Wherever I turn, there is a constant reminder that to live in a house that love built is the way to live. ‘Less home and more land’ was my motto when my search began. Somewhere secluded where I could walk out any door and not see another house, maintenance free and well built.
A log cabin feel with wood everywhere, a wood burner, space to store my cars, a spot for a greenhouse, a porch, a barn and pasture space for my horses and a window by the kitchen sink rounded out my wish list. A place to heal after the devastating blow of losing my parents to cancer – somewhere I didn’t have to worry about anything other than just being there and letting time do its thing. A place to untangle the role of caretaker from my existence and find my footing in a place of service to others in a manner of empowerment. “To leave the fire and return with buckets for others” is the way my mom put it. She, too, lost her parents within weeks of each other; this journey that I was on was a path I had watched my mom take when I was a child. She faced that loss, and I could too.
The rental house was a perfect landing pad in the hub of activity that is the hallmark of a quaint college town. Just over an hour from my parents’ house, I could both walk to work and be at their house in a flash. My horses, however, would have to be boarded as it was more of a yard than a pasture. Dogs who roamed acres without a leash, suddenly became house dogs and would lap the yard in no time. It was an adjustment for all.
It was well maintained and my landlord was generous in paying for a lawn service and being open to the changes I wanted to make to accommodate my father coming to live with me. Dad would never see the intricate woodwork of the ceilings in the pretty blue downstairs bedroom or the sliding glass doors to the back deck from the adjoining bathroom, but they were there for him all the same. The handles in the shower and the TV cable wire stood ready to serve, but would not be needed after all.
Little did I know that the house that was so lovingly built by a man for his wife was waiting for me. He was a contractor and together they had built the house as they could afford it – a little at a time. So many thoughtful touches here, so much warmth and care. The kitchen would have no overhead cabinets that she couldn’t reach, instead there would be a walk-in pantry which spanned the length of the room. A wall of windows warms the upstairs, sliding glass doors to a covered deck opens to an uncovered space and a view of the woods that encircle the pasture, shed and barn. A handmade birdhouse stands between the deck and an evergreen, this is my view as I write at the dining room table on a floor of buttercream hickory; surrounded by wood ceilings and cabinetry and warmed by the coal stove. The view from the window by the kitchen sink just as lovely as it takes in the acres of snowy landscape dotted with the paw prints of those I love. I am home.
Reach Out Recovery Exclusive by Elizabeth Viszt