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The magic of going back home......

 

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When my mother died in 2008, I was charged with the task of cleaning out the house that she and my father had lived in since 1946. No easy task as it was a place that he had built with his own two hands that had been filled with incredible memories, home cooked meals, extraordinary gardens, at least 4 magical weddings and a love between my parents that lasted for 67 years. It took me about a month to complete. Everyday I went and did a little bit more and finally came the day when I locked the doors for the last time. When it was finally purchased we would drive passed it filled with curiousity. Who were they? What were they doing to the house? Did they love it and most importantly to us for some reason were they a young family like ours had been? We spoke many times about just driving up the driveway and introducing ourselves , but somehow it just didn't feel right. It wasn't ours any more and it felt best to let things just go in their natural order.   

Fast forward several years to  Memorial Day , 2012  which was the day that my father passed away. My sister and brother live out of town, so when the day came I dragged myself to the funeral home to give the final instructions and as we left I was seized with an impulse. I burst into tears and my already bewildered husband looked at me to try to decipher what was wrong. "I want to put some flowers from daddy's gardens with him" I wailed, "but short of  sneaking into the yard in the middle of the night and stealing them I don't know how to do it". My husband smiled and simply kept driving...it was only after I'd blown my nose for the third time that I saw where he was heading and then he turned into the driveway.

"Wait here" he said and went straight to the front door. About 3 minutes later he came waving his hands with the most adorable young and very pregnant Ukrainian woman in tow. He introduced her to me and she led me into my old house. Natasha showed me everything they'd done and I loved it. I have to say that the most amazing part of the experience was walking into my old home and upon realizing that it looked nothing like the house that I grew up in anymore still knowing exactly where I was. The house simply smiled  at me and said "Hello , so nice to see you..don't I look fabulous!" And look fabulous it did, I was amazed by what they'd done.  Afterwards I cut the beautiful flowers and went back to say goodbye. As I turned to leave Natasha put her hand on my shoulder and said "Please come back anytime and leave your number because my husband found something and he's been holding onto it hoping that someday you would show up."

We left with hugs and promises of future get togethers and about 3 hours later my phone rang. The young man on the other end of the line introduced himself as Dmitri  and he immediately told me the most astonishing news. " When we were up in the attic,we found  tucked away in a corner your fathers duffle sack from the Navy and it contained about 8 years worth of your parents love letters from before they were even married until after they were married and during the war." He shyly told me in his soft Russian accent that he'd read quite a few of them and that they were absolutely remarkable, filled with love, passion and a fairly rich story. We spent awhile on the phone that day getting to know each other and I made him promise that he would bring  Natasha to my fathers "Celebration of Life" so that the rest of my family could get to know the two of them as well.

Two weeks later they arrived at our party with several huge bags filled with letters. It was astonishing; a reminder of how precious communication was in the days before we could simply sit down at the computer or even pick up the phone. I found out things about my parents that were amazing and I still haven't read them all because there are hundreds of them. They provided us with such a full circle and a glimpse into the lives of my parents that because I was the baby who came along in 1959 I had simply never seen.  What a gift...I still can't believe that we have them. They were signed with sentiments like "Yours forever" and " Your slave forever". I even learned that my name was supposed to be Elizabeth..an absolute dream come true. 

Dmitri and Natasha's baby was born and last week I went to see them, meet the lovely little Lea and drop off a handmade quilt that my sister and I were gifting them with as well as a dress that I'd chosen as a gift from my mother...a lovely cream colored fluffy dress festooned with Alencon lace and a black ribbon that as soon as I saw it  told me that it was the one. I also met Natasha's parents who had been there helping them for the last two months. She showed me more of what  they'd done and as I peered into my old bedroom, I noticed a massage table. "A massage table? "I exclaimed..."I love it ...who does massage?" Well it turns out that Natasha's father is a Doctor/ Naturopath who specializes in a very rare form of Russian massage that is done with raw honey and wooden cups. In my old bedroom...how very cool!

That my friends was how I found myself yesterday lying half naked on a massage table in my old bedroom , sunlight streaming in covered with raw honey and having  my stress pounded into submission by a wonderful man with the loveliest , twinkliest eyes.  Of all of the things that I'd ever done in that particular bedroom it was indeed the healthiest! After my massage, he brought Dmitri in to translate for him. He gave me herbs for a special tea and plenty of wonderful advice...11 exercises to do everyday and a breathing meditation that was extraordinarily relaxing. No more working out at the gym....long walks in the woods, swimming and yoga.

At the end of the session , just sitting there in my old bedroom talking to the two of them I became overwhelmed with emotion.  It was just so sweet being there, learning about my health and getting such a holistic prescription from someone who so obviously cared so deeply about his craft and the people he cares for. If it hadn't been for Natasha's generous spirit it might never have happened. She could have easily turned us away that day we came knocking on her door. Dmitri could have thrown out my parents letters, figuring that we had left them on purpose, but somehow, he knew without knowing us just how meaningful they would be. Life gives you the best gifts at the strangest of times, if you'll simply connect the dots. At that moment and after 9 years of struggle it occurred to me in a way that it hadn't before, that I had finally come home. 

 

 

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