It's been a heart-breaking weekend for my friend Anne. The final day at her old home came today. The new owners will take possession tomorrow after the closing of the sale. Anne's already signed her papers so she won't have to take off work to attend the closing. I'm glad, because I know having to face the people she's turning her keys over to would be hard.
She's met them, don't get me wrong, and she likes them. We said a prayer tonight in the house that they have many years of happiness in the house. What would hurt Anne is having to put the keys on the table at the title company and being in an "official" setting when she loses possession of the home in which she raised her son.
I went over this evening when Anne called me. I could tell she was stuck and wasn't able to leave the house on her own. She spent the night there last night to take the chance for one final farewell. Even with that time spent in the empty house wasn't enough. She was simply not ready to leave.
She called me weeping. "I don't have any pictures of my back yard," she said. I asked her if she had her camera -- it was nearly 6 p.m. and she still had a little daylight.
"No, I don't," she got out through her tears.
"Well, you have a friend who has a camera right close who could come take some for you," I told her. "And your friend could come over."
"Can you come right now?" she asked. "Yes, I can come right now," I answered.
We had already had a couple of photo sessions at the house over the past week or two -- goodbye photos to remember the place.
Tonight I shot about 100 more photos of the back yard and the front yard, as well as all the rooms now empty of all of Anne's possessions.
We shared lots of tears and several memories that had taken place there.
I remembered the very first time I went to Anne's house, in 1993. I was new at my church, and Anne became a fast friend quickly. Shortly after I started attending the church she invited me to her house to play games with her and her son Matt, who was a new first-grader at the time. We played a board game and then switched to Skip-Bo, we think it was. The two of them made me feel so welcome. I have felt that same welcome feeling every time I've gone there over the past 13 years.
Anne visited with her neighbor a few minutes to say goodbye. Then we stood on the driveway, reminiscing some more. Then we stood there quietly for a minute, both of us choking back the tears. I gave her a big hug, then finally spoke:
"I love you my friend, but it's time for you to go home now. You know the way," I said.
Another tear wiped away, then she got in the car and pulled out of the driveway.