Today I lost Magnolia.
It’s all gone. Every last inch of it. I should say every last visible inch, as I am sure there are a few invisible inches left somewhere in this house.
Am I grieving the loss of Magnolia? Certainly the process of losing it has elicited Kubler-Ross’s five stages of grief:
1. Denial: ‘This painting lark won’t be so bad! It’ll be good for me! I’ll get some exercise! The home will be freshened up and be just wonderful to live in. It’ll be good for my soul.’
I experienced this stage up to, and including half of, the first day of painting.
2. Anger: ‘Does nobody paint properly?! Who thought this previous paintwork was acceptable?! Who built this house and what kind of plaster did they think they were using when they finished the walls?! And what on earth is that tissue doing plugging that hole between the wall and the radiator pipe?!’
I experienced this stage before, during and probably after the loss of Magnolia, as I will potentially see more chunks of plaster (now newly painted) fall off the walls.
3. Bargaining: ‘You are only allowed to make a coffee when you have finished the cutting in of the second bedroom. No, you may not have your dinner until you have thoroughly cleaned that roller tray ready for the next day’s painting. Yes, you may have an alternative life once you are finished.’
I experienced this stage each day, anytime I was feeling in need of food or caffeine to sustain me – sometimes just after breakfast.
4. Depression: ‘Are you sure you wanted Country White instead of Magnolia? It’s looking a bit modern and bare now. Magnolia was an old friend. Now it’s all gone. And to add further pain, you still have to continue painting with even whiter ‘stay white’ satinwood paint, as you continue to grieve the loss of Magnolia. And, let’s face it, this painting lark doesn’t seem like it will ever end.’
I am experiencing this stage now.
5. Acceptance: ‘Magnolia may have been an old friend. But it’s gone now. Country White is here to stay and the ‘stay white’ satinwood should stay white forever (well, for 6 years, according to the tin). Say goodbye to the old. Embrace the new.
Embrace this stage and remember how painting another house, in another time and place once helped you embrace a new life after the old one had crumbled more than a little bit.