart when you share about your family. So well written, and so kind to share with us.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      April 13, 2017 at 10:45 am

      I thought about showing you each room but I’m just not sure it would translate. There is a feel when you walk into that house that is all Mother. And pleasant. And lovely. And everyone talked about it. It’s not my personal style necessarily. But it was hers and she did it well!

  • Reply
    jt tomas
    April 28, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    My heart goes out to you. I lost my Dad slowly to dementia. He went to heaven just this past year. Going thru things and selling their house was difficult for all of the siblings and my Mom. I am also from Ottertail County in Minnesota. Nothing, like the friendly people and the beautiful lakes. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      May 3, 2017 at 8:55 pm

      It’s wonderful meeting someone from Ottertail County! I was just talking to my twin brother tonight about some of these family things. He was sharing with me some Raymond Carver short stories about families. He said, “I guess that’s us now.” It’s true! I miss those good old days with both parents at the lake, vibrant and laughing and finishing each other’s sentences. This chapter is tough. Thanks for sharing with me.

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