I have my own room! Do you realize how long it’s been since I had my own room? A long time, that’s how long.

My daughter recently graduated from college, and now she has a real job and a real apartment, and she took all her furniture from her room at my house with her. That left me with a blank slate. What would I do with this suddenly vacant space?

Use it as an office?

An exercise room?

A guest room?

A mini roller rink?

The possibilities kept me awake at night. I finally decided to do all of the above. Except the roller rink, because the room’s not big enough. And because I’m old, and my bones are brittle.

I looked around for budget furniture, scrolling through Facebook Marketplace for steals and deals. I wanted champagne on a beer budget, and I wasn’t having much luck.

That’s when my family kicked in. Did I mention I have the best family ever? Aunt Linda donated a twin bed, a cushioned rocking chair, and the chest-of-drawers she and her siblings used growing up in the 1940s and 50s. Memaw donated mattresses, and a toile daybed cover and pillow shams. My mom donated some framed artwork.

I still needed a desk. I looked for an antique one, to match my new shabby-chic décor. I was on the verge of driving to a nearby town to purchase a vintage vanity when we got a call from Memaw. Did we want Sandy’s old pump organ?

Sweet Sandy. She died unexpectedly, just a few weeks ago. She rescued this organ from a cousin, because she thought it was pretty, and she wanted to keep it in the family.

Rick and I drove out to Sandy’s place to look at the organ. Her daughters, Kristie and Stacie, told us they’d be happy for Rick to have the organ. They thought their mama would like that.

What would we do with a non-working pump organ?

Then I remembered. I needed a desk. It would be easy to convert.

Now I have a hundred-something-year-old pump organ desk. Now I have the coolest room ever. It’s my own personal family room. 

I’m sitting in my room right now, typing this article. As I write, I feel surrounded by the love and prayers of those who’ve gone before me. I feel like they’re standing on the sidelines of my life, encouraging me, cheering me on, telling me to keep going. And it makes me want to finish the race well, to make them proud. Their voices, hidden in the recesses of my memory, also remind me to cheer others on. To help others up when they fall down. To pass on the message: You’ve got this. You can do it. Keep going.

There’s still a blank wall, waiting for just the right thing to fill it up. I think I’ll put family photos there, as a reminder that though we each have unique journeys, we don’t walk this road alone.

Renae Brumbaugh Green is a bestselling author and award-winning humor columnist. She lives in Stephenville with her handsome, country-boy husband, nearly-perfect children, and far too many animals. Connect with Renae at www.RenaeBrumbaugh.com.