Osborne Road: A chapter closes
Two days from now we will, for the last time, close the doors of our home in Osborne Road. A new and exciting chapter in our lives is beginning, full of hope and possibility. But for now it is a time of saying goodbye, of reflecting on all that has passed in these past 12 years, and of closing the chapter of this phase of my life.
It has been a good 12 years: years of love and joy, and the warmth of family life; years of energy and achievement; years, too, of hardship and struggles, sorrow and grief. Nevertheless, they have been good years.
As I wander through the house, memories pop up – some expected, others catching me by surprise.
In Joe’s room, rainbow-painted, now empty and still, I think with pride of my amazing son. I feel the crushing warmth of his hugs each time we meet. I remember the early morning walks to Manor Park School; I hear his first squeaky attempts to learn the tenor horn, his wonderful recitals of excerpts from Shakespeare and the Lord of the Rings (masterfully delivered in a Star Wars style). I can smile now at the memory of coming upstairs to find his bunk bed ladder protruding through his bedroom door after one particularly frustrated tantrum. And I duck, once more, under his pull-up bar – a last reminder of all his circus skills and his incredible unicycle ride.
I sit on Esther’s cast-iron bed thinking of all her friendships and fall-outs; of long, giggly sleep-overs, playing bop-it into the night; of the anguishes of being a teenage girl. I feel a deep surge of love as I think of all the heart-felt conversations we’ve had, and the depth of emotion I felt seeing her in her wedding dress.
My own room carries the strongest emotions. The bed I’ve shared with Helen and now with Lois. That same bed where I’ve lain in anguish in the dark of the night, or watched the Eastern sky brighten through tear-filled eyes. The serenity of a little painting – a lone figure walking through a gentle, shadowed wood.
I come to our spare rooms – rooms which have seen so many good friends. Housemates and visitors from around the world. People who have shared something of our lives. Too many to mention, but each someone who has brought their own unique blessing.
In the lounge I think of cosy evenings by the fire; of gatherings with friends, shared bottles of wine. I reflect on deep conversations with Lois, as we share our dreams and wonder at our blessings. I think of our Holy Trinity community – of all the love and support of so many friends; people who have shared our joy and our tears. Those memories continue as I move to the kitchen and recall shared meals, cups of coffee and lively celebrations. Family games of Settlers and Scrabble.
And so to the last room, to sit at my desk. A place of inspiration as I look out on the garden in the morning sun. I hear Esther and now Lois playing the piano. I wrap my arms around Helen’s shoulders as she sits at her desk engrossed in her work. I sit, silent, in my little ‘chapel’, my haven of peace at the start of each day. And I wander into the garden, where children and teenagers alike would bounce on the trampoline, or swing and climb on the climbing frame, now an empty skeleton, holding its memories. I see Neo tearing down the garden in chase of squirrels, or with Trinity as puppies scrabbling and bouncing on the grass.
The memories are good. They sit comfortably as part of who I am. This has been a good home and 12 good years.
I have said my goodbyes and I’m ready to move on, into this next inspiring chapter.