So the family home is having an open for inspection for the first time today. It's wierd being able to look up your family home on the internet and see it listed amongst the other properties for sale. It's an empty house now, clean and with the garden done - now just a few things in the cupboard and a few things left in the garage for dad and I to deal with. The Auction is in 4 weeks (presuming we don't sell beforehand). In so many ways, it's the end of an era. Even though mum and dad were separated for 10 years and in a sense I left home at 13 (when I went to boarding school) and all sorts of other things - there really has been a strong family unit sense in many ways. It's bizarre but the actual selling of the family home is in many ways for me the end of that family unit. Mum's death was, but in so many ways this is more so for me. It really is a symbol of the family unit as such being finished. There continues to be dad and I - and my commitment to him is higher than ever - however, there is a sense in which that is two adults who are profoundly connected, rather than in the sense of a family unit - it's hard to put this stuff into words often.
However I word it - something profound is ending for me in the selling of this house. It's not selling mum's house, it's selling our house and in the selling of "our" house, "our" is no longer. It's not a bad thing - in fact I think quite good and healthy, however, real and as an ending, grief is involved. We have owned this house for 20 years - of those years I personally only lived in it for 5 years and even then in much of that time I was hardly there (while I was at uni I spent much time at friends houses). However, those 5 years were over 3 different times of living there and for 16 of those years at least mum has lived there. Also, much of my stuff has been in and out of there numerous times and it's only now over recent months that my last stuff has left the house. There is a sense in which it has still been "my" house and that will end with the sale and subsequent settlement.
"Our" family homes have always been important to me and apart from this one there is only one which I can in any way get to in any normal way - and that's the one from the first 3 years of my life in Richmond NSW - it is still there (or was last time I visited it and the street anyway!). However, the base family home from my primary school years has units on the property now (Westmead, NSW) and our two houses 2 doors apart on Groote Eylandt are a little hard to get to on a regular basis (although I do plan to go there this year).
There is a sense in which this is all the end of "our" family unit. Profound, real, grief-filled yet good, freeing and a real ability to move on all mixed together.