Call it a blessing or call it a curse, being the youngest child in a military family has forced me to challenge what one would traditionally call “home”. My family and I have lived in many houses over the course of all of our moves. Even my extended family was of military backgrounds which made my cousins army brats— just like me. The one stable home we all had to fall back on was my grandparents’ house along the foothills of the Rockies. Although it now only remains a ghost of the house that once stood, the image of my grandparents house in the mountains as it once was from my last glimpse of it will always be engraved in my mind. I am so glad I made that visit.
Once I overheard my grandma over the phone with my mom and caught a few words like “moving”, “sell”, and “tear down”, I knew what was to come. My parents eventually broke the news to my brother and me that my grandparents had to sell their house–we were devastated. But then to hear that the newfound buyers planned to bulldoze the entire house and start fresh felt like a punch in the stomach. We all had countless memories there on Woodmoor Mountain in Larkspur, CO. Not only my immediate family, but my aunts, uncles, and cousins as well. My earliest memories from my childhood were made in that house and on its surrounding property of boulders, creeks, mountain meadows and enormous trees. Below the canopy of these tall pines we would bike, hike, and sled. With each change in season was another holiday to be celebrated within the home’s warm walls. Thanksgiving was for the annual Turkey Trot (in which everyone was forced to participate), Christmas included warm pies and roasted chicken, and Easter featured the much anticipated easter egg hunt among the spring’s budding array of mountain flowers that brightened the vast mountaintop landscape.
That last trip to my childhood home was everything anyone could have hoped for knowing that it was all coming down to pieces the following week. Despite the fact that laughter was often cut short by a collection of hugs, tears, and relived memories, it gave us all a harsh reminder of how lucky we all were to have experienced such a place. I selfishly wished that my grandparents had kept the tidbit about the buyers’ renovation to themselves, dealt with the grief of losing the home they built by themselves to themselves. Yet, once we drove away once again for the final time and I caught my final glimpse of the house through the tangle of aspen trees, I realized that the grief of this loss was a far lighter load to handle with each and every one of us carrying a piece of it with us. Whether we buried it, smothered it, or let it out, the pain of this loss was less bitter once it was shared among us.