Today marks 7 years since I signed the lease and picked up the keys to the flat I currently live in. I can remember that day 7 years ago as if it were yesterday.
I started the day waking up at my parents house having spent the weekend with them. I got up, had breakfast, packed up my car, said goodbye to Mum and Dad and drove down here to West Sussex to sign for the keys and empty what I had with me in the car into my new home. I then had to drive back to my old home in Devon to be ready for the following morning when a van and several men were turning up to move the rest of my stuff. I did a lot of driving that day – nearly 400 miles in total. Knowing it was going to be a long day of driving I was keen to get going in the morning as soon as rush hour was over. With hindsight I wish I hadn’t.
Unbeknown to me (or him) at the time – that morning was the last time I saw my Dad in person. He died, quite suddenly and unexpectedly, just over a month later. If I’d have known that I’d have stayed longer. I’d have said so many things to him. Things I hope he knew anyway. But I’d have told him just to be sure.
I often wonder what my Dad would have made of what I’ve done with my life in the years since he’s been gone. I think he’d have questioned my sanity at times, and rightly so to be fair, but I hope he’d be pleased and proud.
My Dad never got to visit me here (my parents were due to visit me on the Friday – but Dad died on the Tuesday evening) – but I think that he would have liked it. I can imagine he’d be perfectly content to be sat by the river or along the sea front just watching the world go by. There are a couple of kingfishers who live on the river. Whenever I see them it feels like they’re his spirit coming to check up on me.
Since heading off to university back in 1997 I’ve moved 20 times. Other than the family home growing up, where my Mum still is, this is the longest I’ve lived in one place. The temptation to up sticks and move somewhere else keeps coming up and there are several places that call to my heart – but, until they call a little louder, I’ll stay here a little longer.
Be sure to tell those who you love that you do. Be sure they know. Because tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.