Closure of mortgage opens memory cache


POSTED: Thursday, December 03, 2009

A month ago, I wrote the last mortgage check for the home my husband and I bought and lived in since 1980. Over the course of the years, the thought of paying off our loan seemed so far in the future. But the time arrived as quickly as our children grew up.

I thought I'd be ecstatic at the thought of making that final payment, but now I find myself in somber reflection.

This milestone event somehow feels surreal to me.

I think of how young my husband and I were when we bought this house and how our first child was born just weeks after moving in.

I remember coming home from the hospital with our newborn, crossing the threshold of this home where our lives as a family began. Our parents were all alive when we moved in and celebrated the birth of our son with us.

Over the years, we refinanced our mortgage, turning this small tract home into a large, beautiful sanctuary where we built a solid life together. Here in this home, we've raised three beautiful children, two of whom have since moved away from the only home they lived in.

I think of how I walked these same hallways in the dark, after late-night feedings with each of my babies.

I remember the excitement of remodeling our kitchen and building a counter where my kids could sit while I cooked.

For every special occasion, I'd place festive place mats on the counter and surprise them with fun dishes and special cups. I still see all three of them sitting there sometimes and feel a yearning for those days long ago.

MY MOM is now our only surviving parent. We've lost good friends, watched the children in our neighborhood grow up. Felt our children's anguish when we lost our first family dog. A lifetime of memories lingers within the walls of this heavenly home of ours.

Writing that check somehow symbolized a chapter of life behind me now—the husband, the house, the children, our careers and the struggle to somehow make it all work together, now quieted.

My niece and her husband, who married just a year ago, are now in the process of buying their first home—newlyweds.

The hope of a home, the dream of their future. They will soon purchase a house and sign loan papers for an amount that they, too, will feel like a lifetime before they finish paying.

But little do they know that day will arrive as quickly for them as it has for us.

Even though writing that last check marked a meaningful and historic occasion, I'd write 30 more years of them, to go back in time and experience the wonderful journey of our family life together, all over again.

Carol Lee Ramie is an administrative investigator with Island Investigative Services. “;The Goddess Speaks”; is a feature by and about women. Essays of about 550 words may be sent to “;The Goddess Speaks,”; 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813; or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).