I still can’t quite wrap my head around losing the shore house. Pulling up to it now, I don’t know why, but I’m afraid. Looking at it, knowing it may not belong to my family, it breaks my heart. It isn’t a vacation house, though being here is to be without worry for me. It is another home. It is my other home. This home is where my grandparents and my great-grandparents lived for as long as I had them in my life.
Stepping out of the car, the smell of the salt air overwhelms me. I perfectly conjure an image of my grandfather laughing. He was a man of the sea like his father before him. The shore and he are forever woven together in my memories. I sense him when I am near the water. I breathe in and acknowledge the part he had in making me who I am.
I suppose I somehow fear losing this house is like losing my connection to him. I fear that seeing the house gutted will in some way make my memories disappear as if they were held in the building itself. I fear the stagnant smell that hangs in the air inside the house will replace my memory of that smell of love, which is different to each nose but always there in the home of a grandparent.
But no, I know it can’t. The storm destroyed the house and still the waters captivate me; I am still in love with the sea. This love binds me to my grandparents. It is bigger than any house and it is indestructible. I am sad to lose this house. But I know it is only the house that is lost.
The memories are forever burned into your mind. Share with your children all that you remember. The house changes, but the soul remains.
I am sorry about your family home. You can always vacation in my little studio apartment. OK?