Friday, 9 November 2012

No going back

It's been a time for family today. Time to meet up with aunts and uncles and cousins. Time to look back, and time to catch up. Time to remember, time to reminisce. We talked about the cottage in the country where my grandparents lived, and their parents before them. The cottage where I used to spend the whole of the school summer holiday. The outside lavvy up the yard, which the men in a lorry attended to every week. The double bed I shared with my Aunt who is only five years older than me and was more like a sister. The pantry where my grandma stored all her home made delicious cakes and pastries, and I used to steal the lemon curd tarts. The fields around the house where I roamed. I remember the ditch I fell into as I tried to jump over it. Grandma was not cross, she took my wet clothes off and wrapped me in a big towel and sat me down on the rug in front of the fire.

After my grandparents died my Aunty lived in the cottage with her husband and they had three children. They had a bathroom put in so they didn't have to go up the yard any more. It was a struggle to fit everybody in the tiny cottage with two bedrooms, but they managed. I remember the big open fire in the living room, boy was it roasting in there.

The garden was huge and Uncle spent hours digging and planting and building a shed, and growing veg. The garden was his pride and joy. Every Christmas most of the family went back there. When Grandma was alive it was always full of visitors, friends and relations. The same when Aunty took over. It was the sort of place you always wanted to go back to. It was the hub, the base, the home of our family.

Today I went to Uncle's funeral. A very simple funeral, he never liked fuss. His son and his grandson both read a eulogy. His daughter sang a song, she has a beautiful singing voice. We waved him goodbye to Freddie Mercury singing, Don't stop me now. I didn't know he liked Freddie Mercury.

That cottage in the country will always be our family home, but the time will come when it will be handed over to someone new. For the last few years Uncle always did the driving because Aunty's eyesight is failing. He took Aunty to the shops, to appointments, to visit friends, and to visit their children who have grown up and flown the nest. There are no shops nearby, only a handful of houses. There are no buses, and taxis are too expensive, so it's looking like Aunty won't be able to live there any more. I cannot imagine her living anywhere else, she was born and brought up there, she has lived there all her life. It will be strange not going back to visit ever again.

 Good night.

34 comments:

  1. We lost a family friend on Friday, it made me think of all times we take for granted.
    Jane x

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  2. Ilona, I am so sorry for your sad loss. It sounds like you have wonderful memories of your uncle and your childhood. I hope your aunt finds a safe, new home that she is comfortable in.

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  3. The cottage looks so lovely, the stuff of idyllic childhood days. It was so nice to read your memories of the happy times you spent there.
    I love the choice of song that was played at Uncles funeral, he must have been a hip old boy :-)

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  4. so sorry for your loss. Would you not like to live there? Great song to go out too.

    Gill

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  5. Sorry for your loss but you have lovely memories xx

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  6. A very moving post Ilona, how nice to have such beautiful memories.

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  7. Oh dear. Sorry for your loss. The house looks so beautiful, I can see why you have such fond memories. Nothing stays the same, we are all on one big adventure, counting each day special! Great goodbye song. Take care and keep smiling x.

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  8. So sorry to read about the loss of your uncle, but what wonderful memories of your family and the cottage they lived in. It reminds me so much of the cottage my hubby's family had in Revesby near Horncastle. Hugs xxx

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  9. A bittersweet day for you. I hope she manages to stay in the cottage. There might be something locally to help, such as dial-a-ride, for instance. Sorry to hear about your uncle.

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  10. So sorry to hear about your uncle's passing. It was nice to read about the great memories you have of your childhood, going to your grandparents' cottage and then your aunt and uncle's. I too have memories of my great grandmother's house, going to holidays there, big gatherings (she had 11 children), then the house got passed down to my grandfather, then to my mother and then my mother had to sell it because she couldn't live there any longer. It was in a village with no transport and she doesn't drive so she had to move. Almost the same story as your aunt's. It made me think of my childhood and the happy memories I had there. Thanks for that. I hope your aunt finds a nice place to live and hope she is not sad about leaving her home after all these years. It's hard to make a change like that when you're older and are set in your ways and have lived in the same place for years. My mother found it hard to think of someone else living in her grandmother's house. That house was in our family for over 100 years. It's not just a house after all those years, it's a homestead.

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  11. Oh dear, so sorry to hear about your Uncle, and especially about your Auntie's loss and her situation. How dreadful to lose one's lifelong companion and then to be faced with the possibility of losing everything familiar. And with failing sight to cope with, as well. Oh dear. When my uncle found himself in a similar situation, his great-nephew was able to move in with him which was a good thing for both, until my uncle passed away. My own father had to go into a nursing home this year at age 93, because he could no longer live alone due to increasing problems with balance; he now requires lifting, which is beyond my physical strength. He's a very cheery fellow by nature, but even after many months at a good nursing home he still becomes deeply saddened whenever he mentions "maybe never being able to get out of here and go home." Sorry to write such a long response, Ilona - this just hits home with me, as I'm sure it does with many of your readers. I hope things work out well for your Aunt.

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  12. So sorry for your family's loss. Is there anything such as home health care in the area....to do a shop for your Aunt and little jobs arount the home to help keep her there? You don't fancy a move do you Ilona? I know how badly we all miss my grandma and grandpa's home...it was torn down a couple of years back, now all we have are pictures ....

