Saying goodbye to the condo

Holy trees--like matchsticks

What it may look like

Tomorrow I’m going to fly south through (hopefully) friendly skies.  Over stick-figure tree skeletons way down below.  Perhaps the sun will set through our jet window.  We’ll pass across the snowy vista of the Upper Peninsula and head south across Lake Michigan.  I will peer from the afternoon window and imagine my blogging friend Cindy on Beaver Island.

Staring down through the window, perhaps watching the sun set out of the right side of the airplane, I will look for familiar landmarks in Lower Michigan.  Could that be Traverse Bay?  Could that be Houghton Lake?  Could that be my hometown of Yale in the Thumb out the left?

Of course, it’s all impossible to truly ascertain where a person might be from such an elevated vista.  That lake might be Higgins Lake.  When you think you’re in the Thumb–well, you might be passing Lansing.  Which is OK, because that’s where I graduated from journalism school a thousand years ago.  And where is Ann Arbor down there below this beautiful plane?  That’s where our son attended college a long time ago.  Yes, memories live below the airplane’s path.  Memories of corn fields, long-ago beaches, delightful coffee shops, Chinese restaurants.

Land of a million trees

Or this

I want the plane to announce the memories, one by one, but the plane will fly impartially over everything headed for Detroit.  Once the plane lands in Detroit–if there’s time–I will scurry through the tunnel toward PF Chang’s for dinner.  I will call my mom who lives two hours from the airport just to say “Hi, how are you doing?  I love you.”

Another plane shall be boarded and up, up and away we’ll go.  This time the terrain is spotted only by random memories, so I’ll put in ear buds and perhaps watch a movie.  Wondering what movies are good these days.

We’ll travel three hours south to Fort Myers.  I will drag my suitcase down toward the taxis and outside it will feel like heaven, yes heaven, after this northern polar vortex.  I will drape my heavy wool coat over an arm and dance up to the taxi booth and announce the need for a taxi to the Beach.

Land of palm trees and flowers

And there will be palm trees.  And flowers.

And off we shall go, the taxi driver and I.  He’ll be from Puerto Rico or Jamaica or Nicaragua or downtown Fort Myers or Chicago and he’ll tell me his life story.  Sometimes he won’t.  Sometimes he’ll be silent and I’ll glide along in the taxi’s back seat without saying anything.  Other times we’ll chat endlessly and I’ll learn about his family and when he moved to Cape Coral and whether he knows how to get to our condo.

We’ll drive past CVS Drugstore, just past Santini Mall, and toward the condo my mom owns.  Where I’ve been visiting these past 25-30 years.  Where our kids played Marco Polo in the swimming pool.  Where Chris locked us out of the unit when he was barely twelve years old. It will be dark when the taxi pulls in.  I will punch in the secret code and ride the elevator upstairs.  My mom got stuck in that elevator many years ago.

This will be the last week I will spend at the condo that has helped shaped this life.  My mom is selling and my assignment is to empty out personal effects.

Kathy and Mom enjoying a cup of coffee in Florida

Mom and me in 2012

It will be a bittersweet week.  I have never been at the condo without my mom.  (She’s doing fine in her home in lower Michigan, but has decided she’s not traveling to Florida again.  She’s 86 years old now.)  My brother and his wife own a place nearby so maybe we’ll go boating some fine afternoon after I’ve boxed up items for Goodwill or my mom.

I’ll perhaps walk the “Kathy walk” alone.  It’s a walk through the bird sanctuary named for me, although heaven knows why.  Years ago my mom and I walked it every day, every trip.  She hasn’t been able to make the walk in recent years.  My dad used to meet us at the Outrigger restaurant for coffee.  My daughter sometimes accompanied us.

It will be a trip rich in memories.  I may share more this week if inspired.  IF I’m not too busy taping boxes shut.  IF there’s time to share a photo or two.  If not–thanks for accompanying me virtually on this goodbye trip.  We may still fly down to Fort Myers Beach to visit my brother and wife, but it’s goodbye to a sweet part of my life.

Florida sunset

Florida sunset


About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in February 2019 and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Saying goodbye to the condo

  1. Barb says:

    Safe trip, Kathy. Enjoy the sun and sand and surf while you’re there. Store up a few new memories. It’s a time of change and adjustment. Go easily with the flow. Barb

  2. Susan D. Durham says:

    I hope it goes as it’s supposed to go, and all the feelings, sensations, memories are cushioned in sweet poignancy, my friend. Big hugs and lots of love to you as you experience this change.

    • Kathy says:

      That describes it well, Susan–“sweet poignancy”. I am really looking forward to this trip, but there will be so many feelings and memories arising. Thank you so much, dear buddy. ❤

  3. Stacy says:

    Saying goodbye is never easy for me. I’m wishing you safe travels and a blissful walk down memory lane. XOXO

  4. Carol says:

    You’ve probably heard me say this before, but the only true constant in life is the change. The good news is you’ll have some time in the warmth – time to say goodbye and revisit all those lovely memories.

    • Kathy says:

      I so agree with you, Carol. Change is swirling around us constantly. I am very excited about the Florida warmth. Last I heard it’s supposed to be 81 degrees on Monday!

  5. rehill56 says:

    Hope all goes well for you and that you do “smell the flowers” too along with all the chores! Travelling mercies dear Kathy!💖

  6. Ally Bean says:

    Safe travels, both physical and emotional. It’s a weird feeling to do what you’ll be doing, knowing it’s an ending but at the same time a step forward. Take care.

