Well I’ve done it! I’ve put the house on the market. The house Andrew and I lovingly worked on to create our family home.
I remember when we first looked round and fell in love with the grandeur of it all. For Andrew it made a statement of how well he was providing for his family. It really was his pride and joy.
However now there are jobs that need doing that have become a burden. There are rooms I never enter on a daily basis. The house is a drain on my time, energy and resources.
Of course there are people who will be horrified at me making such a huge decision barely six months after Andrew died. But then I have come to realise there will always be some people who disagree with anything I do. I have to do what’s best for me and the children. We have talked it through and between us we feel we are doing what’s right.
At the moment we live a couple of miles away from school, church, our friends and most of the things we are involved in. I can only see our lives improving by being in the centre of all we do. I long to have several days in a row of not needing the car. I dream of the boys having more freedom with less reliance on mum’s taxi service.
A change of address will see my life being simpler, hopefully with less stress. Although I’m not naïve enough to think it will solve all my problems. There will always be a gaping hole where Andrew once was and I know in some ways it will be a real wrench to leave this special place we shared together.
I remember clearly moving house last time.
Andrew had a self-build house when we married. He had painstakingly chosen the bricks and mortar and joyfully watched it grow from the deep foundations being dug to the final ridge tile being fitted. He always said when we married that he wished I had been around in those days so we could have made choices together.
Inside it was all painted magnolia because by the decorating stage he was sick of making decisions plus there was the added bonus that a big tub of magnolia paint was cheaper than many smaller tins of individual colours.
Now I am not a magnolia person. I love colour. Slowly and surely after we married we decorated every room. Turning what was a beautiful split level individually designed house into our family home.
I fondly remember our first wall papering experience as we decorated what became the nursery in teddy bear wall paper. I relished painting our bedroom lilac with daisies stencilled round the top. Then there was my finest achievement re-creating a picture of Kipper the dog with his sandcastle (by Mick Inkpen) on the wall in the boy’s bathroom. I projected the image onto the wall using the church overhead projector and spent a happy afternoon painting. How I wish I had taken a picture of my handiwork!
One of the last jobs we completed was the hall, landing, staircase and lounge. This whole area was open plan so all needed to all be done together. We chose a vibrant golden yellow colour, or rather I chose and Andrew consented. Then alongside a friend, who was a painter and decorator, he worked to once and for all banish the drab magnolia.
The house was complete and we were happy and settled…
Until about a year later when we spotted our current home on the market and wondered if we could stretch our finances. Once we had it in our sights we did all we could to realise our new dream and move another rung up the property ladder.
Yes Andrew was sorry to leave behind what he had achieved but we looked forward to the next chapter in our family history and the new challenges that lay ahead.
We have done lots to this house. Built up into the loft, added a bathroom, loads of decorating and had the entire roof re-slated.
One of the last things we did early last year was redecorate the hall, stairs and landing! After the last lick of Dusted Fondant paint was on the walls I sensed that we wouldn’t be staying here much longer.
When we moved in I asked the previous occupants to leave the nails and picture hooks up so we could easily hang our pictures and immediately make the place feel like our home. Photos of the boys were placed going up the stairs so you could see how they had grown with every step. When we decorated all the photos came down but because of my feeling we would soon move we never got round to putting them back up.
The only exception was our wedding photo at the bottom of the stairs which went up for everyone to see after the funeral.
So to anyone who thinks my decisions are rash and hasty you need to know that this was always somewhere in my plans. And something Andrew and I had considered together.
To be honest if Andrew were still alive we’d have probably stayed, eventually put the photos back up and got on with the next project. Moving house was more my dream than his.
It is a big step but one we need to take to face the new challenges of the next chapter of our lives without Andrew.