My parent’s house finally went on the market and sold the first day for a good price. Of course, there are many legal things to arrange and the sale may still fall through, but so far, so good.
I’ve been waiting for this for years, but in the end it happened so fast I was in shock. My brother hadn’t been in touch for ages, I’d had to phone him to get him to come and scatter mum’s ashes. Then, overnight, he changed from a lazy dormouse to being jet-propelled. I’d got used to waiting; I’d developed a coping mechanism which involved shutting out all expectations of change. First of all, when I was here with mum, wanting to leave here involved wishing she would die, which obviously I couldn’t allow myself to do. Then I was stuck here during the Covid lockdowns, when one just had to be philosophical. Plus, I had to wait for my brother to come and help me sort things out and, as I say, he took his time.
So, when he phoned and said he’d made some appointments with a few estate agents, I was pleasantly surprised. I wasn’t prepared though, for him to ring up the next Sunday and say, now we’ve decided on the agent, I’ve arranged for them to come and take photos this Friday! When I protested that I simply couldn’t get the place cleaned, tidied and decluttered by then, he replied that he and his partner were coming back in three days to help. It was great to have their help in cleaning and tidying the place. But the truth is, I could’ve done with this help before. However, it is as it is.
Anyway, the marketing photos got taken and the forms were signed. I needed a few days to do some housework – which I don’t tend to do unless I have to – after which I was going away for a week to Somerset, leaving the place empty for viewings. I left here at 10 am on the Saturday morning. On Monday morning, the agent rang and said they’d had an offer, for the sum that we wanted. That weekend, I’d actually been visiting my brother to see his new home. And that Monday, he was giving me a lift over to my second stop, which was Glastonbury. We accepted the offer, which was the price we wanted, and essentially sold the house standing in a car park!
Initially I was completely flustered. Luckily, I’d arranged to spend a few days in the wonderful Chalice Well Gardens. Some American friends were in town at the same time, and I was there to meet up with them. That of course was a lot of fun. But it was also a chance for me to spend time in the gardens and sit by the Well which, as so many times in the past, helped to clear my mind and regain my equilibrium.
I realised that, when there was no possibility of change, I’d mentally buried my hopes for freedom under a frozen lake. Suddenly, the ice was breaking and things were rising up out of the water. Like monsters! Terrifying! Then after a while I thought, well, it’s what I want isn’t it? I should be feeling excited and hopeful, not terrified and anxious.
I am still concerned about how long I’ll have to pack the place up. That was really the main cause of my initial panic because, although I do plan to leave here, I didn’t expect to be under any time pressure. Or put another way, I need to quickly firm up my own plans, when I’m still adjusting to the new reality.
I am quite sad, now this phase of my life is almost over. I want to leave, but I don’t want to rush away. Although this wasn’t our family home or the home where we grew up, it will be the last link with my parents. Once the place had been decluttered for the photos and looked like it used to look when my parents lived here and were still fit and healthy, my brother got quite sentimental. He remembered his kids playing in the garden with dad, or sitting chatting with mum in the sun lounge.
I was in Australia then, and have very few memories like that. My memories are mostly of when I came back when they were failing, with all mum’s disability aids everywhere – and the hard years of being a full-time carer, followed by my surgery – caused by mum falling on me – then of being alone here, and being very lonely, of mum’s death and the covid lockdowns. But when we sell up, it will be my last link to mum and dad.
At my age, I feel like I shouldn’t feel so bereft at losing that link. But as I sat by the Chalice Well, I came back to the same old refrain. I never felt loved by them, I never felt they were proud of me. Once again, I thought I need to love myself, I need to be proud of myself. It’s no good to keep harking back to a time which is long gone. Actually I now think that they did love me and they were proud of me, but for some reason, I never got the message.