My dad's house

(18 Posts)
madasa Tue 18-Sep-12 17:18:25

My dear dad died last October.

There have been a hundred and one things to deal with, most of which have fallen on my shoulders.

When he first died I would go to his house in the middle of the night to sleep in his bed to try to feel close to him....but he's not there...I realise that's just a house.

I have not been able to go there for the last two months as it is too DP has dealt with anything that needed doing.

His house has been on the market and we have been close to exchanging contracts for a week or two now. I have been so worried about the sale of the house falling through.

Why then when I have just come home to an e-mail saying contracts have been exchanged do I feel so desperately sad?

OP’s posts: |
Hopeforever Tue 18-Sep-12 17:48:36

What a difficult time for you! It's hard saying goodbye to your dad but his home is a link with him and a place for many memories. Selling it, knowing other people will be living in it with their belongings is a massive step even though you've not been there recently.

Give yourself time and don't expect too much of yourself. It's OK to feel this way

TimeForCake Thu 20-Sep-12 17:40:29

I have just been through a very similar thing, but with my mum's house - our family home. I'm sorry you are going through it too. It is so desperately sad and I feel the same way. Somehow we got through the clearing stage, which is hard enough, and then when the time came to complete the sale, shutting that front door and walking away for the last time... well, it was incredibly hard and I cried a lot. But, deep down, i know selling was the best thing to do. It has gone back to being a family house and I have all my memories. I try and convince myself that it is just a house and that I haven 't left mum behind. It's difficult though. In the long run, it does mean that we can all move on I suppose. If your Dad's house were to stand empty, it would be very vulnerable and cause extra worry and stress for you. I know this because we left it a couple of years before selling, for various reasons. But, it's hard to disguise an empty house - the garden grows, the post piles up and lights need organising. Mum's was broken into which just added to our sadness.
I do hope that you are able to cope with the rest of the sale. Good luck.

answers Thu 20-Sep-12 19:22:46

This was my situation two years ago ... my mum's house stayed empty for over a year whilst the sale went through - and then the day when I put the keys through the door for the last time and it became someone else's ... I thought my heart would break ..... but I spoke to her old neighbour and she told me all about how the new owners have made it their own and that they love it like she did .... I drive past it every now and then and when I go past the top of her street I still look to see if her car is there (even though I am driving it now smile ) ... it does get easier I promise you ... hugs at this difficult time ..xoxox

madasa Fri 21-Sep-12 23:08:01

Thank you for your kind replies.

Sorry that some of you have been in the same is heart breaking. I think I have taken the last couple of days to sort it in my head.

That must have been devastating to have your mum's house broken into timeforcake.

answers i don't have to visit to put keys through the door, I dropped them with the estate agent last weekend. That must have been so hard for you.

A letter has also come through to say dad's estate finalised at long last, completion is scheduled for next Friday.I am going on holiday tomorrow for a week so by the time I come home it will all be over.

Thankyou hopeforever for reminding me that it's ok to feel this way....I think I had forgotten that

OP’s posts: |
ssd Fri 21-Sep-12 23:27:04

my mum died 2 weeks ago

she lived in a council house and I need to hand in the keys in 2 weeks time

I'm clearing it out myself, everything has fallen to me

I'm finding it extremely tough, its totally heart breaking

for me, she was the only link to my past I have here

I feel like half my life has been swiped away

Dramajustfollowsme Sat 22-Sep-12 03:13:35

I've just gone through this with my mum's house, our family home. sad I used to love just going to her bedroom where the smell of her perfume and hairspray lingered and made me feel she was still there.
Going round the empty shell with so many memories was so, so hard.
2 months on and I had to go back to the town for a dental appointment, still have nhs dentist in the town, it was really odd not to pop in to the house. I had to keep reminding myself not to drive there.
I have lots of keep sakes. Although the majority of the money from her estate has been used sensibly, i have bought a new piano. Everytime I look at it, I think of mum and it makes me smile.

madasa Sat 22-Sep-12 06:37:11

Oh ssd that is so there no one you could ask to support you? (I guess not or you would gave done so)

To be on a time limit like that must make it even harder. Please take care of yourself x

Dramajustfollows me.....the piano sounds like a lovely idea. I'm sure your mum would smile too.

