I suppose I can type this now, without fear of reprisals from The Fates. We have sold Our Ma's house.
Contracts were exchanged this morning, and the completion date is set for the 30 June. The Family will move out of the house that they - and only they - have occupied since it was built in 1956. We (the three remaining fit and filthy Family Members living hereabouts) will have to go though all the stuff and things amassed there since the family took occupancy fifty-five years ago, acquiring the keys off the council when my sister-in-law was not even yet walking and The Husband's arrival was imminent. There are only fourteen months between Our Ma's babies, her Pigeon Pair. Both still live locally, which is a boon at such a time. We will be sifting through objets d'art, papers, photos, clothes, knick-knacks, tools, playthings, and sundry detritus from not only the past fifty-five years, but family articles inherited and acquired from earlier generations as well. Everything from pots and pans to furs and family silver, with a hundred types of item in between.
Once we have taken away anything of lasting or sentimental value the professional house-clearing company will be called upon to do the rest, leaving the house empty of the family identity, but for decorative style and built-in shelves and such, ready for the next owners to take possession and do with it what they see fit.
The house was bought for cash in the early eighties when Thatcherism deemed the country needed far more owner-occupiers and fewer council tenants, not long after legislation was introduced to make such changes of ownership possible. I suspect this was achieved with a mixture of savings and family money either given or inherited, so there was never a mortgage. Our Ma and her husband went from being council tenants to outright owners overnight. And now Our Ma goes from being owner-occupier to care home resident, so she is again renting, as it were.
And the babies she fed in the kitchen, dandled in the sitting room and soothed to sleep in the bedrooms will be responsible for all this while she has her every need attended to elsewhere, because that's how it is when child and parent swap places. It's a gradual tipping of the balance of life, the most natural thing one can imagine, when one has a family member in her nineties. Some middle-aged people find it very hard, and resent it, when the onus falls on them, but I think The Husband feels it is a privilege to do so much for one of the people who once did so much for him.
And I have yet another reason to love him.