The Essence

Living and growing a family in the North awards you with a real and tangible connection to the land. As a mother of 5 and as a home baker and wannabe chef, it is this connection that seeps into everything - motherhood, food, harvesting, and experiencing the very heartbeat of the bit of earth that sustains us.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

2610 Randle Road

This morning, I woke at 5:30am, with tears soaking my pillow. I had been dreaming, and the choked sound of my sobs woke me up. In my dream, my parents were trying to drag me out of my grandparents house so that the new family could move in. They had called the police.

Last night, I received the phone call that I knew was coming, but was still not prepared for. My father sold my late grandparents home, the home he grew up in, the beach house, my Departure Bay. The papers were signed, there is no going back, the finality of it all is sinking in, sinking down into my toes with heart wrenching, hand wringing, head shaking disbelief.

Part of me is telling myself to get a hold of it, to be reasonable, to be realistic, after all it is just a house, four walls, a building, nothing that really matters in the end.

But the soul of me, the heart of me, the real me, knows that 2610 Randle Road is not just a house, not just a place, it lives and breathes and is a part of me that is dying. My family moved around as I was growing up, so my grandparents home on the waterfront of Vancouver Island where I spent my summers is where I put my roots down. There is something about sleeping in the same bedroom your father slept in as a boy, something about opening a dresser drawer and finding treasures he placed there years ago. There is a deep attachment that develops to a home with your history inside it, with the knowing that you are in the same rooms that held family conversations and events going back 50 years. There is something about watching your children running down the sand bars just as their grandfather did as a little boy.

My Papa took his final breath last August, just after he shook his finger at my father, saying with his eyes, "You take care of my Departure Bay!" Things are always more complicated, though, when faced with financial and family realities, with worldly responsibilities and commitments. Unfortunately, there is no one in our family who has stepped up with a million dollars to save our beach house from being sold to strangers, to the stealer's of my special place. Playing the Lotto Super Max every Friday for the past 6 months hasn't payed off. When I think of money playing the vital role in this unbearable outcome, I am angry and ashamed and embarrassed that we didn't find a way, that we didn't fight harder, that someone didn't find a solution and a way to keep the house. Because it isn't worth a million dollars, it is worth so much more. There is no price tag high enough. Papa, I am so, so sorry.

What I want to do is to get on the plane tomorrow, pull into the driveway, walk up the steps and feed the fish in the pond. I want to step into the hall and inhale the sweet essence that makes memories dance in my head. I want to walk through the kitchen of apple pies and out through the screen covered with butterfly stickers to keep us from walking smack into it. Into the sunroom onto the deck, I want to calm myself with the sea and the gulls and the boats, letting the salty breeze engulf me. Then I want to chain myself to the railing. I want to scream and yell and let my parents call the police to take me away. Dreams are sometimes, after all, premonitions of things to come.


  1. Oh, Heather. How sad. If I had a million or two, I'd help save the house!

  2. I'm so sorry Heather! I too wish I had a million dollars to save your Departure Bay. :0(