- Posted April 4, 2014 by
Montgomery County, Maryland
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
Eulogy to The Woodcrest Homestead
Was it wrong to believe in the dream of home ownership? After all, there was always the large cast of family. There will always be siblings, and nieces, nephews, cousins and family by virtue of extended circles to host and entertain.
In this house we enjoyed music, dance, births, marriages, divorces, death.
In this home there was brokenness, and there was reconciliation. At times, the occupants of siblings and family were fiercely united and often times very divided.
As a first generation of migrants, it was not unusual to house a family of 4 sisters, a brother, a niece, a son and his dogs. It was the home to family.
In this home, we all became the caregivers of the family matriarch. With the recent death of her 8th child, she eclipsed into a state of emotional and physical deterioration. The trauma of grief and sorrow and a history of diabetes precipitated an onslaught of health collapses.
After a diagnosis of a stroke, and a need for rehabilitation and fulltime care, our first consideration was to ensure the best care for our mother, Rose. We found a nursing home facility nearby and this we thought would be her residence of comfort and recovery.
On Mother’s Day home visit in May 1999, from the nursing home, we made the decision. Mammy was not going back to a residential care facility.
Our home became the welcome place for the children, grandchildren, family and friends to hold court. We would have prayers, and we would have songs. We would welcome guests, travelers, and visiting relatives from many parts of the world.
The family pets were enjoyed and also often angered the family members. In the split level 2500 sq ft space, the basement was occupied by the youngest family member, the 18 year old male. In close habitation with him was his pet family of pitbulls. They were not the ideal welcome family dogs, especially with their breed specific dispositions.
There were situations of tensions and irresponsible chaperoning of the dogs. One dog, Rezin, lasted and demonstrated charisma and personified devotion to family to his dying day.
While here at home, we ushered in Death. In the master bedroom, on December 10 2001, Rose, our mother slept and died. On the kingsize bed, beside her hospital bed, lay Rezin right next to me.
Our breathing rhythms worked and sounded like a symphony, my sister once said when she visited. On that early Monday morning, I awoke to a silence that beckoned alarm. The stillness in the dark winter morning was deafening. One of the symphonic sounds had ended.
It was around 4:30 am, and I remained quiet and prayed. I was not afraid, I was not disturbed, I was not alone. I wanted to be prepared to witness the solace of death.
In Rose's death, she looked tenderly asleep.
Within hours all the siblings and family members and friends gathered at our home for weeping and mourning and our final goodbyes.
On an Easter Sunday 2004, we gathered for fellowship with our very dear extended family members. Cynthia and her daughter Amber Rose were there. She sat at the piano and there was so much festivity and joy and celebration.
On Tuesday, Cynthia, at 38 years succumbed to an aneurism.
We were devastated.
Tragically, after a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, Michael, a brother, at 57 years old took his last breadth. His death occurred in the very room where three years earlier, our mother died.
For his repast, we shared celebration of music and dance. Although, it seemed odd to dance and sing after a death of a loved one, for Michael, our home was a place of welcome camaraderie and bounteous sharing with his friends, associates and loved ones.
Tired and drained with the foreboding shadow of death, we began the renovation makeover. First we painted the outsides. For the interior, we selected an IKEA open kitchen design.
The beauty of this home was that it was so deceiving from the outside. It looked as if it were just a two story dwelling. However, when you entered, there was the main living area. There was the living room, dining room, leading out to a deck. There was an enclosed kitchen area.
Upstairs were four bedrooms and two full baths. One bathroom was in the master bedroom and the other in the main hallway.
To the immediate right of the entrance on the first floor, there was a step down large living recreation room area. In the adjoining passage there was a half bath and a full size bedroom.
On the last level, was an open basement with washer and dryer
The home was proportionately divided so that every occupant was living in well appointed space and roominess.
The renovation project transformed the basement from just an unfinished open space, to a walled in office bedroom/den enclave.
The middle floor bathroom was completely refinished and changed to a full bath.
The recreation room floors were changed to Pergo flooring. New light fixtures were installed. With the artistic influence of a family member, the walls were repainted with a compliment of purple and egg shell hues. A 52" Sony Projector TV and a new stereo sound system were installed to add viewing and acoustic ambience to the setting.
The entrance and first floor were completely transformed. From the previously portioned off kitchen and dining and living area, the space was opened.
All modern stainless steel kitchen refrigerator, stove/oven, built in micro wave, dishwasher were installed.
Slate tiles were installed to add utility to the decor. Ceiling fans, hanging light fixtures and recessed lighting were the modern affects installed for decorative style.
A stone walk way was laid down from the front door to the garage driveway. A double car concrete garage way was also procured.
Flowers were planted and there was so much beauty to behold.
In 2008, the plight of the mortgage crisis wrought merciless havoc on the home finances. Every negotiation with the mortgage holder IndyMac became a contest of challenge.
The agreed upon Modification was dissolved. The negotiated payment plans were nullified.
In October of 2009, our home was lost to Foreclosure.
Within one month, our former property was sold to new owners.
More than can be described in this story are the struggles to reconcile with the loss of a home that was lived in for over 13 years
There have been many separations and losses and rebirths with the loss of home.
Many of the moments spent at this home are recorded in pictures and memories. For so many, this home meant family.
In the path of rebuilding, there have been constant roadblocks. The family has gone separate ways.
Rezin died also.
In looking back, the memories of the home we lived in, and for those who died in, will remain indelibly imprinted in our lives, our hearts and in our tears.
In the hopes for the future, though we have gone our separate ways, though there have been lots of regrets and disappointments, though the prospects of future homeownership may not be immediate, the joy that lives in the pictures, the recordings, the music and the songs is the promise of hope for the future.
In the loss of a home, the prize of family, friendship and love ones for our lifetimes has become our richest treasure.
So until, we find Home again. We always remember the lives and times of sharing and caring.
This was not a House. We called it Home