  7. dawnkinster says:

    Store the good things, the memories, the sweet moments for your Mom. Let the rest go. It will be hard. Take walks, rest when you need to. Don’t stress too much over any one thing. Hugs.

    • Kathy says:

      Thanks, Dawn. I know Mom and I will be in close communication on the telephone during the day as we decide what to do with each of her things. Will try to keep any stress levels under control. xoxoxo

  8. Rose Falter says:

    End of a good run for your family vacations there. We visited your mom & dad once and I felt like I was on the back of a cruise ship! Your mom loved golfing and socializing but I understand her desire to be “home.”

    • Kathy says:

      Rosemary, how nice to see you here! I didn’t know (or didn’t remember) that you visited my folks at the condo. Yes, Mom always did love those things, but she’s now more comfortable back at home in Yale. Thank you so much for commenting. I am going to copy & paste and send Mom your comment!

  9. Brenda says:

    Dear Kathy, my heart goes with you as you travel on this journey. My prayers will be with you as you go through your Mom’s condo. Yes, it will be bittersweet but one thing to treasure is that your Mom is still alive. I hope you cherish the memories of times spent there and that you make some new memories while visiting there this time. Be safe and know you are loved. ❤ And, please, next time you visit your Mom…give her a gentle hug from me.

    • Kathy says:

      Brenda, I so treasure that my mom is still alive! And there are so many good memories… I remember when our childhood cottage was sold out of the family. Many bittersweet feelings there. But time passes and we move on. It’s good to fully say goodbye with our hearts…I was afraid that I wouldn’t have this chance to spend one last week there, but it’s going to happen as long as the airplanes cooperate. Won’t be seeing Mom now until spring so remind me about that hug. *Thank you*

  10. lisaspiral says:

    Bittersweet. The goodbyes are hard but the memories are treasures. You are fortunate to still be making memories with your Mom.

  11. Elisa says:

    I don’t know what to say to this. Inner response is to want to know if you are okay?

    • Kathy says:

      Sorry it took a week to respond to your lovely question. Yes, I am okay. I am back home now after that week in Florida and feeling quite settled. I so appreciate you asking, Elisa.

  12. sybil says:

    Wonderful memories you have of that lovely place. After one chapter ends, another one begins. You are a marvellous daughter. Consider yourself hugged.

    • Kathy says:

      Sybil, I am smiling because I must have unconsciously taken your comment (One chapter ends, another one begins) and used it responding to other comments on Facebook and elsewhere. So very true! The condo chapter is now at a close and we’ll have to turn the page to see what happens next. Smile.

  13. debyemm says:

    I didn’t realize that you graduated from journalism school. Perhaps that is an added element that allows your writing to be utterly beautiful. I often wonder if mine would be of a higher quality had I had such an education instead of marrying and having a child so young. I’ll never know. It is what it is.

    It’s bittersweet, that clearing out work. I remember my two weeks in May doing that in my deceased parent’s home. At least you are not “there” yet. That is a blessing.

    Still it is a lot of work, deciding what to keep or not. I have regrets for some of the decisions at the time, not knowing what was coming next. But that also is what it is.

    Best wishes for getting through it all. Hugs.

    • Kathy says:

      Deb, journalism school was good for learning how to write practically. It didn’t encourage anything lyrical or poetic, and I was once chastised quite strongly for writing too much in that mode. Which is one reason why blogging appeals! It is sometimes interesting to ponder the different directions our lives may have traveled.

      Yes, it’s a blessing that three of our four parents are still living, but am now beginning to learn what it’s like to empty out a loved place. It was hard at the condo (but easy in other ways) that I couldn’t bring too much home due to the high cost of shipping. Sent my mom a box and me a box, but the majority was given away or tossed. Thank you for your kind wishes.

  14. Lori says:

    A meaningful, melancholy post. I understand those feelings of saying goodbye to place. It’s as if we’re saying goodbye to memories, but thankfully, we can take those with us. Stay safe, and I know you’ll take time out to enjoy the warmth for a bit, too. Hugs to you as you say goodbye.

    • Kathy says:

      Hi, Lori! I am back home and can finally use the computer to respond to these comments. It was an interesting week. The first couple of days were stressful, but then things calmed down. There was a lot of fun moments, too. The condo may have sold already. What a process! Thank you so much.

  15. Joanne says:

    A bitter-sweet journey, but you’ll be spending time with your dear Mother. And it’s her decision to sell, so you will support her in every way possible, just as daughters do. ❤

    Safe travels, Kathy. xxx

    • Kathy says:

      Hi Joanne. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to spend time with my mom. She is back home in Michigan and couldn’t come down to help with the cleanup. I totally supported her decision to sell. It was time, and she didn’t want to leave it for us kids to do later. Thanks for the safe travel wishes. I am back home now and settling in.

  16. Reggie says:

    What a bitter-sweet journey this must have been for you… so many memories. I went through a somewhat similar experience a few years ago when my Mom moved into a very small apartment in a retirement village and had to empty out her much larger ‘old’ apartment. It was gut-wrenching to say goodbye to sooo many of her beloved things and pieces of furniture. But we got through it together, and shared happy moments and memories with each other as we went about choosing what to keep and what to discard. And the charity shops were of course delighted at the many treasures they received! 🙂

    Love and hugs to you and your Mom. So glad she is well and safe and much nearer to you now.

    • Kathy says:

      Reggie, you were fortunate that you and your mom got to do this together. What a bonding experience. Actually, my mom and I were on the phone–sometimes hourly–so it almost felt like we went through it together. The charity shop received at least 10 boxes so they were probably delighted. Bittersweet, indeed.

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