Monday, Nov. 28, 2011
Dear Diary:

My sister never had much money, but oh, man, she had an eye for things. She knew how to do shabby chic long before it was a decorating trend, knew how to make a place feel cozy, welcoming and serene. After she died we left her house pretty much as she had left it, just gave it a quick cleaning and stripped it of the most personal items--the family pictures, her clothes, stuff like that.

The first person the realtor took through my sister's house bought it. The papers were signed Saturday. We're not talking a town with a hot real estate market. We're talking about a small place where all the major employers have fled. The real estate agent warned us that the house could be on the market for a year.

But it sold. Just like that.

They want possession by Dec. 19, which means that by Christmas all the things which anchored my sister to her life will be gone, except for the bits that those of us who love her chose to keep as mementos.

We had to do that. We don't have the money to keep her home as a museum to her. But oh, man, today has been a hard day. Julie didn't marry, didn't live with anyone, and she was very proud of the fact she'd bought and maintained her home on her own. It was her declaration of independence, her badge of honour, her sanctuary.

I can't begin to describe the struggles that went into holding on to that place. It was tough to find work in a constantly contracting economy. Then there were two years of illness that left her unable to work and drained almost all her savings, not to mention her hard won equity in that home. But she held on to it, had one last summer to tend her beloved gardens. Even in the darkest times there are small victories.

We're in the middle of an unseasonably warm spell and it feels more early autumn than ten minutes to winter. I've just come in from a little walkabout through my beloved gardens. I look at the hard brown stalks of my wisteria and imagine them next spring covered with fragrant lavender flowers. There are fuzzy pussywillow like growths on the end of the bare branches of my birthday magnolia�I have my fingers crossed that they're blossoms.

Things are getting ready to hunker down through a hard time, to come out through the other side.

So am I.


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She's mellllllllllllllting - Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012 - Back off, Buble - Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 - Dispersed - Monday, Nov. 28, 2011 - Nothing comes for free - Monday, Nov. 21, 2011 - None of her business - Friday, Nov. 04, 2011 -

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