Thursday, July 3, 2008

a return

I don't really know what to title this. I posted a few posts ago about the anniversary of my mother's death and how to mark it. On Tuesday I was in Greystones for a visit to the osteopath, and I went to the health food shop. While parked in the Burnaby, I was around the corner from my mother's house, as it was.

I have to admit I've been sort of avoiding driving by it. Thinking about it gives me a certain amount of pain, or discomfiture. I never lived there, having moved out just before she did. It was a lovely house, she brought me to see it when she was considering moving there, and I remember sitting in the sitting room and feeling really good vibes. But when my daughter was small, I gave a grind to a kid who lived above her house, at the top of the road, and it was so hard not to be leaving her in with my mother while I was there for the hour, and calling back in afterwards. That felt so wrong - it's times like that I felt, and feel, her absence so keenly.

But at the same time, she had moved from ten acres, a three story house on the hill, having to give up her horses and beautiful country kitchen. She was demoralised, heartbroken, having been through three years of my father's affair, and she'd finally been ejected, against her will, from her marriage and her home.

So while she liked the house, she also had mixed feelings about it. And it was damp, in need of a certain amount of renovation she couldn't afford, and the neighbours were a bit horrible, compounded by the fact that she was in no form to be sociable or make friends. Reclusive at the best of times, she felt too broken. And she was sick, but what she'd been through exercised such a pull of negativity that she encouraged the illness for a year or so, she smoked, drank a little, ate sugar, things she didn't normally do.

But she applied her stylish touch to it, and it suited her well.

The other day, having been musing over ways to mark her death, I got a sudden urge to go see it. I drove down the little lane, parked in her spot, no other cars were there, and I was half relieved, half disappointed. The drive and garden were lush and verdant in the rain, the place felt green and rich and well looked after. And the owner was there, a man I'd talked to after he bought the house, who'd been interested in my mother and who she was and the history of the house.

He was pleasantly happy to ask me in, and eager to show me all the renovations he'd done, building on a whole extra section, two stories up. The whole place looked gorgeous, just as she would have liked it. He'd kept the style just the same, the extension looked very organic and just right. The older portion of the house felt and looked the same, but clean and fresh, rejuvenated. He'd kept a painting my mother had bought from the previous owner, and felt very connected to my mother too. It was a nice little touch. He said they were happy there, that it had a good feeling, and that they weren't remotely bothered that she had died there. They were happy to have her, if she was there.

He showed me how he'd cut the tree tops, and they now had a sea view. Said they never even notice the apartments ;)

Leaving, left feeling a weight lifted from my heart. I can stop averting my gaze from it now, I don't have to feel like it's an emotional elephant of grief in the corner waiting for me. I felt emotional, having visited, but positive too.

16 comments:

problemchildbride said...

I'm glad the visit brought a little catharsis. Mourning never quite ends, does it?

jothemama said...

Nope... still cried writing the post :(

Tinman18 said...

Well done, Jo, and I'm glad it all worked out well. You're very lucky with the new owner.

I still will go on amazing detours to avoid driving past Baggot Street Hospital, where I weant to visit my mother every day for 4 months before she died, and that was 21 years ago.

jothemama said...

Yeah, I don't know, there must be a way to erase those, um, psychic emanations of place. I still have to mentally go LA LA LA each time I see an ambulance... and to a certain extent, anything to do with weddings. And Holles st gives me the shudders even though I didn't actually give birth there.

morgor said...

Good stuff.

That's the best way to get over things, just grab the bull by the horns. It's never as bad as you fear.

Like a friend of mine who was very squeamish about blood, got a job in a slaughterhouse for the summer.

Needless to say, it worked.

Selina Kyle said...

such a beautiful post, made me cry. it's good to feel emotions, it's good to mourn, it's natural. i'm glad you also feel somewhat relieved after you did that, and i hope you start feeling a bit better each day

tatoca

jothemama said...

Thanks tatoca (Selina Kyle? Catwoman? Cool!).

It's six years now, it really is better - but some stuff still lingers, like Tinman says...

Darren said...

Jo, a truly beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.

@Selina Is that your real name? Cool!

Lottie said...

It's good to know the new owner has such respect for the houses history. It means there will always be something of your mum there.

How did you like my part of the country. You were only a few feet from my door I have a feeling the "apartments" the man referred to is where I live.

jothemama said...

That's right Lottie. Sure I was hanging out in greystones while you were, em, still in nappies, perhaps!

Lottie said...

@jothemama -shush -that's private.

jothemama said...

Which bit? Darren is very forthcoming on the blogosphere, you know ;)I wouldn't reveal anything he hasn't.

And we all wore nappies at some point!

Darren said...

I'm beginning to think there's things even I don't know about that Lottie one.

jothemama said...

Well, it's far too late for me, but I definitely preserving mystery is a woman's friend.

Rechru said...

This was lovely to read, thank you for sharing it. It sounds like a massive leap for you to have made. I hope it brings you more comfort now.

PĂ©itseoga said...

it sounds like this has been a good visit for you.