« The Tale Of Toby Russell Rhodes | Main | Sola Denouement »

Life Is Too Short To Drink Bad Wine: 62 - Final Arrangements

…One day when Mark was home alone, the Auckland estate agent phoned to say that the price we had wanted had been offered. Mark, with all his twelve year old aplomb, accepted on our behalf. When we arrived home, he announced “Your house is sold”…

The Woodwards prepare for the big move to another city.

To read earlier chapters of Gayle Woodward's engaging story about family life in New Zealand click on Life Is Too Short To Drink Bad Wine in the menu on this page.

We flew back home and tried to sell the new house to the kids. We tried to warn them that the decoration in the house was rather old and mirrored a 70’s house with the shag pile carpet and dark wallpaper. They could not think past the pool and spa.

House movers traipsed through our Upper Hutt house making notes and counting. Offers for the old house in Auckland came by phone. Woody held out for better offers, a skill which I did not possess. One day when Mark was home alone, the Auckland estate agent phoned to say that the price we had wanted had been offered. Mark, with all his twelve year old aplomb, accepted on our behalf. When we arrived home, he announced “Your house is sold”.

Mum’s troublesome leg was beginning to feel numb at times and she got more periods of weakness. She was finally sent to a neurologist for tests. It was shocking for all of us when she finally received a diagnosis. She was in the early stages of Motor Neurone Disease and, most cruelly, was told that this, until now unknown to us, disease was terminal and that she had three years of life, at the best prognosis, left.

I really could not believe this. I tried to feel empathy for her but I simply could not imagine my life without Mum in it. I did not want to think about it. It was all about me. Too painful, therefore I determined to be busy and too engaged in my moving preparations to be able to think about it.

The children did not seem to accept the seriousness of Nana’s illness. How could she be sick? She had been full of vigour and ideas for fun when last they had seen her. They came to the conclusion that probably she would get better.

Our insurance company would give us a mortgage. The $40,000 which we had to borrow to pay for this $ 132,000 house would have to be paid back in 15 years. It seemed a huge and worrying undertaking. In 1986, this seemingly huge amount would also be Woody’s annual salary.

He talked to Dad and family friends who told him there was nothing to worry about. They all mentored him that he was entering the period of his biggest salary in the years to come and that in a few years the mortgage would seem easily attainable. Even so, the new salary had not started yet and we would have to empty out the savings account to buy the house. The company would pay removal and lawyers’ expenses, but I worried about how to pay for new school uniforms for the children. A new job for me was imperative.

We signed up for the mortgage in a lawyer’s office not far from home in Lower Hutt and settled in to say our goodbyes at Christmas parties. We got cards and presents. The schools would send on progress cards to the new schools; the doctor would send our family notes when we had found a new doctor in Auckland.

I got my first employment reference from the Principal of Birchville School, who wrote glowingly of my organisational skills and the way I had single-handedly set up the now thriving library at the school. We selected a removal company and arranged a date to move. We would need to take both cars with us so I would have to drive my own car for the 12 hours which the trip would take. We would stay our last night in a motel on the day when our belongings were to be packed and leave for our new home the next day.


Categories

Creative Commons License
This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License.