I have made a memory box for keepsakes.....driving licence, cards, bookmark, cigarette papers....all sorts of daft things.

I f I don't reply to any more on this thread , it's not me being rude....I am off on holiday as soon as I can get myself out of this bed.

OP’s posts: |
ssd Sat 22-Sep-12 08:34:07

enjoy your holiday!

I'm in the processof making up a box, but I've already thrown out some things I could have kept

TBH theres just so much I could keep and of course I have limited space, its hard to know what to do, split second decisions are regretted later but its too late by then

I have had offers to help me, friends have been really nice, but its a job I dont want to do but done want anyone else to do

like drama, there are so many meories in my home town, as well as shops I used/banks/dentist/library, I just kept using them as they were there when I visited mum every week

now when I hand in her keys I cant imagine never going to them again, she live about 25 mins away, so close enough but not somewhere I'd pop to if mum wasnt there

its really is a massive loss I couldnt have imagined how huge it would be

TimeForCake Sat 22-Sep-12 18:52:44

A well timed holiday, madasa. I hope you manage to relax.

Ssd, I too got rid of things I could have kept and have worried about it since. But short of keeping absolutely everything, some things have to be parted with. I did lots and lots of charity donations which eased the pain a little - the thought that someone else would use / enjoy / benefit helped.
In a strange way, it has made me want to declutter my house a bit too. And I am also trying to hoard things less and not be overly sentimental about my own possessions. I'm sure our Mums wouldn't want us agonising over things we should have kept.
I haven't gone past Mum's house yet and I don't plan to for a while, much as I want to. I know how upset I'd get to see any changes made, even though that's obviously what you do when you move into a new house!
I am able to go into the town now, though still think about what I'd be doing if things were different.

So tough isn't it? Sending you all strength.

nananaps Sat 22-Sep-12 18:57:19

12 years on i still want to go round and tell the people that bought the house that i grew up in to get out sad

i still have the old key on my key ring sad

Its so very hard and sad. brew

ssd Sun 23-Sep-12 21:12:04

it is tough and unbearable sometimes

Rolf Sun 23-Sep-12 21:31:36

I'm sorry to read about all these losses and sadness, but it's a comfort to know that there are other people out there going through the same thing. My lovely Dad died 4 months ago and my brother and I are dealing with his house. It was broken into a few weeks after his death, and since then I've been frightened to be there on my own. The police thought the burglars had been watching us and I can't help thinking about that whenever I go in.

Over the last few years, Dad hadn't been able to cope with the house and ended up living in squalour. He wouldn't let anyone in as he was so ashamed, and in the end we had to break in to find him very close to death. So although the house has some very happy family memories, my more recent memories are very sad ones.

We've cleared out the worst of the mess but are still dealing with furniture and various bits and pieces. The house is very delapidated so we're not sure what to do about whether we should sell it as it is, or do it up before selling it. It's all so wrapped up in sadness and guilt that we aren't in a very good place for making decisions. As someone said earlier in the thread, an empty house looks so sad and so vulnerable. The wiring has been condemned so we can't even heat it, and it feels and smells more unwelcoming every time we go in.

TimeForCake Mon 24-Sep-12 11:15:07

Rolf, I'm sorry for your loss and the situation you are in. I know that having the house broken in to just adds to the awfulness. When it happened to us, the police said that they would include mum's road in their walks/ patrols. Is that an option for you?
Do you have any friends/ family who are or know an estate agent that you could ask advice from re: making improvements to the house or not? Perhaps once you have taken out your precious memories, you could get the house cleared professionally? If it is delapidated, it is going to be so hard for you to keep going back and know where on earth to start. Maybe the house is just what someone is looking for - plenty of people relish a project when they buy property.
Big items like furniture can always be collected by charities.
Emotionally though, I understand exactly what you are going through and I think until you have been there, it's so hard to understand. It took me quite some time to be able to go to mum's house without feeling totally overwhelmed with sadness. You are still in the very early stages of grief, try to give yourself a little time to gather your thoughts. In time, I hope your happy memories which seem distant now, will come back and bring you comfort.

