I call it "My Mother's House" because she took possession of it not so very long after she moved in there, stranger though she was to the family and town.
Dad figured out how to dig out a basement, and do the cement work, and shore up the foundations. I remember when it was nothing but a dirt crawlspace under the house. He built a stairway to the attic, finished the floors and insulated the roof; I remember when there was just a rough-hewn ladder in the pantry to get to the attic. (and I do mean rough -- there was bark clinging to the steps of the ladder!)
He put in a septic system, and indoor plumbing. I remember when there was still just an outhouse at the end of the yard. He made the back porch into a laundry room, he made the dirt below the porch into a graceful patio, the yard into a bountiful garden, the extra space into a greenhouse and nursery.
Dad did all that, and it was all for my mother, and she was the owner of it all.
Tomorrow morning, she has to relinquish her castle. She's being moved to a nursing home, which none of us really want, but is inevitable. Her caregivers have fallen short of their promises; her funds are dwindling. Alzheimer's has been her purgation: she's lost her memories, her strength, her knowledge, her control, and now her properties.
Part of me prayed that she would die in her sleep, like her brother Salvi, or that she would drop dead in her tracks, like her brother Buddy, rather than have to be removed to a nursing home. But she keeps on going, weak and tottery but still meaner than any other person I've ever met.
The other half of me is relieved that she won't die in that house, because she is so possessive that she would be sure to haunt it. There are enough ghosts in that house as it is; if she had infested it as a spirit, it would have been a war zone, because what ghosts there were would be from my father's family, all of whom she hated unconditionally.
Tomorrow the siege is broken; she will no longer hold the castle. The war is over.