That House is Empty Now


The house is empty,

my sister texted.

The house where we grew up,

where my mom decorated

for every holiday on the calendar,

where my dad, without warning,

would break out in a random song

from his vast repertoire—

Gilbert and Sullivan, Carmen, crooner tunes,

love songs for mom even after she died.

On his own last day, from their bed in that house,

he warbled a couple of bars

of “Molly Malone”

and I finished the line,

“alive alive-oh.”

That house is empty now.

Then again,

it’s not.

Every room holds memories.

Every door and window,

every wall,

the fireplace, the kitchen, the back porch.

The memories don’t die.

The beauty doesn’t die.

The grace and generosity don’t die.

In Daddy’s last days,

when someone would visit,

he would say, “We had a good run, didn’t we?”

Yes, Daddy, we did.

We had a good run in that house, and

oh God, how do I ever repay all the good?

The answer arrives

before I finish the question:

Embody that goodness.

Match it.

Become it.

Give it to your children and their children.

Share it with everyone you meet.

Breathe it out to the world.

For this love,

this joy,

this peace

is forever and for all.

This house will never be empty.


Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.


Nature of the week:

Shadow of the week:

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Text and photos © 2023 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.