An open letter to the family who bought my home

Dear family,

My name is Jo and I am 25 years old. This letter may seem a little random, but I wanted to do something as doing nothing makes it all the more painful.

I wanted to tell you how lucky you are (although you probably already know this already, at least I hope you do). You have bought and become the proud owners of the most beautiful home. The redbrick farmhouse, massive kitchen, huge gardens, pond, field, tyre swing and sheds galore give only the tiniest indicator to the place you are now fortunate enough to call home.

I moved to that house aged just 6. I spent 6 months living in the barn opposite the house as it was barely a shell of what it is now. For 6 months a cattle barn was more of a house than the house itself! A barn where it was warmer outside than inside. Where when it rained, 26 containers were needed to catch the rainwater coming through the holes in the roof! This is where I was happy. I remember the first night that we slept in the house so clearly; the novelty of having a home. There was carpet down in two rooms. Kids slept upstairs and mum and dad slept downstairs. 

For 19 and a half years / 80% of my life, I lived in the most amazing house. I had the most incredible home; it was beautiful. Warm (as in welcoming not actually warm - you've got to be kidding!). Friends were always welcome. It was full of noise and music (mainly Rod Stewart and Cat Stevens). There were pets everywhere; horses, dogs, cats, chickens, rabbits the list went on.

I know every nook and cranny of that house and the gardens. I know exactly which door to slam to get the best reaction (the white one into the dining room). I know which stairs to skip to save time (you can jump from the third step on the stairs to the bottom by swinging on the end of the bannister!). It's my home.

On October 25th 2016 my parents closed the door to my home for the last time and you opened it for the first time. In that motion a little piece of me died inside.

You might have thought given that I had about 20 months’ notice I would have been calm. I was/still am anything but calm. My home means more to me than a house, than a roof over my head. It is somewhere safe, it’s something secure I can hold onto when I get overwhelmed with work, it’s where I run to. For as long as we lived there, I had somewhere to go on bad days, in holidays, at weekends and over Christmas. And now I don’t, and to be honest, that just sucks. You have the best place for you and your children to go.

As the parent of those children in your family, Northwood may or may not become your home ‘home’, but it may well be for your children. Please don’t underestimate or try and guess how they feel about it, either now or in the years to come. To my parents it was their home, of course, but it wasn’t where they wanted to be forever. For me it is the only home I ever wanted. I dreamt of getting married there, of taking my children there or having years more parties there, of Christmas there, of running there when I was sad or exhausted. Now every time I think of anything I catch myself. My life will never be quite the same, but I am lucky to have lived in such an amazing place and to have known such security.

I beg you to love it as much as I do (although I don’t think anyone could not love it).

So to the family that now live in my home. Please be kind to it, please love it, please respect it and please fill it with love, noise, children, parties, food, drink, slamming doors, barking dogs and a family. For as long as it is a family home the pain is a little easier.

You are the luckiest family I know. Be proud to call it your home.