She had bought and sold several properties in her lifetime. This time, it was different.
Perhaps the biggest move was coming from overseas to Manitoba, Canada. She recalls the move up to Thompson and back – that sale was a nightmare.
Then there was the time she moved alone from the country into town, where she had felt very pressured by her agent. She would choose an agent carefully this time.
This was the last time.
The Realtor arrived on time at the assisted living facility that was now her home. This particular morning however, as a result of pain and stiffness, it was taking awhile for the health care aid to get her dressed.
As a child, she had been taught to be a gracious hostess. She had entertained many people in her own home. Proper etiquette was something she expected of herself.
This day, she wasn’t able to greet the Realtor at the door. She wouldn’t even be able to offer her a cup of tea.
As she made her way from the bedroom to the living room, she looked up from the wheelchair to meet her Realtor for the first time. She felt like she already knew her through her writings. They had enjoyed several telephone conversations over the past few weeks.
“You are a beautiful woman,” she said as her hands went up to sweep the fly-away hair from her face. Her ponytail was loose and she had not been able to groom her hair in a while.
She was self-conscious about her dishevelled appearance. The woman she saw in the mirror that morning was quite different from the impeccably groomed style she had once presented.
Gone were the days of elaborate gowns and fancy hats. She had a large collection of dramatic hats. Those hats displayed her pride in her English heritage. This day her gown was a robe.
This aging lady was clearly a woman of class and elegance. The robe and wheelchair did not disguise her beauty.
In her distinct English accent, she asked the agent a lot of questions. They viewed properties on the laptop together and she became well informed of the market value of the home that she had been forced to leave. It was not as high as she had hoped, but she made the choice to list her property.
She was not at home to witness the for sale sign go up on her property.
Some of her belongings were being packed and moved into the garage. There were family heirlooms and antiques that would not be following her into her next home. She had an appreciation for beautiful things. What would become of all these things, she wondered.
The month that followed was challenging. Since the death of her husband she had been a very independent woman. She didn’t like to ask for help. Now this unrelenting pain had her at the mercy of others. She said goodbye to the small room in the villa and was transported back to the hospital.
She worried about how her daughters would handle all the arrangements of the move. These beautiful women had busy lives and she was feeling like a burden to them. That was the worst part.
Then came the offer. If she signed those papers she would be faced with the brutal realization that she was never going to go back home. She would never again play in the gardens that she had planted. She would never sit on that deck to watch the sunset over the view of the park.
The buyer had allowed for a day’s wait before she needed to respond to the offer. She needed that time. She needed to be alone with her thoughts.
She gathered up some strength overnight. Perhaps the Realtor’s silent prayer had seen her through the anguish of emotions that came from letting go. She signed the contract. The house was sold.
With a worried look on her face she clasped her daughter’s hand and asked, “How are you going to manage getting everything moved so quickly?”
“Don’t worry about it Mom, I’ll take care of it,” her baby said as she leaned toward her on the hospital bed. They were comforting, reassuring words. At least, that’s how they were delivered.
She bit her tongue and tried to keep her lips from trembling. As a third person in the room, the Realtor observed a million words between mother and daughter that were never spoken.
As she awaits being transferred to a nursing home, she spends her time thinking about the life she has lived, the memories she has made and the inevitable truth that like 100 per cent of others, one day this life will end.
Perhaps she will make new friends in the nursing home and have much laughter over the next season of her life. Perhaps the pain will subside and she will go for walks this summer. For now, let her grieve a little. She is saying good-bye to more than just a house.