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the doorbell


I’m not sure where or how to start this story. Money is a weird thing to talk about. And when we talk of ancestral healing, how far back do we go?


A child of divorce, money felt scarce growing up. My adult self can look back and see how all our needs were met. But the felt experience of my child self was that there wasn’t enough. “We can’t afford it” was a common refrain.


I watched my mother pore through the Consumer Reports magazines. On a yellow legal pad, she kept an ongoing list of prices she’d compiled from all the department stores. She compared prices. She waited for sales. She cut coupons.


Before her, I watched my grandmother save tin foil and little bits of string. Anything and everything that might possibly have a use later on. I was told most people of that age, who’d lived through the Great Depression, did the same.


My parents were thrifty, hardworking midwesterners. As were their parents. And probably their parents before them.


When my mother died, unexpectedly, on Christmas Eve of 2020, she was just a few months away from retirement. After a lifetime of working for companies that overworked and undervalued her. 


She had one payment left on the house that she worked so hard, for decades, to keep us in after my parents divorced.


The timing of her death felt so cruel. She was just on the cusp of a whole new chapter. She was so excited to finally join the gardening club. And travel the world with my aunt.


And instead, I very reluctantly and very guiltily inherited the fruits of her labor. 


With what was supposed to be her retirement, I bought a fancy (for me) house. And though my husband and the banks and the accountant assured me we could afford it, should we? Is that what mom would have wanted?


Which was an ironic thing for me to consider because, in her life, that was rarely a barometer for me. I joyfully chose to be childless, though she very much wanted grandchildren. I married a man that she would not have picked out for me. Eloped, in fact, inviting no one, not even her. I meandered along a career path (if you can even call it that) that utterly baffled her.


And yet. Once she died, I was suddenly very concerned with her approval. And it still felt like her money. How dare I spend it in a way that she may have thought frivolous?


I did it anyway. Not without hesitation. Not without plenty of inquiry and mindset work and confronting the limiting beliefs that were also my inheritance.


And I came to believe that while my fallible, human mom with her human baggage may have had judgement around this decision, my mom in her spirit form is absolutely thrilled for me.


So it was against this backdrop that we moved into our little Curtis Park cottage in mid-September of last year. We were enamored with the home. Her details. The glass doorknobs. The dogwood and the maple. The pool. The light filled studio.


We lovingly placed our plants and furniture. Hung our art. Lit our candles. Watched the cats explore their new home.


And when October rolled around and it was time to build the ancestor altar, part of me felt uneasy inviting my pragmatic midwestern ancestors into this fancy new home. 


Would they judge me? Would they deem these new digs too extravagant? Perhaps their thrifty souls would not approve.


I told myself their spirit selves were happy for me. But I only partly believed it. Those old stories die hard.


When we moved in, the doorbell was broken and amongst all the things to do and unpacking to be had, fixing it wasn’t a priority. 


And so it remained that way, broken, for months. An unrung bell.


Until one day I felt called to fix it. Or rather, I felt called to instruct Andrew to fix it. And so he did.


And when we rang that bell for the first time, I got chills. 


You see, it wasn’t just a regular doorbell. It was a chime. A chime that played the exact melody of the grandfather clock in my grandparents’ old farmhouse.


It hit me right in the heart. Tears flowed down my cheeks. Because I knew. Not from a logical perspective, but a deep in my bones knowing, that this was the ancestors approving and rejoicing and loving me from beyond the veil. 


And every time that chime rings, I am reminded of where I come from, and that I am loved, that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be, and worthy of it all.





1 comment

  • Beautiful story and so very grateful for your sharing. I was perusing your site and stumbled on this section…not expecting to be wiping away tears away after reading! Touching, chilling, thrilling, beautiful.

    Lauren Bactad

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