My Dad’s wife moved out of our family home this past weekend. I hadn’t been there much since Dad died in July. It was too strange, too empty, too sad to be there when T was, but he wasn’t. My father loved that house more than anything; the house that he refused to leave because it was my mother’s house. I guess what he was really saying with those stubborn heels, was that he would never leave her and he never did.
This week I have been there nearly every day. Now that T has moved out I can move about the half furnished rooms and dig around in cupboards without feeling as if I am intruding in her space.
The first thing G & I did was a treasure hunt for anything valuable that needed to be stored securely and not left in an empty house asking to be redistributed amongst the population. I have been sorting through clothing, linen and kitchenware ever since. You are probably incapable of imagining the cumulative mass of 35 years of my father’s hoarding.
Today I have taken Grace with me, partly because she needs the extra work and partly because I need moral support. The task is overwhelming and I want to get Hospice around on Tuesday to take a first load back to their charity shop. By the time we leave that afternoon we have packed around 20 large boxes, and it barely makes a dent. I can see Grace is knackered and I am feeling decidedly grumpy. This is not going to be a quick or easy process.
My father’s death signals the end of so many things. There is no longer a generation between myself and death, no parental protection, no place to go if the going gets tough.
Soon the place I have always thought of as my home will belong to someone else. This house that has preserved our family history is being cleared out and we cannot hold on to the memorabilia or the antiques that I have taken for granted all this time. As the memories of the generations that went before are being erased from my life, it hurts all the more that, in my case, there is no generation that follows to replace it. There is an indescribable loneliness in that.
It seems almost fated that I am coming to terms with my father’s death at the same time that I am trying to create a life because I have always been fascinated by the cycles of existence: of Night and Day; of Winter preceding Spring; of Death and Rebirth. Indeed, it is the primary theme of the novel that one day I may attempt to get published.
So it seems right I should use the money that he left me to pay for my fertility treatment and that from his death will (hopefully) come a new life. And although you will never get to meet him, he will be a part of you just as you will be a part of me.