More than a house

5 Jun

My mum’s house will soon be on the market.  My family home. The house we moved into in 1980, when I was 3. A house built on clay and memories.

This is the hardest part so far.

And my thoughts are becoming more and more consumed with these pictures from the past. Reruns played over and over;  stop – rewind – play,  stop – rewind – play.

My 3 yr old self, raw from the recent divorce, padding in to my mother’s room and standing by the side of the bed, head bowed, eyes on my feet.  “Can I come in?” whispered with an eager heart.  Climbing in sheepishly next to her and lying bum to bum,  warmth so familiar, so reassuring.

A young child returning early from a school trip with swollen eyes, weepy from fresh cut grass.  Childish excitement deflated like a limp balloon.  And my mother laying me gently on the bed in my childhood room,  and tending my eyes lovingly with damp flannels.

My rebellious, secretive teenage self lying prone in the early hours of the morning, wide-eyed from narcotic experimentation, lamenting the worms that still wriggle from the carpet. Watching guiltily as my mother pads around excitedly, preparing for her youngest’s birthday.

My young adult self, suffering from my first and worst bout of depression and lying in a bath that my mother has run. Her sitting patiently on the toilet as she reads to me from Alison in Wonderland, hoping that the words will comfort with the innocenct simplicity of childhood.

My recently married self – foolishly but deliriously drunk and lying on the grass with my new husband, sister and brother-in-law, like starfish watching a flight of swallows in glorious fomation soaring back and forth across the sky.

And my mum, in every room – laughing,  reassuring, scolding.  Kind, proud, determined. Her music, her cooking, her love.

And somehow I have to say goodbye to all this. Let someone else strip out the worn, dated kitchen – my mother’s kitchen – to replace it with stylish, cold granite.  Flush away all of my family memories and reinvent their own.  And I want to scream and barricade the doors and picket at the fence. No entry here.  But Mr Cameron is eager for his pound of gold, and the clock is ticking.


23 Responses to “More than a house”

  1. Liveotherwise June 5, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    Houses have never meant much to me as we had a moving habit, but you’ve shown me how it can work. Hope you find a peaceful way forward if that makes any sense.

  2. brinkofbedlam June 5, 2011 at 10:50 am #

    That’s beautiful and so heartfelt as always. I had to read that in two sittings, because I ended up in tears first time round. I’m sorry to hear you have to do all these things, be as strong as you can be, just as your mum would want you to be. ((hugs)) xxx Kay

  3. Linda June 5, 2011 at 11:08 am #

    What a beautiful post, thank you for sharing it. I can’t begin to imagine what you are enduring, you have moved me to tears, what an amazing daughter you are. Much love.

  4. jfb57 June 5, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    These a rea the difficult things that have to be done I’m afraid. Try to br glad that there are so many memories. Some people don’t have that richness that will as time passes help you. Just make sure you get a good price for it!! 😉

  5. Vegemitevix June 5, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    That made me cry with identification. Hugs. xx

  6. susie @newdaynewlesson June 5, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    What a tough place to be. We all have a problem with letting go, espcially wehen things mean so much to us.

    Lots of hugs.

  7. beki June 5, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    I have been through a similar situation – I drove past my childhood home for the first time in 17 years last week. Stay strong.

  8. All for Aleyna June 5, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    What a beautiful post and I feel so much for you. It must seem like yet another “goodbye”. My thoughts are with you xxx

  9. Alli Marshall June 5, 2011 at 7:29 pm #

    This post has moved me to tears.
    Losing the home you grew up in that is filled with memories of your Mum is so hard.
    After my Mum died I found it hard to go home as each room seemed desolate without her there. However, when my Dad told me he was selling our home I was devastated as it was like another batch of memories was being taken away.
    Now years later when I want to remember I simply drive by the house & remember my dear Mum waving at me from her bedroom window.
    I hope in time you can find comfort in this way.

