I’d promised someone a letter several years ago and began one while visiting my parent’s vacation home. It was written on June 22, 2015 almost a year before my mother died.
Dear Name withheld,
As I write this I am sitting in my family’s lake house in Hazelhurst, Wisconsin. Dean reads a book by an author whose name I cannot spell. It is our 30th anniversary. Dean is also cooking sausages for breakfast.
I awoke at 5:30 am and after a quick cup of tea did some birding. I also sat on the small dock and watched the mist-sprites dance across the lake.
To get here we drove the 750 miles from Bethesda to Ludington, Michigan where we spent a night with lovely couple in their B&B. In the morning we took the ferry to Wisconsin and drove 3 hours to Hazelhurst.
My nephew is living here for the summer and is glad for our company.
Yesterday I rode a bicycle for the first time in at least 10 years.
This house is owned by my mother — but she doesn’t like leaving her home anymore. It is supposed to go to my brother and me when my mom’s gone, but a few years ago, at Dean’s suggestion I told my brother he could have it. I told Mom and she was supposed to start the process of turning it over to my brother. I think she did — the financial advisor remembers knowing about it, but the process stopped when my dad died.
Anyway, the point is this — instead of making things better between my brother and me it has created more tension. I thought he’d be grateful to have the house — and he was — he now seems to resent having to feel grateful.
Mom is going to need expensive in-home care soon. I foresee some problems. Until today I felt a sweet nostalgia, listening to the the echoes of my past visits here. Today that is gone.
[End of letter]
I stopped writing this because I realized I was not writing to my friend but I was pouring my complaints about my relationship with my brother and my feelings about the lake house into what was supposed to be a light-hearted letter.
Re-reading it, maybe I should have finished it and sent it.
I still have ambivalent feelings about the situation, four and a half years later. It will never be the same. My brother and his wife moved to the house permanently a couple years after my mom died. It’s no longer the vacation house and never will be. For the most part I have let it go. I have many great memories of it and I am happy my brother is enjoying it. It was always his happy place.