I am going to England.
I am going to see my beautiful daughter and 3 of her beautiful children.
I am going to help my daughter move out of the house she has lived in for 25 years. We will clean and sort and pack. She will make painful decisions about what things to eliminate from her life.
I first came to that house a couple of months after she moved in. I was there for the first visit of the village vicar. I saw my son-in-law install carpet. My now grown-up granddaughter was a nursing infant.
Over the years I have watched the house and the village change. The kitchen has been redone, the dining room reconfigured, windows replaced, heating system modernized, bathrooms added. The house next door used to be the village shop and post office. Now it is a private home and the village has no shop and no post office. A new street has been added with pleasant modern houses that blend well with the thatched roofs and rose covered stone walls. People I knew and liked in the village have died and children have grown up. But much remains the same. This is most likely the last time I will see it.
I have helped with many changes to the garden, from planting flower beds to creating a rock garden and laying a walk. I have weeded, planted, pruned and admired as trees, shrubs and flowers grew. My daughter and I have shopped at the Garden Center for plants, lanterns, candles, and a chiminea for evening warmth. We have taken car loads of leaves, weeds and clippings to the tip. There are so many memories, and I will say goodbye.
My daughter and I will talk a lot. We will drink wine together. She will help me shed a few pounds. She is entirely disciplined about eating. A little less so about wine, but then, we drink red, and it makes you live longer. I’m sticking to that position.
I will leave my dogs, my cat, my tomatoes and my flowers in Jerry’s care. I know he will watch over them diligently. He will keep the animals’ routines conscientiously and do the watering right. Every morning when I wake up I think about how lucky I am. In my old age I have married a man who is always sweet, and extra nice to me when I am going away because he knows he will miss me. And he will be nice to me when I get home because he will be glad to see me.
I am looking forward to seeing that pretty house and village one last time. I will be sad to let it recede into the past. And then I will be happy to greet my husband and my dogs and my cat and my tomatoes and flowers.
I am a lucky woman.