My older brother and his wife are being booted from their house because of a foreclosure. The entire family has pitched in with the week's notice to move their entire lives and still weren't able to get them out in time to avoid another $500 penalty. It is by the grace of the universe that my grandmother passed last year and left another home to sit on the market; they have begun trying to fit their decades into the same small place my grandmother spent his first and her final days.
With two daughters this is made all the more difficult -- one does not know the width and breadth of what they own until they are forced to pick it all up and move. Two girls' bedrooms with all their clothes, toys and furniture. One master suite and walk-in closet. Two full bathrooms, a kitchen, dining room, patio furniture, kayaks and that extra room behind the patio. There are more things to be packed than can fit in the U-Haul on two trips. And then there's the attic.
Oh, the attic. It was at the remembrance of the attic in the midst of packing frenzies that I saw my brother truly, fully broken. In the last year he has already lost all use of his right arm and it hangs as a terrible reminder at his side. Once, he was a guitar prodigy. He was a rockstar. He will always be an artist but he cannot know how; the arm he has lost was the same arm that picked chords from every song glanced by ear on a radio. It was the arm he lifted and played with on those rare nights alone, or for his children. He can no longer change his all-too-wriggling daughter's diapers and his career as a paramedic is over. He could have traveled over oceans with a band who already had their first platinum record, but he didn't. He had just had his first daughter. His life has been forever altered onto a path he had never imagined. His guitars hang now, as decoration, on the walls of the home they are abruptly leaving.
After three years of trying desperately to refinance their own, it is grandma's house -- vacant of all but endless knick-knacks and paper memories -- that will continue to be a home in our family.
[Photo from a Google Images search for "guitar"]