More than just a house…

 

…time to close the circle…

 

 

In 2005 Lee and I were living in a rented cottage in the village of Bethesda, nestled in Snowdonia National Park. It’s a beautiful idyllic place and we lived there with our little cats, Cagney and Lacey, who we had rescued as kittens from the Cats Protection League in October 2004. We decided, at that time, to have our earnings assessed. We wanted to see, if and when we were ready (we assumed some time off), how much we could borrow if we wanted to buy a property. In the July of 2005, we were pre-approved for a mortgage, so for fun, on the Friday, some two days later, we both took the afternoon off work and we went ‘window shopping’ for houses! We saw three we liked, and in true ‘Goldilocks’ style one was the cheapest, one was in the middle and one was top of our budget (if they knocked some off!). We suddenly found ourselves with appointments to view all three that very afternoon… just for fun, you understand 🙂

The first one was too far from work.

The second one was too old and needed too much doing.

The third one… the most expensive but not too expensive… was just PERFECT.

Less than twelve hours later (and it would have been sooner had it not been evening and the agent was closed) we made an offer and they said YES! We just knew it was for us. We kept driving past it on our way home from work.

Of course, we had no idea then that a fall Lee’d had at a work fun day the weekend after the offer was accepted, an injury they said, was, in fact, masking a far graver issue: a cancer. A cancer that tragically took his life a matter of only weeks later: October 21, 2005. That was less than a month after the house was ours. In fact, his diagnosis came a week after completion while he was still in hospital being treated for his ‘injury’ that they said he would recover from… and was why we went ahead with the sale of the house.

But Lee never got to live in it.

That house is a very special little house and in spite of my heartbreaking start it wrapped me up in its comfort and I am so glad I didn’t run away then.  Oh, I thought about it, but I didn’t want to make those kinds of choices when I couldn’t even lift my head without crying. So I chose to stay and make happy memories there ❤ And I am so glad I did. I made such wonderful memories.

I enjoyed the cats, my lovely neighbours, five years later: my beautiful blue roan cocker spaniel, Rosie, who came into my life like another angel. I learned to write and that led to many successes. I did the victory dance many times in that house with my writing successes. Of course, that little house saw me grieve. It saw my very saddest and darkest of moments when the cats licked away my tears and were the only thing that stopped me giving up back then… and that house brought me great comfort. It is truly a blessed little house and like I think things and people come into our lives for a reason, like the cats, like Rosie…  so did that house. I truly believe that. I know some might say it’s only a house but I would say it is far more than that. Like it’s its own character in this story.

And so yes there were tears but there were also whoops and there was laughter and there was JOY. Much joy.

I spent close to nine years in that house and I look back with great affection. But I knew when the time had come to leave and I did try to sell it but at a time when nothing was selling.  Maybe it wanted me to hang onto it. Maybe our memories weren’t quite done yet. Maybe I was meant to find Mal first so it was easier to say goodbye? So I waited. If I have learned anything in this life, it’s wait, be patient, wonderful things are always within reach. I did move out in the end, back to the folks (sad to leave some wonderful friends but with wonderful new ones to make) and the house was rented for a year to a lovely couple and a baby came along! How lovely is that since that blessing was taken away from us.

And of, course, when I moved, I found Mal.

It was a journey that was not easy at times with it selling and falling through, so I gave it the TLC it needed and fixed some issues and now… finally… it has found exactly the kind of people I wanted it to. A wonderful couple who fell in love with it and made an offer right away on first viewing, as we had! So that was meant to be too.

That was five weeks ago, and when we went to the house last weekend it was to say goodbye. We had the perfect weekend and we met the buyers. I have the lovely plant they gave me in my office now as a wonderful reminder and I gave them a copy of my novel since it was written in that house. It is part of its history too. People pass away, babies are born, puppies bound, cats play, novels are written, right? Between those walls.

On my last day there I had a wonderful time with Mal. He helped me sort some bits I didn’t know what to do with and he listened to me read a really sad poem that was written back then in those early days that I have never shared. It expresses exactly how I felt about my life and losing Lee. He said I had to keep that, some of the things we knew I had to let go of, but that is part of me. How wonderful he is. I guess it’s true — angels come in many forms, don’t they? Even houses.

I also had the two great bits of writing news in that same day. I had never had two writing successes on the same day! I like to think was Lee and that wonderful house saying you made it, you did well — now open the next chapter.

We went onto the roof terrace where I had spend many evenings, some very sad ones wondering if I would ever meet anyone else like Lee again, and some writing and celebrating the wonderful life I have. So we went up there to toast our future — because I did find someone and I know Lee would approve.

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So last Tuesday, a week today, I said goodbye. I was so excited, but, as I poked the envelope through the door with my key in it I felt overwhelmed for a moment because I knew what it represented — finally the closing of that chapter. I got in the car and Mal looked at me, “You okay?”

“Yes. I will be.”

A new chapter is opening now. It is time.

Then we drove away.

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That house will always always be a part of me and my journey and in spite of the saddest memories of my life, it also gave me the happiest. I like to think years from now in its walls and in its memory it not only sees Lee and I falling in love with it that day we found it, it will find me dancing and drinking cosmopolitan (from a tin… so classy!), listening to Barry Manilow, the day I found out my novel would be published, and it sees Mal and I toasting to new beginnings. But something else too. It will see the new owners and all their memories, all yet to make. The house has someone else to look after now. And vice versa. ❤

This week we have been waiting for final paperwork and yesterday at 3 pm came the phone call. That little house was finally theirs — the new owners — and I could at long last ‘do the dance’. Am I sad? Of course, there is a tinge of sadness for the life that wasn’t lived and I will never forget Lee, ever. But there is also great hope. This feeling is where I left off, it’s how I felt back in 2005 when Lee and I found that house and couldn’t wait to move in and start our life together. Then all of that was gone. It took a long time to find any of that hope again. Sure I have it in my writing and I love my life, but now…

… well now I have someone and a new wish list and we are looking for a home to rent here so we can be together and, finally, that buzz, that feeling I lost, that wonderful hope is there again; the one that was taken away when Lee was.

So thanks for the memories little house; the good and the bad. Thanks for looking after me. I am so glad I was part of that house’s history and now it is someone else’s future and I wish them every happiness ❤ Truly xxxxx

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We are there!

 

 

 

 

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1 Comment

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One response to “More than just a house…

  1. What a beautiful message, very emotional. As my husband and I prepare to sell our home of 10 years we feel very similar. We have loved, laughed, played and grieved in this house, and so much more. It seems there is a lot of moving on this year. Many blessings to you and Mal ☺️

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