This week was a bit of an emotional one in our family – yesterday my parents moved out of the house they’d lived in for 24 years. I don’t think any of us quite realised how much we’d miss their home until it all got very real a couple of weeks ago and we started doing all the “this is the last time we…” in the house.
It’s weird for me because it’s not the house I grew up in. They moved to this house in Devon when I was 21 and had already left home to go to college. This was the one they moved to soon after they both retired, and yet somehow I was starting to feel very, very sad about this no longer being the house we go to to see my parents.
As you can see it was a big, red brick Victorian house in about half an acre of land with stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Probably about half of my outfit photo shoots have been taken right outside their front gate, the last ones being this one looking right up the lane from their driveway, and this one looking left. Check out the cows (their next door neighbours) in the latter. Their mooing is going to be missed.
I’ll also miss the pheasants and the partridges that visit the garden and the hares and deer we’d see wandering up and down the lane – sometimes badgers too.
I’ll miss the spectacular sunsets that swept right across the sky.
I’ll miss the fact that the house was so big you’d easily lose someone in the house or garden and take 10 minutes to find them.
I’ll miss the bouncy castle parties and the games of football and tag with my nieces and nephews, who now bring their own children with whom we do the same.
I’ll miss the postman (first name terms) who’d pop in via the kitchen’s back door to deliver the mail.
I’ll miss my picturesque running route through the country lanes.
Everyone in the family has so many wonderful memories from this place, and I won’t lie when I say it was somewhat gut-wrenching to be leaving.
Yet despite the fact that I was so heartbroken on Thursday when we locked the door for the last time (as I’m writing this more water seems to be coming out of my eyes AGAIN), I couldn’t be happier for them.
Why I’m so happy for my parents
You see, both my parents are in their 80s and the house and garden have, in the last few years, become a serious burden for both of them. There is only so much a gardener and a cleaner can do to ease life in such a huge house for an elderly couple, and they are simply too immobile to stay in a house that’s got awkward stairs and a seriously long walk between any two given rooms. Take the size of the garden into account and you’re talking commuting distance.
The silver lining in all of this is the house they have just moved to, which is only 20 minutes down the road from the old house. The pros of the new house far outweigh the pros of the old one.
ONCE WE GOT TO THE NEW HOUSE AND STARTED UNPACKING, ALL THE SADNESS JUST SEEMED TO DISAPPEAR.
Whereas before they were a five-minute drive away from the nearest local shop, they are now in a quiet street in the centre of a large town, in a beautiful bungalow with a spectacular garden. My mum hasn’t been able to drive for a number of years now, and rather than relying on my dad to drive her places it will take her five minutes to walk into the town centre where there are coffee shops, convenience stores, chemists, charity shops, a post office, bakeries, banks, antique shops, restaurants, pubs… It’s all right there on their doorstep.
Their way of life is going to change dramatically, and for the better.
The reason to be positive
Yesterday my two sisters, my parents and I packed up our cars with the final bits and bobs we threw into any box we could find, took a family picture in the empty kitchen and left the house for the last time. Two things happened: One, I cried quite a few tears in the car (I was on my own thankfully); and two, once we got to the new house and started unpacking, all the sadness just seemed to disappear. Firstly because we were too busy to get sad, and secondly because it all seemed like a new exciting adventure.
An hour in and I realised we’d really consumed nothing all day except tea and biscuits, so I suggested I popped into town to pick up a selection of nice rolls and paninis. So I walked the five minutes into the high street – and was met by a choice of several quality places to get a takeaway lunch.
When I told the lady serving me in the bakery that my parents had literally just moved into the town centre and I was getting lunch for everyone, she was so happy for us that she gave me some complimentary packets of fruit scones to welcome us.
And with that, I just knew that everything was going to be alright.
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN HEARTBROKEN TO LEAVE A FAMILY HOME – HOW DID YOU FIND THE MOVE IN THE END? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS OR TWEET ME @NOTLAMB!
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