As we go through life, we find ourselves constantly encountering changes. Some of these changes are good, some of them are utter cow-shitting bastard fingers. I've mentioned it in a previous post and those of you who know me personally will know that the last year has been - to put it lightly - quite shit in some respects.
Well, one thing that has come out of the last 12 months is the need for my parents to move house. For a while, they've been in need of something more modern and ideally without stairs and not in need of a complete rebuild. Events last year meant that the need turned into a must and so after many months looking, negotiating and all sorts of other things, an ideal place was found in an ideal area and a date was finally set for the move and indeed the end of an era.
Earlier this month, the move took place. It took longer than we wanted it to, the weather wasn't always on our side and it caused a considerate amount of stress and upset, but then again, I think all house moves end up like that. At least it seems that way.
The whole experience felt weird. So many thoughts and emotions bouncing off eachother. I was glad that it was finally happening and that my parents would now have an easier time and things would hopefully improve for them from now on. Also, I was glad that there would no-longer need to be a reason to make regular visits to a town that hadn't always been the nicest place to be.
Lots of positives in leaving, but lots of sadness too. Although I haven't lived there for a fair few years now, leaving that house for the final time this month was a significant thing for me, as it was the house I had spent my childhood in. Further than that, I'd spent most of my life in it. We moved in 28 years and 4 months ago. I was just a baby, so I can't remember that, but my childhood memories are full of happy times playing in the house, watching TV, playing outside in the massive garden overlooked by beautiful views in every direction. Being taken to the park in town in the summer and all of those family trips to local villages, sat in the back of my Dad's Vauxhall Chevette estate with the leather seats that got stupidly hot, especially if you liked wearing shorts, like I did as a nipper.
All of these memories spiral out from growing up in that house. Of course, there are sad memories too, but thankfully, nowhere near as many compared to the happy ones. I knew it was going to be mentally and physically hard to move everything out and leave the house well and truly behind, but I don't think I prepared myself for the emotional side of it.
Having neighbours coming up to us as we loaded up the van to say their goodbyes and wish us well nearly made my bottom lip wobble on a few occasions. Most of them have seen me grow up and some of them have lived there decades longer than my parents. To use the tried and tested "end of an era" and/or "new chapter" clichés would probably be seen by some as.... well, a cliché... but, I can't think of any other way of describing the experience of clearing out your childhood home and closing the door, knowing you'll never spend another night in there again.
The memories will never leave me and the photographs will never fade (unless they are stored in the wrong conditions or the film/paper stock is low-quality... yeah... different tangent, there...), but the house itself will never be the same again. I sort of want to thank the house for the last 28 years and 4 months... but what can you actually thank a house for? Apart from not falling down, there isn't much, really.
But when I really think about it, I actually can thank that house for more than that, for it has made me realise that I am very lucky to have such a lovely family that have looked after me as much as I have looked after them over that time and provided me with memories I will cherish forever. That house was a chapter, but my family is the story.
Now you've read that last paragraph, you have my permission to do a little sick in a bucket, if you wish.