Mum did return from Riverview Hospital eventually, and we were relieved to have her back home and to have our family back in one piece again.
At some point not long after Mum came home, it was decided that we would move back to Victoria again to stay with Poppy. My Dad was a proud man and I think the idea of moving back into his wife’s parent’s house again would have seemed like a step backwards to him. Years later, Dad would tell me that Mum wanted to go home to Victoria, and that he had agreed to it just for her sake. I believe that if it were left up to Dad, we might have stayed in Langley instead of moving again. Nonetheless, it was going to happen and it was in a way a new start for us of sorts.
Leaving somewhere that you have called home is never easy, particularly for kids. It seems like something you love always manages to get left behind. This time we had to leave Sheba and her eleven little somethings behind. Sheba and her brood of pups had been a big part of our lives for almost two years, and we’d grown to love them all very much. It was so sad to know that we’d have to give them up to other people, but there was just no way to take them with us to Victoria. They were big dogs, used to the freedom of the country and we were relocating to a city.
After a couple of months, Dad managed to find homes for all of the dogs. Some of the pups were adopted together in twos or threes, and many were adopted by themselves. Some of them went to families with kids like us. Sheba and Ginger, her little tan coloured runt, by far the spunkiest and most mischievous of the lot, were sent to live on a farm together. I thought this sounded really nice for them and over the years, Kim or I would ask Dad where the farm was, how old Sheba and Ginger would be now, or if Sheba and Ginger would be happy in their new home.
Dad rented a large white van and we dumped all out stuff into it, and headed off for the ferry in Tsawwassen. Stuff was strewn around everywhere inside the van. It seemed like Kim and I were piled in the back amongst all the other belongings – me with my neck laying uncomfortably across a long wooden hockey stick that I had been given the previous Christmas.
After a two hour ferry ride and another hour of driving into Victoria, we were kind of back where we were two years earlier. And yet, while it was familiar, it was strangely different too. The Victoria air still smelled the same, and the same large Chestnut trees still lined Cook Street outside of Poppy’s house, but we were all a bit different now and it felt different being there again. Poppy looked just a little bit older and more tired, but he seemed really happy to have us all home with him again.
Living on his own over the last two years since Sam died must have been a hard and lonely time for Poppy. He did seem a little quieter now, but we could see that he welcomed our presence. Kim and I loved Poppy dearly, and were thrilled to be living in Victoria with him again.