Letting go of my mom’s house

I’ve been putting this off. I wanted to be in a better and stronger head space. I wanted to write this with my head held high. I wanted to make her proud.

The truth is my shoulders are slumped as I write through my tears. I’m riddled with guilt, and I’m overcome with shame.

I let my mom down.

There is no shortage of reasons for the guilt nor the shame.

I shouldn’t have moved out of state… I should’ve visited more often… I should have known she was sick… I should’ve taken her out of that horrible hospital sooner…. I should’ve given her a better memorial service… I should’ve found a way to keep her house.

Yeah, that last one. That last one has me begging her for forgiveness. I find myself mumbling, “I tried, mom, I tried.”  

My mom was so proud of me. Not “a mom is proud of her kid” proud. It was more like “a mom is proud of her rocket scientist kid” proud except that I’m not a rocket scientist.

All this high praise for her daughter must have really sucked for my brother (I’m sorry, bro.) and it must have been incredibly annoying for my cousins.

She recited my resume of accomplishments so often that it made me uncomfortable. I moved out of state seven years ago, but I knew the bragging was constant. I knew this because she told me.   

You see, my mom put me on the highest of all pedestals. So, to fail at this, the one thing she wanted most, the one thing she wanted to leave to family… To say I’m shattered is an understatement of the highest order.

Nana Gloria’s house

This wasn’t the house I grew up in. It was Nana Gloria’s house, the house my kids grew up in. The backyard that my kids played in. The backyard with all the plants from Home Depot and wall hangings from Mexico. The kitchen with all the magnets on the fridge. The pantry with almost every conceivable flavored coffee. The Arizona room where she hosted my baby shower. The Arizona room where I told her I was getting a divorce because my first marriage had fallen apart, and I needed her help.

And there was the fountain in the back patio. When my kids were little, my mom got a kick out of letting them get completely soaked in their diapers from playing in the fountain water and then handing them over to me.

Two days before she died, she told us to make sure to let her “babies” – her great-grandchildren – play in the fountain. Let them get wet in their diapers and take pictures, she instructed. The day after her memorial service, we did just that.

Trying to save my mom’s house made me sick. Literally, sick. I had insomnia. Then came the panic attacks. I started scream-crying when I was alone and silently scream-crying in bed when my husband was asleep. I punished myself with food and guilt.  

This was over the course of six months. Meanwhile, the bills were piling up. The mortgage company wanted an answer. Buy it, sell it, or we take it, they said.

We chose to sell it.

Losing another piece of my mom

We just couldn’t afford it. The loan had to be big enough to pay off the mortgage, pay off all of my mom’s creditors, and pay out equity shares to my stepdad, to me and to my brother. There was also a matter of my mom’s ex-husband who potentially still had a claim to some equity in the house. (This last scenario ended up being moot, but it wasn’t cleared up for months.) And then there was Aqua Finance. They convinced my mom to buy a $12k shower when she was sick (she just didn’t know it yet) and then put a lien on her house after being notified of her death. There was also a chance that the house wouldn’t appraise high enough.  

The morning of Christmas Eve, I got the call. My mom’s house had sold. It was so… final.

I sat there, in my daughter’s home office in Texas, silently scream-crying. The pain of losing another piece of my mom was almost unbearable. I finally composed myself enough to call my brother and then my stepdad to let them know.

I then had to walk into the next room and tell my kids. Nana Gloria’s house was gone.

I don’t think I need to go into details here so let’s just leave it at that.

I tried, mom. I tried. Please forgive me.

Soy hija de Gloria. Hija de guerrera. Esta es la historia de mi mamá. Y también mi terapia.

I’m Gloria’s daughter. Daughter of a warrior. This is my mom’s story. And my therapy.

My mom’s house at Christmastime.
The fridge with all the magnets.
The fountain where she encouraged my kids to get wet in their diapers.
My mom loved her back patio and her plants so much.
My mom had these wall hangings throughout her back and side fence.
One of the many metal wall hangings that she picked up in Mexico.
One of my favorites, also from Mexico.

12 thoughts on “Letting go of my mom’s house

  1. Don’t you dare feel guilty. The little time that I knew your mom, I know she would never want you or your brother to go through a hardship. She would understand that you did the best you could. The most important are the memories. That’s more important to share with your grandkids. The pictures and memories. Hugs ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m working my way through this and hope to overcome the guilt. I’m really happy that you got to know my mom even just a little bit. She was a special lady. Thank you so much for your kind words. They mean the world to me. ❤

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  2. Your mom lives in you, not in any house . Let go of your burdens of guilt. Your mom has no part of them. She’s entirely engulfed in your heart. May you feel your mom’s Peace, Joy and Love. This is what she is Peace, Joy and ❤️. God bless you 😍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lupita. I’ve never been through anything like this. When it’s your mom and you’re trying to do what’s right, it’s so hard. I love that mujer so much. I appreciate you reading my blog and especially appreciate your kind words.

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  3. Oh Bestie! My heart breaks for you. I’m so sorry you are carrying so much guilt. You made the choices you did for certain reasons. As much as we didn’t want you to go, we couldn’t be selfish and keep you from moving on.
    I know this feels so final for you and when you come back to Az I know it will be a punch in the gut for you. You did all you could do in the time you had. I hope someday you can release the guilty because I’m sure Momma Gloria is still putting you up on a Pedestal in heaven. Love you lots

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    1. Someday I hope to feel differently about this. Not having a “home” to go back to when I go to AZ is a big punch in the gut. It was my safety net. I’ll get through this. Thank you for always being there for me, bestie. Love you

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  4. You did what was right! Please don’t feel the way! Knowing your mom at the end of the day, after knowing all troubles, jumping all hoops she would had said! Mija compramos otra casa!!! Let all out, don’t feel guilt! Te mando un abrazote!!! Échale ganas!!! 😘

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    1. Tienes razón, Dulce. Ella habría dicho eso. I can hear her voice in my head. I wish it could have all turned out differently. I wish I still had my mom. Pero así es la vida. Un fuerte abrazo para ti y uno para tu mamá. My mom thought the world of Marina and her daughters. ❤

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    1. Muchísimas gracias, Alfre. Your kind words mean the world to me. I’m still trying to process all of this. I hope I can get to a good place one day. Thank you so much for reading. ❤

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  5. Oh, I’m so sorry you’re dealing with all of this.
    I have been offline for a while, but I know I’ll keep coming back to write my mom’s stories too. Like you say, it’s therapy.
    Navigating grief is a never-ending twisty road. I, too, hang onto my mom’s presence in certain spaces (and also, like you, I sometimes feel like I’m betraying her).
    From the little I know about your mom just from your stories? I think she raised you to do what’s best, even when it doesn’t feel like it at the time, and even when it’s the hardest thing to do. Maybe if you had kept her house, that comfortable, homey, motherly space without her there would have just been filled with sadness. I like to think our moms still know what’s best for us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s the feeling of betraying her that really stops me in my tracks sometimes. I think I needed to get this out in order to start processing this and work through it. Actually, after re-reading my blog, it kind of feels like I vomited these words all over the page. Maybe I need to purge. My intention going forward is to work on forgiving myself. I appreciate you so much for stopping by to drop a comment and especially for reading.

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