Home Comforts

In Uncategorized on May 18, 2015 by chr1sr0berts

Yesterday [Sunday 17th May 2015] I spent the afternoon at my family home – my Dad’s home. My poor Mum died in 2009, since when my Dad has lived there alone. He has now married again and is moving to a new place with his new wife. His new wife, Heather, is lovely and makes him very happy. The house is now being sold – he’s moving in 12 days time. Therefore, yesterday was my last ever time in what has been our family home for 33 years.

Mum and Me 1982

I spent much of the afternoon wandering about the rooms and the garden, reminiscing and taking it all in. So much of my life is tied up in that house. When as a child and as an adolescent I would bring friends to the house….sleepovers; football; cricket; cycling; watching endless hours of TV comedy taped on to an ancient VHS player; learning to breakdance in the garden; my mum juggling oranges to make my friends laugh. Once she decided to play an impromptu game of hide-and-seek, my friend Bones and I knew she was in the house, but she’d decided to hide. We looked all around until finally, as we walked up the stairs for perhaps the 5th time, she emerged from inside the giant laundry basket with the lid balanced on her head. Yesterday I noticed that a different laundry basket was in the very same place, at the top of the stairs. Memories of parties – though not many; – our many different cats; a patio I built; a shed I constructed; once, when unemployed all summer I painted much of the outside of the house; the pet rabbits we had and who lived in a hutch in the garage – and who used to run around in the rabbit run constructed by my grandfather; memories of my older sister and of her friends – some of whom were my first “loves” *not really, but as a teenager I certainly fancied some of them*. Then my actual first loves, girlfriends staying over – but never in the same room *until I was over 21* …but most of all, our family. All of these things – and more – came flooding back yesterday.

But the house also made me think of my own family. The garden was where my wife Hannah first met my Mum…whereupon, just to embarrass me, she barked like a dog! Hannah loved this and I think from that moment, loved my Mum. As adults, we have our own version. We have our own home, and our own children.  Yesterday afternoon, Natty [my three year old son] put some music on and danced around what used to be my bedroom. I watched him for ages, to watch him made me happy, to see him do what I had once done in that very room…it was like we’d come full-circle. It of course, again, brought back lots of memories of my dear Mum, and it made me miss her all over again. The smallest little items with seemingly no significance to anyone else made me well up. I know that it’s only bricks and mortar but it has been a lovely home for our family – my dad, my mum, my sister and me….all sharing the space together, laughing, eating, talking, sometimes arguing ….and everything else people do in a home.

Anyway, it is now time for another family to make it their home, the house, the home deserves a happy family, and we’ve certainly been that.

I really missed my Mum yesterday, she was the funniest, wittiest person I knew. Yesterday, in the now emptying house, and with her gone, it was like suffering the loss of her all over again.

With the sale of the house goes the last tangible space of my Mum. It also means I no longer have a “base” in the town where I grew up. At first I thought it was this lack of base that hurt, but on reflection, and in talking with my sister, I realise it’s something else. Perhaps I have a case of arrested development. But now, finally – at 43 – it is as if I have finally become an adult. Probably partly driven by a desire for safety, familiarity and comfort, all the time my father still live[s]d in that house, there was a tangible space that linked me to my childhood, a space where I could go – though I too rarely did – and be my parents’ child again.

My Dad is a wonderful man, scrupulously fair, loving, warm, honest and caring. But with the home we shared gone, I know I can never return to the place of familiar and familial comfort, to the place of so many happy memories. And, with my Dad’s move to his new home [and new life], I know that I will only ever be a guest in his new house – a welcome guest certainly, to repeat, my Dad is a wonderful and loving man – but a guest nonetheless.

Goodbye HouseLast day at Decoy


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