I had randomly picked a date in the middle of October for the move. The removal company were very cool in that they said I could change this if I needed to. I suppose they are well used to what can go wrong with house sales.
I started packing up 24 years of my life. Luckily the house was not being sold as it was what I called “an ancestral pile” so I could leave my daughter’s room intact. She who was off globetrotting seemingly having forgotten to come back. I should add that to get to this point I had loaded up 10 full carloads and taken her stuff to the local charity shop. From boarding school to university in Manchester, to working in Manchester and every time she relocated she had pawned all her tatt off on me, stored in what was called the office.
My son had moved down the road to his new place but nonetheless I had to sort all his tatt as well and separated it from some of my stuff in his old room.
I spent days sorting through stuff, dumping stuff and reminiscing. Looking at old photos of my kids, of a lifetime spent in this old house that their ancestors had also grown up in. I loved the house and every now and again I felt a deep pang of sadness and wondered if I was doing the right thing.
Then there were mutterings about weather warnings and the tail end of a hurricane. Initially the warnings were status yellow but finally turned to red. We were bracing ourselves for Armageddon.
Hurricane Ophelia was en route across the Atlantic. I wondered about the removal company and was thinking I better ring them to check. However, all that went out the window when I got phone calls that dad wasn’t well and it wasn’t looking good. I have to tell you that we in the family referred to dad as Lazarus. I wasn’t unduly worried. He always seemed to come back from the dead. And briefly it looked as if this time was to be no different. But late on the Sunday evening my brother rang to say he had gone downhill again. I rang my son who immediately offered to drive me to Bray where he was in a nursing home.
We stayed with him until midnight but there was no change so we left. I was back the next day Sunday. This time he wasn’t going to arise and Hurricane Ophelia wasn’t going to do a u-turn. I had a mobile number from someone in the removal company who had rung the previous Friday to see if it was going ahead. I sent the number a text to say I had to cancel the move. It later transpired that they wouldn’t have worked that day due to the status red alert anyway as they wouldn’t be covered by insurance.
My daughter’s birthday is the 17th of October and I prayed dad wouldn’t die on it. She was in Australia but we kept her updated using Facebook Messenger.
Dad died on the 18th of October.