Monday, October 29, 2018

Last Time for Everything

It's strange the things which affect us.  You can never tell what will, or how much.  My mother is in the process of moving out of her old house to the retirement flat she has bought.  It's absolutely the right thing to do - that old three bedroomed house is too big for her, costs too much to maintain (especially the garden) and isn't particularly conveniently placed if, like my mum, you don't drive.  But it was also the family home for over fifty years, the house I grew up in.  Yesterday marked the last time I visited it.  It really seemed strange wandering around those now nearly empty rooms, voices echoing in all the unfurnished space.  Standing in my old bedroom one last time was especially strange.  For one thing, it seemed much smaller than I remembered.  But then, back in those days, as I was growing up, it encompassed my entire world: just about all of my wordly possessions were packed into that room.  For a while I even shared it with my model railway, (until it moved to the attic).  In fact, when we first moved to the house in the late sixties, I shared that bedroom with my two older brothers.  After a few years they moved to the bedroom next door after my sister got married and moved out.  Later, I shared it with my younger brother, until my older brothers moved out and he took over their old room.  But, throughout my teenaged years, it was undisputedly my bedroom, where everything I loved and cherished was contained.

Now, of course, I have a whole house of my own, crammed full of my stuff.  It seems hard to believe now that I could have contained my whole life in that one room for so many years.  But now it is bare, devoid of any character, just my memories lingering there.  And there are so many memories associated with that room.  I was surprised at just how affecting I found the whole experience.  In fact, I found myself downright upset by it all.  I know that I haven't lived there full time for nigh on thirty years, but a lot of my life was lived there.  Most importantly, most of my childhood was spent in that house and, most specifically, that room.  In all the years I've lived away from the house, I've always had the knowledge that it was still there and still accessible to me.  But now, that chapter of my life is definitively over.  I can't go back.  That was my last look at my old bedroom.  In fact yesterday marked the last time that I would go through that front door, the last time I'd reverse my car off of the driveway and manoeuvre it around all the other badly parked cars in the cul-de-sac as I drove away.  Always, at the back of our minds, I think, we have the knowledge that there will be a last time we do everything, but experiences like yesterday's bring home the reality of this fact.  As I said, I found it all surprisingly upsetting.



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