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  13. It's too bad she has to move. It's like everything familiar is being ripped away at once. Sometimes older people have a companion to live with them when they cannot drive or do much. The person shops, drives to appointments, cleans, all in return for room and board. Do you not have a friend to do this. Sometimes, the person comes from an agency. Winter and the holidays is a hard time to move anyone, much less an elderly person. Does she have children or grandchildren who could each spend a few days with her to help her cope with her loss, be a companion, and keep her in her home a few more months? This makes me sad for you and just plain sad.

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  14. So sorry for your loss. What a lot of wonderful memories you have, they help at a time like this.
    Beautiful cottage, it just looks like it is chock full of memories of wonderful people and great times.
    Candace
    Colorado USA

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  15. A lovely cottage. RIP to your uncle & sorry for your loss.

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  16. So sorry to hear this Ilona, such good memories too. Well, to me it's obvious, as Practical Parsimony says, she needs a companion to stay with her, and you are an obvious candidate! Lovely little cottage, with a huge garden ...the cats would love it too!

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  17. Thank you for your kind wishes. I just had a thought, you might think it is my Uncle Stan I am speaking about here, it isn't. The Aunty I refer to is Stan's sister.

    I am sure that the three children will look after their mother, there is every chance that she will go and live with her eldest daughter. I would not want to live in the cottage, it is too isolated for me. I like to be close enough to facilities. I like to look out of the window and see people walking past. Although the cottage is in the countryside, traffic whizzes by too fast, it would be no good for cats to live there.

    Another memory I have is my Grandad Walter making me a bicycle out of bits of old bikes. I was chuffed with it and rode it everywhere. Grandma was called Blanche, what fantastic names, Walter and Blanche.

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  18. So sorry to hear of your loss Ilona, but what wonderful memnories you have. The cottage may change hands and even move out of the family but you will always have your memories.

    It sounds like you have a lovely family. It's always so sad when we seem to get together more and more for funerals as we get older. I love that he chose Freddie Mercury to go out to, in the midst of such sadness a song like that always brings a smile to your face and helps you remember the lighter side of your loved one.

    Sue xx

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  19. So sorry for your sad loss Ilona. Reading your memories and the poignant fact that your Aunt will probably have to leave her beautiful cottage brought a smile to my face and a tear to my eye both at the same time.
    The thought of your Uncle departing to "Don't stop me now" made me laugh out loud. What an inspired choice!
    Thank you for sharing all this.

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  20. What a truely lovely cottage, so sad that your aunts eye sight problems mean that she may have to leave the only home she knows.

    What wonderful memories you all have of Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles, memories last a lifetime and are so precious.

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  21. Hi Jan here.Sorry for your loss,but pleased that you have so many precious memories.Hope your aunt adapts well to the changes facing her,sounds like she has a caring family around to help her.Makes us reslise that change occurs no matter what.'Don't stop me now'sound very fitting from what you say about your uncle.We should all live life to the full in the way that you do.It's brilliant to be able to appreciate the wonderful things life presents to us and not wait until only regrets are available to us.Thank you for continuing to be an inspiration.

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  22. Sorry for your loss, Ilona. The cottage is beautiful, and its sad that your auntie may have to move from the place she's lived in her whole life.

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  23. That's sad Ilona. The cottage looks so beautiful and you have such wonderful memories. It will be a very sad day when your Aunt has to move.

    Life does revolve around memories too, particularly as you get older. Yesterday I met up with some of my oldest friends, and my Mum's too, as she was there at the cafe when I arrived. Old cycling friends, one of whom can be a bit irritating but as we said, all a link with your past and the happy memories of the times when we were younger.

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  24. sorry for your sad loss. The cottage is lovely and its rare nowaways for people to stay in places all their lives like our families used to years ago.

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  25. Such a sad time for you and your family but what a great song for your Uncle to say farewell to you all with. I remember closing the door on my Mum's house for the last time and walking down the path. I had such happy memories. i don't think anything can prepare you for how you feel about losing a family home. It is the oddest feeling to realise that you can be so attached to bricks and mortar (almost as much as the person that managed the home) and even grieve for the loss of that connection. It is like being cut adrift on a life raft. Such lovely memories Ilona, thanks for sharing them.

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  26. I'm so sorry for you loss Ilona.
    Meeting up with the family and reminiscing about happy times is always a good thing, even under such circumstances.
    Loved the chosen song. I too have picked out my favourite song for my funeral.
    Hope your aunt will be able to stay in the family home, with the help and care of her daughters....it will be easier for her.

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  27. From Housefairy,
    Hiya, a sad time for family, you did not say how it happened? I am sending my best wishes and hopes that your uncle was not in pain.
    The house looks lovely, thank you for showing us the photo's. Love the door and the v roof.

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  28. Sad times but happy childhood memories.

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  29. Hello Housefairy. Uncle was not well for a long time, he didn't like going to the doctor and left it too late.

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  30. So sorry to hear of your loss. Sounds like some great memories though.

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  31. I'm so sorry to hear about your Uncle. I'm guessing he wasn't that old as your Aunt is only 5 years older than you etc. What a lovely family home♥ I do hope the house can still remain in your family somehow. I hope things work out for you Aunt.

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  32. Hi Ilona, So sorry to hear about the loss of your Uncle Walter. The memories of your time spent with him when you were little will be a comfort to you You sounded rather mischievous when you were a youngster, pinching the lemon curd tarts. It's a lovely cottage that your Aunt and Uncle lived in, very picturesque looking. It would be a lot of work for your Aunt to keep it on. I hope that the cottage will be kept in the family some way or another, so many happy memories attached to it. Take care of yourself. Cheers for now, Christy.

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