Wednesday, June 19, 2013

It Seems The Time Has Come ......


...... to do something that I never dreamed I'd be doing ...... back in my "before" days.

A couple of weeks ago I discovered that, unbeknownst to me, the real estate market in our community is booming.
It's beyond booming.
For sellers.

And so I decided to put our "dream home" on the market.
The home where we/I raised all of our children to adulthood.
The home where we thought we'd be for the rest of our lives, most likely.
The home where we imagined grandchildren would one day play, sleep and hang out in the same rooms their parents did.
The home I never pictured living in ...... all by myself.

And while I have loved this home and cherished most of the memories made inside of it, it has slowly become less of a home, and more of a house.
In the last year I have found myself sometimes resenting this house, the work, the money,  and the upkeep it requires.
And resenting everything that it no longer is.

I thought I would probably put it on the market next spring.
As in ...... a year from now.
Making it a year away meant that, although I sometimes resent it, I didn't have to really think about selling it, and actually leaving it ...... for another year.

But here I am ...... knowing that there's a good chance I may be out of this house before the end of the summer.
And trying to still not really think about actually leaving it.
Because if I spend more than a moment seriously thinking about that ...... I feel the sting of the tears that are forming.

But I know that it's time for me to move forward.

Moving forward with my life isn't as "black and white" as I'd like it to be.
While moving forward can be freeing, and sometimes even a bit exciting, it can also be painful.
Because sometimes ...... moving forward ...... means leaving part of me behind.
And another part of us.
And while I know that I'm ready to live in a smaller house, and to feel less burdened ......

I know that I will never be ready for that.


  1. I will be in the same situation in the future. It's been a little over a year now since my husband's death from cancer and my home is way too big. It will be hard to leave but I am starting to feel as though he will be with me wherever I go. He's not in the house and I'm not leaving him there. The memories come along too. And I bring my love with me... his memory, his words, his influence, wherever I go.... Still very hard though..... Bless you and your journey.

  2. Janine, your post brought tears to my eyes. Every word resonates with me. I am having the same struggle. Three years and I know I can't continue to keep up with a big house. Yet, everytime I start to downsize the grief takes me apart. Like you, I play the time game which eliminates the sadness. My widow friends, who have moved, tell me that the actual move is tremendously difficult, but once out the feeling is liberating.

    I send you hugs today and many thanks for your post!

  3. I never would have dreamed of leaving this house - alive - But, as you explained, I've realized in recent months that this is no longer our home, it's just my house and I'll be here as long as my house meets my needs. It was a pretty shocking revelation to me and both freeing and heart-breaking as so many things are these days.

  4. As difficult as the process will be, I hope it is as helpful as it was for me. I sold my house about a year after my husband died simply because I felt suffocated by the constant memories and reminders. I needed a change. While, of course, moving did not erase the pain, I believe it helped me in moving forward and filling my new life with things, people and experiences that fit my new life. Good luck.

  5. Two years ago, I sold the home we thought we would be in until our youngest graduated from high school. She starts 6th grade this year, and she was 4 when he died. I agonized over moving her away from our neighborhood and all the friends she had there. Ultimately I knew I had to decide on what is best for my life, because as trite as it sounds it really is true that if you are happy, your kids are happy and everything just works better. I knew that I couldn't physically or financially continue to maintain the big house, the yard, the pool. And so I sold it. It took 16 months, and that allowed me time to sift through the memories, to "purge" and to finally be at peace with closing that door behind me one last time. It was a painful and liberating and exciting and excruciating process. I moved into my new home 18 months ago, and not a week has gone by that I haven't smiled and breathed a sigh of relief and said under my breath (and sometimes out loud) "I am so happy to live here". I also worried about leaving "us" behind....but "we" are in my heart, my memories, my pictures and my girls are walking around as a living tribute to his memory. When they give me looks like his, or talk like him, or gesture like him, he's right here in my new house, too.

  6. I'm right behind you, waiting for exterior work to get done. Sales booming in my town too. Doesn't make it easier, as I have no idea where I'm moving to (I still don't really want to be anywhere w/o him), but I know it is coming. Been purging all winter, brutal process going thru all those memories. Will be even tougher to lock the door and walk away from what was, but like all of you, I know it is best in order to move forward. Just don't think I can do it yet, it is still my home and not just a house. The thought of walking thru it with a real estate agent brings tears, how do you do it? I can't distance myself from it yet, but I know it's coming. Good to know it can be done.

