It’s coming up on a year since we lost my dad.

We’ve been through all the “firsts.” The only “first” left is the one-year anniversary of his passing. Most all of us have been through it, and we have experienced the pain of loss, the loneliness and the uncertainty of the future.

While navigating each day without him is difficult, there are some tasks more challenging than others. We’ve gotten through all those firsts, and we have survived. Now we find ourselves facing another hurdle, perhaps the most difficult one since we laid him to rest.

It’s time to clean out the house and get it ready to sell. This will mean purging possessions, selecting a few precious keepsakes and letting the rest go. How does one simply place 60-plus years’ worth of memories on display for strangers to carelessly handle and buy for 25 cents? I’m not sure what that will feel like.

There is much to do before that point, though, and the upcoming weekends will find us busy going through drawers, cupboards and closets. There are a few pieces of furniture that we will keep, but most everything will either be shared with family or sold. There are 25 or 30 trophies that my dad won with the car that he built. And there’s the car itself. We’d love for someone to buy it with the intent of continuing to show it in competition. (We’d even throw in the trophies!)

Why do I dread this so badly? I guess maybe this will make it feel more final. I grew up in that house since second grade. My brother doesn’t remember living in any other home, and I only have a few vague memories of two other homes before that one. How will it feel to see someone else living there? A major remodel will be needed, so I wonder how it will feel to see someone gutting my memories, rendering it (probably) unrecognizable.

Nothing can take away our memories, and I hope seeing the home given a facelift will make us happy. I hope the new owners will love it as much as we did and will make happy memories of their own.

In the meantime, there is much to do, and we will be kept very busy sorting it out.

Cathy Watkins Bennett is a Barrow County native and a graduate of Winder-Barrow High School. Send comments about this column to

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