My house is sold.
I leave our shared marital home in 5 weeks ... on the 21st January.
The house that my husband extended (to another third in size). Walls that he built. A new garage. A workshop at the bottom of the back garden with Spanish hanging tiles on its roof. The hot tub and the wooden hexagonal summer house he placed over it - with a glass roof, so I could lay there and gaze at the stars. The downstairs toilet. A staircase ripped out and a new one placed in the centre of the home. My amazing sanctuary ... with hues of blue in glass mosaic tiles, double jacuzzi, double shower, wall hanging toilet ... the lovely inset cabinet he made for our lounge ... the half finished new contemporary kitchen with NEFF ovens, American F/Freezer, the new roof, skylights, new built in cupboards, architrave ... and so much more.
I remember him working so hard. Saying, "nearly there, Boo ... another 3 months and it'll be done." But he had those 3 months stolen.
I remember him saying, "you walked right past it ... you didn't notice, did you?" And I never did. He'd laugh ... because he knew, that if the house was falling down, or a garage had been erected ... all I ever saw was him when I walked through that front door.
Walls that I leaned against in the early days after he died. Touching them, or just standing there, leaning on them .... gave me some comfort. Because his hands, his beautiful hands had built, plastered and painted them. Wandering and lost through our home searching for I don't know what, and hysterically crying, sometimes a silent scream brought me to my knees, knowing I was verging on losing my sanity ... before stopping to lean on one of those cool comforting walls. For minutes, sometimes for hours.
I still have the drawings he quickly sketched on blue squared paper, whilst explaining plans to me, checking I liked the ideas ... and they'll be cherished. Sitting next to him with wonderment at his ability to do ANYTHING.
I'd walk in through the door and say, "where's my beautiful husband?" And he'd say, "here I am." Followed by a hug and kiss. We had a spot. In the kitchen. Where we'd stand. I remember how he'd look at me. He'd listen to my boring babble about my day (I was doing really well at work that whole year), then we'd have a drink, prepare dinner (if he hadn't already made it) and then settle for some downtime. (I'd sulk if he worked too late).
It was a house full of love, happiness and laughter.
I also remember .... immediately after the stroke struck him down .... him raising his "good" arm up and down, in frustration, three times. Each time he did so, saying, "no no no, not now," and realising that as he was dying, he only thought of me, not himself. Because the house was not finished. I didn't give a damn. I could only see him. I hid in the bathroom when the paramedics carried him down the stairs, somehow knowing that my beautiful, strong husband would not want me watching him. Then flying down the stairs to join him in the ambulance. He knew. He knew what was coming ... in this house, when I was alone.
I remember him burying our rottweiler, Hammer. Six foot under. A burial fit for a king or a viking. With his meatballs, a roast turkey, sausages, ice cream, milky bar buttons, all his toys, his collar and so much more. He took so much care placing all his belongings (the toys filled an entire big dustbin bag), a water bowl you could bath a baby in. He wouldn't let me watch. Digging. He couldn't see for tears. It was Boxing Day.
I remember decorating our back reception room (under his supervision) and enjoying it so much. I remember having a tantrum and stomped off declaring that he may as well do it himself, if he was going to hover over me as I mowed the lawn (he was breathing down my neck, manically moving the lead constantly). I remember decorating our home for the most magical Christmas-times in my life. The Santa's are still on display from 4 years ago ... I never gained enough courage to take them down.
I vowed I would NEVER leave this house. It gave me comfort of a sort. But after 3 years passed, along with two burglaries, accompanied by peeps "helping" me, whilst helping themselves. It took away my confidence. It made me question everything. It stopped me asking for help. So, after more time, I became isolated, more ill (physically and mentally) and it was simply a house where I could sob as soon as I crossed its threshold. I lost hope. I lost energy and motivation. My dog destroyed furniture, fittings, barked incessantly if I even went upstairs. I became a prisoner in my own front reception room. Heat and hot water failed. Peeps let me down on stuff they were supposed to do. I didn't take the trash out for 9 MONTHS (unless it was smelly stuff). Light bulbs popped. The home became darker and darker ... reflecting my state of mind. Then it overwhelmed me. So my solution was to not answer the door.
