As this week has gone on, the end of the trip has seemed more and more daunting, until finally now the moment has arrived.
After quite a few years of trips to Wales to see relatives at different houses for many a different occasion, by train, coach and car, today sees the final return journey from a family residence. Once I board the train for London this evening I know that I will never return to Wales again to see a close relative in their home. Today marks a very sad day for me, as I walk away from 14 Willow Close, I know I will never return to it as a home ever again, and instead I will return to a vacant house to collect what remains of the families possessions, and to remove the last personal touches from the house.
Over the years, leaving the house in Florida has become harder and harder, calling an end to a holiday, and returning to the UK to the normality of day to day life is never easy, especially when the house has become almost like a second home over the years. Each time we load the car up for the last time, my heart sinks, and sadness waves over me.
But that is nothing in comparison to what I am feeling right now. I actually dont want to walk out of that door right now. I am sitting at the dining table writing this entry, with my aunts lounge behind me. Knowing that for years she would be sitting here with me, and now she is gone. Saying goodbye to someone is hard enough at the best of times, but this is a whole different level. I have spent the past 24 hours going through the house, digging out keepsakes, heirlooms, and finding some amazing memories. Deciding what I will take back to London with me, and what I can give a good honest home to, rather than keeping it for the sake of being sentimental.
As I look around the room, I can almost hear distant echos of the conversations I have had during numerous visits. Bringing various guests with me, all who added a little spice to the conversation, and kept the visits different, in the best possible way. Laughter, discussion, debate, and even deep emotional conversation, like the visit when I first broke the news to Joan that mum had cancer. The same visit where Joan told me SHE had cancer also. Tough times, but I would live them all again to not have to be doing what I am doing right now.
I can never treasure every possession that Joan and Glyn had, and look after it in the way which Joan has over the years. Nor can I take every item. Yes my home is bigger than this one, but being practical has its place. Common sense has to prevail over sentiment at times, and this is one of those times.
So Joan, I hope that my decisions meet your approval, and that I cause no offence to you or the family legacy in the decisions I have made here this week. It was my pleasure to have played such a role in the recent years of your life, and will miss you every day. As I have grown older, losing mum, other friends, and now Joan, I have slowly begun to appreciate relationships, and the time we all have together. The time we are gifted to make a difference in peoples lives before we leave. I stand tall with pride knowing that my aunt was a popular and well loved woman, who had a great live, changed the lives of many around her, and leaves a void in her passing. I hope that one day I can be one tenth the person she was, and have a similar effect when I depart.
So the clock is ticking, and the time for my train is fast approaching. The final walk of the house is done, arrangements made for the articles I will be taking to be kept until I return for them. The house has fallen silent now, and the only sound is my breathing, and each keystroke. So it feels like it is the right time to call it a day. Say farewell, and take my last glimpses at a home that holds so many dear memories for me.
I wish I could express myself a little better right now, but at this moment my thoughts are choked up.
Thank you Joan Hughes for the great memories, and the knowledge you have given me over the years.
Farewell Willow Close.....
The end of an era :(