This old house

I’m spending so much time in my childhood house these days as I care for mum, that it has that old familiar feel. I’m not the random visitor of that last 20 years, leaving my breath on the window pane on my way out. Instead, I leave my imprint in the bed, my things accumulating in bedside drawers and wardrobes once again.
As my mum lies in her dining-room-converted bedroom, I wander the rooms of my adolescence and remember the memories. Fights, laughs, chats. The front door opening and closing a thousand times as I went to and from school. The hours I spent standing in the hallway talking on the phone to friends and shy first boyfriends. The whispers my bedroom walls heard as I revised for exams, wrote secrets in my diary, gazed beyond my horizon and imagined my life ahead. Hours spent beside my mum, licking baking bowl spoons in the kitchen, sitting beside her on the sofa learning the lessons of my life.
These walls housed many family sagas before our own. When we moved here I wandered about then, touchng the walls and trying to listen to the whispers of other people’s stories. Now I sit with my mum and go through old photos…. black and white characters no longer filled with the colour of life. Long lives, long lived, but over now. Now they are the ageless faces in aged albums. Like the people who once lived in this house.
And as our family sage comes slowly slowly to an end, I cannot help but wonder who will live here next. What fights, laughter, chats, hopes, dreams, heartache, pain, love will fill these walls.  But for now, we must still fill this hosue with the noise of our family. Until those memories too drain of colour.
Replaced in brick, but never in hearts.

About Grin & Tonic by Alana Kirk

Bouncing into middle age armed with courage, ambition and a pair of tweezers (chin hairs for anyone over the age of 45 reading this) I am a writer with a mission: to redefine this midway point in my life when the last thing I want to do is hang up my high heels and become invisible. This is the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. A single mum to 3 fabulous girls, an author, and a fundraising consultant, both ends of my candle are on fire. As I enter this new stage of my life, I want to explore what it means for 'mid-aged' women today, who were promised they could have it all, ended up doing it all, and just do not identify with the traditional image of middle age.
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2 Responses to This old house

  1. Oh Alana, another beautiful piece of writing. Your words always shoot straight to the heart, you describe life so eloquently.
    I often get that sense of nostalgia when I visit my parents also. It's a funny feeling, remembering all of those memories, all of those years spent together in their house and garden. Parts of it have changed, but others haven't changed a bit. And I know that one day, when it's no longer there for me to visit, I'll be heart broken. I don't like to think about that too much.
    Hope you're doing as well as can be expected xoxo


  2. cath c says:

    it has been my privilege to read what you have gone through in this time since before you were pregnant with the baby, and the joy of her mingling with the trauma and heartache of your mother's stroke and after care.

    thank you. how lovely to be so present with your mother on mother's day, and moreso at this stage.


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