  10. Hayley June 5, 2011 at 8:08 pm #

    I just wanted to send you massive hugs sweetie. I hated parting with my Grandparents house and begged my parents to find a way to keep it. Its amazing how bricks and mortar can become so important to us but they do and its agony to part with them. xxx

  11. kelloggsville June 5, 2011 at 9:24 pm #

    When I went to my mother’s house (our family home) after my father had died I could still hear his voice, the laughter of us all together, the beautiful memories and when she moved it was so very very hard to leave it all behind. It’s closing another door on our childhood lives and moving further away from the memories we are dearly hanging on to.

    I was thinking about you today whilst I was out walking, thinking about the post about dead bodies and whether they just disappear. I was thinking about Disney films, the only dead bodies you see are the ones that come back to life. All the ones that really die disappear in some way. I wondered if maybe this is where the thoughts may be coming from.

  12. Simone June 5, 2011 at 9:48 pm #

    Holding back the tears reading this.
    I felt similar about my Nana’s house – the ONLY house that stayed the same through my childhood.
    Its not as close as your OWN family house.
    I can only imagine.
    REally really feeling for you right now.
    What can I say? Words fail.

  13. rachel frowd June 6, 2011 at 10:10 am #

    oh darling. So so hard. We are together and will get through this x x x

  14. Mama-andmore June 6, 2011 at 10:41 am #

    I may be in a slightly more emotional frame of mind these days anyway, but sitting at my desk your post brought tears to my eyes. I cannot relate – I moved house 32 times by the time I hit 30,but while nowhere housed my growing up turmoil, my grandparents’ house was the one place that remained a constant and now over 10 years after they passed away, we are having to take those horrible pragmatic steps and we hate it. I am sorry that you are losing so much so fast, but this if anything places even more emphasis on the life you and your own family are building together. Wishin you luck and strength as ever. Xx

  15. ChiBibi June 6, 2011 at 11:33 am #

    Such a moving post and such a sad subject. Thinking of you at this difficult time.

    I hope you will find some comfort from your memories that will never be sold, you can hang on to those forever…

    B xx

  16. Barbara June 6, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

    This is such a beautiful, evocative and overwhelmingly sad post.

    We moved a fair bit when I was younger so I will never know this particular pain. I was hoping to make a home of memories for my children, and for myself, but now I wonder if that’s fair.

  17. TheMadHouse June 7, 2011 at 12:59 am #

    I have a similar post in my drafts, which I never had to finnish or post, as my brother has the house and my neice lives in it. In some ways it is better that it has stayed in the family, but oh how my heart aches and how much I want to go and sit in it and smell it and just be with my parents

  18. Rosie Scribble June 7, 2011 at 6:40 pm #

    It’s such a shame you have to part with it so soon. It must be very hard on top of everything else. Those memories – the ones who have written in this post and so many more – will stay with you and no-one can make you part with them.

  19. rozzibee June 8, 2011 at 8:07 pm #

    You’re memories will stay with you. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for you x

  20. scribblingmum June 9, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    I’m sure it feels very very soon to be tackling this hurdle. Hugs to you my lovely, think of you often at the moment. I have my fingers crossed that you do find a way to come to CM x

  21. Miss Jacq June 10, 2011 at 12:51 am #

    Your writing is simply beautiful Henrietta. I remember those days all too well and understand how you must be feeling. I still haven’t been able to bring myself to drive past our childhood home since it was sold. It ‘s very sad, I don’t need to tell you this, take each day as it comes darling. Such a heartfelt beautiful post.

  22. Alexander Residence June 12, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

    This is beautiful writing Henrietta. Keep writing about it, it’s the memories that are precious and you can capture those. To be honest I haven’t been back to my parent’s house (my dad is still there) as much as I thought I would. Dad tends to come here. I’m still ‘getting round’ to sorting out the jewellery she left me. So, I am full of admiration, So much to do, so soon, as someone said above. Keep on writing and inspiring xx


  1. In the Powder Room: When good husbands go bad « - December 1, 2011

    […] Apart from that, things will be a bit silent for a while as I say goodbye to my family home. […]

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