  7. "I have found myself sometimes resenting this house, the work, the money, and the upkeep it requires."
    I'm in the final stages of readying our home and I hope to have it listed within 2 weeks.
    It's been 3 yrs (this past Friday) and I'm thankful that I didn't have to move immediately, but it's time. I love it here. It's beautiful, but it's also a burden to me in terms of upkeep and money. The house and property are too big and, despite what my heart feels, it doesn't make sense for me to live here alone anymore. (Although my 20something son JUST moved back home to get back on his feet.)

    I've avoided thinking about it but I think the worst part will actually be walking out that very last time after 18 years here. Locking up our completely empty home to never enter again might actually break my heart.

    I keep trying to envision a simpler life with a lot less stuff in a lot smaller home. I'm hoping it's freeing in some way.

    1. For me it was freeing, once it was done and I was settled into the new place, but the actual act of leaving that last time was right up there in the top 5 worst moments of my life. It broke my heart all over again. I still hurt for the loss of that house, but it's not the HOUSE that I actually hurt for, it's the life it contained and that life, as much as I'd like to deny it, is over. What it represented is over. We worked so hard on it and loved it so much. But there is no more "we" and it had become a burden. I miss that life, though.

  8. Wow, did I ever need to read this. My husband died 119 days ago. I know in my heart I will be moving one day. The property taxes here so high and the house is too much for one, and the practical side of me knows I will need to move. He was the gardener, the flowers are blooming and the yard is beautiful, but I was the admirer of his loving work and really have no clue how and when to tend his plants. It was his joy. As someone said "he will go with me whereever I go". I need to keep that in mind as the time nears. I applaud you for this huge task. I wish you many blessings.

  9. The post has touched the hearts of many and have somewhat the same feelings. After 30 years living in the house that we both put a lot of memories into, now that she died isn't the same anymore. I dread the day I will sell the house, but I know it will come. We have to do to survive and try to gain back some happiness again. Certainly a painful journey that all of us didn't expect to do.
    Peace be with you..

  10. oh wow - did this make me tear up! I am still in the apt that we shared (albeit, only for a few months) but it is still full of his and our memories and our joint furniture. As hard as it was to come home after work and him not be there, to walk out of where we planned such a wonderful future together (to only have it ripped from us both suddenly), and to purge "our stuff" and never to return again...can't face it yet - even tho I know it is part of moving on - I just can't do it (unfortunately nobody but those on here seem to understand the struggle we have with that)...

  11. Thanks Janine.
    I have the house. I have decided to stay. But I have a workroom filled with his tools. Lathes, saws, all kinds of woodworking equipment gathering dust. I think he would say "sell it. Let someone have some use of these things." But every time I go in that room I think of the thrill of giving him each Christmas gift. He would set it up and show me. Now when I enter that room it is a broken dream.
    I can work in the garden now. The first year the memories just about did me in. It is two and a half years. Slowly I am changing things.
    Furniture, paint colours. I am making the house represent some of me. I have so many memories. I don't think moving would change it. I just love it here.
    But I know the expense! THat may one day be the catalyst.
    I wish you well. I hope your new home is filled with peace and love.

    1. I have the tools too. SO hard to part with, knowing he touched and used each one, all 57 screwdrivers! finding loving homes for some, Habitat for Humanity resale for others...he would want them used. Haven't decided about the house...the one we designed and built...will be tough to move on from it. But it's no longer "our house", and I don't think I want it as only my house.

      Just heard the loons calling on the lake, wish I could be like them, floating in my home. Maybe a boat is the answer...oh wait, got one of those, too.
      Again, his boat. So many triggers these days, not sure which way to go. Nice you can work in the garden, that is therapy in itself.

  12. Wow - I have a boat too. I can't sail it. I don't know how.
    I never thought of donating them. I could do that.
    Weird the similarities. My husband designed this house, I did the interior design. It is and probably always will be "our" house in my mind.

    Yes the garden is therapy. The first year, I just sobbed every time I was in the yard. Now, I can work and in my head say "what do you think honey?"
    But it is painful to be in this beautiful place, the place we dreamed of retiring together and be alone. I am grateful for all i have, for my security and for our life. I jsut wish he was here to enjoy everything he worked so hard to build.

    Sigh . . . .

  13. In the same boat unfortunately. My husband also had cancer and I had to put him in the hospital on Christmas Day and he passed away on New Year's Day. End of a horrible year and the beginning of an even worse year. It's hard to believe that just a year ago today, this entire thing wasn't even on my radar.

    I was very dependent on him, he took care of everything and fixed everything that was broken. It was his joy to fix things in our house and everyone elses house who needed help. Is it me, or is everything in this house suddenly breaking because he's not here to take care of it?

    I also have to sell our house and his things, which make me feel like I'm erasing him.

    Looking for a job because he also was the financial provider. I find myself in that nowhere age, too young to collect anything from all the years I worked, and too old to have to start all over again.