Home is not just where the heart is…
I’m sitting here in the home I was born in waiting on the decorator.
What’s the big deal about that I hear you say, the big deal is that this will be the last time I ever do it.
You see this house has been in our family for almost 70 years.
My 2 older brothers were just toddlers when mum and dad moved here. My other brother who was born 3 years before me and I were born upstairs in this very house.
I recall my 2nd oldest brother telling the story of how they were woken up in the middle of the night to be told they had a little sister, the daughter my mum has always hoped for. There were 11 years between the oldest 2 and us young ones. My mum used to say we were her second family.
My eldest brother left home when he was maybe about 17 and only returned for visits. The second eldest stayed here with mum and dad.
He had some learning difficulties, which back in the day didn’t get diagnosed. Things were different then. The brother just above me left when he married at 23 or 24, and I left and married at 20. We were the closest out of us all.
The house continued to be home to my dad, mum and my 2nd oldest brother. My dad died there in 2008, my mum died in 2018 and my brother just passed away at home in July.
I know it’s only bricks and mortar, but it also holds memories. Like when my brother and I would sell the cakes he’d made from the coal house in the back lobby. The time he connected my bed to a car battery (beds had wireframes in those days).
The New Year parties my parents had. There were also the not so good memories of arguments and having a dad who drank too much and the impact that had on us all. The time my mum left and would visit us when dad wasn’t there and would wave through the window.
For me the bad memories outweigh the good memories, I find it difficult to remember the good stuff, although I’m sure there would have been lots.
After mum died it was hard going back to visit my brother. He had changed lots of things about how the house looked inside, making it more to his liking. Being autistic he obsessed over things, so the family photos were replaced with prints on the walls. The ornaments my mum had were all removed and replaced with things to his liking, these both became his new obsession. He had gotten rid of furniture that had been in the house since before I was born, the house just felt strange.
Time to move on
Now since his passing in July I’m taking care of the property, getting rid of all his belongings. I’ve come across so many old pictures he took on his holidays abroad. I am reminded of what he was like before he had mental health issues. I’ve found pictures I’ve taken as a teenager and looked back at the memories of them. It’s been hard, emotionally, removing an old carpet that my mum had said “You can’t get rid of that, it’s a good quality carpet”. Yes, perhaps it was when it was laid in the 70s or before.
Today I found that it stirred up a lot of old memories of being there, and the realisation that almost everyone has gone. There are only 2 of us left. The house needs too much done to it to keep it, and I wouldn’t want to anyway. It’s the last remaining part of my old life. It will be a very sad day when I have to hand the keys over to someone else.
I’m all about moving forward in life, forgiving the past, and thanking it for the lessons I’ve learnt from it. This place will never be the same or mean the same to me ever again.
The funny thing is I received a message from a client today to tell me she had gone back to a place from her childhood and had decided to look at its with new eyes, without the resentment she had always felt before and kept reminding herself that it’s not the same, and to cherish the memories she has. She created new memories whilst she was there. She had let go of the anger and has decided that she doesn’t feel the need to go back. I totally understand that.
It’s almost time now for this place to be given a new lease of life, to help a new family create their own, hopefully good, memories.
There is an ache in my heart just now, but I know that it will pass over time given the right care.