When I was a little girl, I first watched "The Sound of Music" laying on the floor in front of my grandmother's TV. I remember learning the story of Maria and the 7 children without a mother and the captain who learned to love again when he heard Maria sing. The story captivated me and inspired me to become Julie Andrews when I grew up. But, I never became Julie, although I will always have great admiration for her beautiful voice.
Last night, I caught the tail end of "The Sound of Music" and felt somewhat like a child again. The ending never fails to make me tear up and I'm sure I have seen this movie more than any other. But last night it was more than the story of Maria. It was the memory of laying on that carpet. It wasn't actually my grandmother's, it was my aunt's. They lived together and although it was my aunt's house, I always equated it with my grandmother, "Ma Butch."
The carpet has long since been replaced, but the last time I was at the house, I sat on the couch and looked at the memories I held in that room and in that house. A lifetime of memories and so much love. I looked at the spot where my sister and I lay and watched movies and TV. I walked upstairs and remembered the room that used to have red and black shag carpet. The blue room that held treasures, and the room converted to an office that used to be where I would sleep when I visited. It was in that room that my sister and I would lay and giggle, while my aunt came down the hall and threatened us if we didn't get quiet.
That house is where my family first met my future husband and met my children. Where Easter Egg hunts were held in a perfectly flat, tree-less backyard. The house where my grandmother let us dye eggs at the kitchen counter, stir alphabet soup on the stove, and where Pringles were always served in a glass dish. It was my annual Thanksgiving pilgrimage with the BEST extended family I could ever have and the BEST cornbread dressing. It was a place where I always felt at home.
After my aunt's death a few weeks ago, I said good-bye to the house in Nashville, Georgia. It will be sold sometime and it's contents distributed, but it will always be in my heart. The memories, the people, the laughter and tears - I am thankful for them. It doesn't lessen the grief right now for it is still fresh and raw.
In this process of grief, I have discovered how important my family is. I have reunited with my oldest friend (we met in the church nursey as infants.) I have felt Jesus hold my hand and calm the lump in my throat. And I am grateful for it all.