Rolf Mon 24-Sep-12 14:35:37

TimeforCake thanks for your lovely post smile. Yes, the police and neighbours are keeping an eye on the house, and it's v near where I live so I go past it most days, too. We've had someone from a charity shop round, and they will be able to take most of the stuff that we don't want, which I'm very pleased about. It's true recycling as lots of the clutter was stuff Dad bought from charity shops after Mum died grin.

We've spoken to a few estate agents and had the house valued, and it seems just as you say - that selling it as it is will be the best way forward. Poor Dad was so ashamed of it that it's taking us a while to get our heads round the thought of letting people see it like this. We'll get some cleaning done but without electricity we are quite limited, unless we get the electrician to rig up something temporarily. I really want to be able to think of Dad as he was before things got like this, and whilst we did try to help him there is still a strong element of guilt that I could have done more and been more patient. It's hard to know how much that is a reasonable feeling and I have to come to terms with my own failings, and how much is just a natural part of bereavement.

Do you have to go past your Mum's house? I'd like to see Dad's house filled with a happy family again, but I hate the thought of people doing it up thinking "poor old bloke" or "how could anyone have lived with this?".

TimeForCake Mon 01-Oct-12 11:25:34

Hi Rolf, sorry for the delay in replying. Although it's tough, you do sound like you are making progress with things. I completely understand how you feel about what others may or may not think when they look round your Dad's house. When we started clearing, we made lots of mess as we seemed to get things out, then didn't know what to do with them and then moved onto a different cupboard/ shelf/ room. All of a sudden, we had a few people interested in looking round and we were in chaos. I was so embarrassed, knowing that Mum would have been mortified at the thought of anyone coming round. When the police came round after the break in, we too had some electrical problems & only a few lights worked. If I'm honest, although the burglars made a mess, I had to keep apologising that some of the mess was our doing!
Do you know what though? When we decide to move and I next look round a house, I shan't judge for one minute if it's messy. You and I both know that mess doesn't always mean slovenly or lazy. I'm sure most people will completely sympathise.
I don't have to go past mum's, no. I could, very easily. But I'm not ready yet. Although I am pleased a new family are there, I would be upset and irrationally offended to see any work they may or may not be doing to the house! Silly, I know.
I hope things get a little easier for you with the viewings and future sale. You're doing the right thing, I'm sure. Good luck.

madasa Tue 02-Oct-12 08:06:14

Rolf I'm sorry for your loss and can't begin to imagine how you must feel with added stress of a break in.

Going through my dad's things and having to sell our family home was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel now...the completion came through on the last day of our holiday. Yesterday I phoned all the utilities etc. and closed the accounts so there are no more practical things to be done.

I feel I can concentrate now on my memories of my dad.

We had a firm come in and clear the house and garage after we had taken what we wanted (that sounds awful but I don't mean it to blush )They paid us a small amount for the furniture but to be honest I would have paid them just to do the job.

Rolf I agree with TimeForCake in that your dad's house will be perfect for someone.

I think it is hard to even begin to deal with your emotions when you are having to deal with the house etc. You will get through it though. I found some days all I could do was literally put one foot in front of the other...I couldn't even think straight.

My sister left everything and I mean everything to me and last night was ranting for 20 minutes about how she was going to write a letter of complaint to the solicitor as he was a bit lax sometimes...ermm not sure where she was when letters of complaint did need to be written hmm

I keep a photo of my dad looking well and happy on my mantelpiece, it helps to displace the pictures I have in my head of his last days.

Sending strength and hugs to all of you that are having to go through this x

OP’s posts: |
TimeForCake Tue 02-Oct-12 09:55:28

I echo all your thoughts madasa. I too have one of my favourite pictures of my mum out, from my wedding day, and she looks so pretty and full of happiness.

You are absolutely right when you say you can now concentrate on your memories.
Somehow or other, this whole horrid process has made me realise that I do have an inner strength from somewhere - my mum I think! Don't get me wrong, I've cried, sobbed and collapsed in many a little heap, but i'm making it through, tiny steps at a time mostly. And so is everyone on this thread. We shouldn't underestimate the toll it's taken or how well we have done. (That doesn't sound right & I don't want to be self congratulatory at all, but hopefully you know what I mean blush ).

Thinking of you all.

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