Finally ... I woke up. Realised just how ill I'd been. And set about selling the house.
I shall take pictures of the details of the work and care he put into our home and make a Mixbook. Inside the book will be a pressed fern leaf from where Hammer is buried. A handful of Cliff's ashes will be sprinkled over Hammer's resting place.
The home that made me so happy morphed into a house that made me sad and stressed and contributed to my failing mental health.
It will fund my new home in Spain. Where Barney (my long haired Jack Russell Terrier) and I are emigrating to. After 4 years of sheer hell, I've smelled the coffee ... this is for me. I've helped others. Considered them. Tolerated them talking to me like shit because I have grace. Questioned whether my decreasing mental health has caused me to imagine shit or whether peeps really did shit on me. And ... yes, they did. Tried different tactics ... explaining that I had a public school education, which was then improved by my husband mentoring me through street education, and somehow he left me with the ability he had of predicting what peeps were going to do (way before they'd even thought of it) .... explaining all this. Them nodding. Then somehow they had an arrogance - assumed they were not included in this. Like they were smarter or something. Fucking hell ... if they were, they wouldn't have to scam me, right? Well, good riddance to them in 5 weeks - hurrah! A bonus :-) It's in my genetic makeup to help peeps in any way I can. I just can't help myself. It's a fucking compulsion. That said, after giving (especially in my state) for the past 4 years above all ... they've beaten the addiction to do so out of me. I'm going to look after me and my little dog now. Us first. If you need money, go and fucking earn it. If you want practical help or advice, try and remember it'd be nice to be thanked for it - maybe taken out for dinner or something if I've invested hours or days in doing so. Then again, it might not be an issue ... when you ask, you might find that I'm too busy, just like you were when I asked you for help for the first time in my life. That breaking my heart ... and how disgusted Cliff would have been ... and I didn't talk about it to anyone ... but it hardened my resolve. And for that, I thank you. Really. Truth.
Cliff will be relieved. He'd hate that I stayed here if it made me so depressed.
A fresh start. Warmer climes. Healthy food. A slower pace of life. Working from home. Daily walks. Swimming. Different priorities. I can't wait to cook again - from scratch. Excited about launching my new business as a Virtual Assistant. Hosting visiting family and friends. A finished, easy to maintain, smaller home. With a log burning fire for the colder months. A pool. No carpets. No work needed. A small automatic town car. Flip-flops and sundresses. No makeup required :-)
I know that in 5 weeks I will have a MAJOR EPIC meltdown. Of course I will. But only for that day. Then I know that a huge weight will have been lifted from my shoulders. I'm not taking furniture. Only books, clothes, sentimental stuff, clothes, kitchenware, ornaments etc. A fresh start.
And I have a feeling ... that I'll start to feel better ... physically, mentally, spiritually ... gain a little weight and build my stamina.
Villa hunting will follow. I canNOT wait!
Baba, I've learned that you cannot be found in these walls, or in a pile of jeans, or socks for that matter. You are in my heart. I carry you in my heart.
and just in case .... the remaining ashes will be spread around my new home. But you are with me wherever I go.
Thank you for working so hard for me. For taking care of me even after you left. So that I had the option to start my Life v.3*
* Life v.1 = life with Parents/Boarding School
* Life v.2 = life with Cliff
* Life v.3 = life in Spain
Oh, and that (Life v.3) is the name of my new blog (launching around March 2013).
I'm getting there, Baba. Finally. Making good on my promise to you as I told you it was okay to leave me, that I would be okay. It's taken 4 years, but in the grand scheme of things, tis but a blink of an eye.