In June of 2014 Kevin was diagnosed with cancer. I think we may have gone to the family cottage at some point that summer, perhaps for the long weekend in July. I don’t recall going there much after that. Certainly I didn’t go in 2015 at all. The kids went up, I think Kevin’s sister went up, but not me. No way.
The cottage is a place so full of family memories and emotions that it defies description. My father-in-law built it, a gift of love for his family. He was a scavenger, Jack was, and the cottage was built using resourcefulness and thrift. It’s solid that’s for sure. Inside, the beams in the ceiling are carved, the bookcase was hand made, even the handrails on the deck around the cottage were planed to a lovely round edge. More than 50 years later and his handiwork still stands.
The rest of the cottage is neglected and has been for years. God bless my husband, he was a thinker, not a doer. He could think about how to do something for a couple of years, easy. Not having seen the cottage since 2014, I knew that the years of procrastination would have taken a toll. I also knew that, inevitably, I had to see the place and face the memories.
That first visit was hard. Kevin is etched into the feeling of the place. He loved it so. So did his nephew Terry. Both of them now gone, both of their presences so strong at the cottage. An emotional place. I realized when I went there last week how special it is. This is a place that we have always taken great pleasure in and it also is a place that gives back. It is full of laughter and contentment, peace and solitude. Yes, it needs work, and lots of it, but I imagine how happy it would make Kevin’s dad to know that what he created is treasured as much as it is.
After that first visit to the cottage my sister-in-law commented on how much peace the place gave her. It’s true, it is a remarkably peaceful place. We, her and I, decided that, unlikely as it might seem, it would be the two of us that would make it right and bring the cottage back to health and life. No procrastination on our part, work is now underway, but there is a lot to do and it will take time and money. At least we’ve put the brakes on the decay and are moving forward with repairs. Like Granddad Jack’s intentions all those years ago, this too is a labour of love on so many levels.