Bidding Farewell to the Family Home

Making a move later in life is not easy ~ especially if you are leaving a long time family home. But whether this has been your home for a half a century or only five years, it has become a part of your life and memories. Because this is such an important life transition, experts suggest that you may want to think about how you want to bid farewell and bring closure to leaving your current home. You may not feel that this is a high priority in the midst of everything else you must do related to your move, but this process shouldn’t be missed. Bringing some level of closure with your current home and allowing yourself to grieve this loss is an essential part of the transition process. It’s okay to feel sad when leaving a home and moving on; allow yourself this opportunity to say goodbye.

  • Consider the pros and cons of both your old and new homes. Think about, or list on paper what you will not miss about your current home (the yard work, going down to the basement to do laundry). Also, think about what you will miss. Next, consider what you already know about your new home (the safety, less to take care of, no steps) and what you know you willnot like (loss of independence, distance from current friends). By going through this exercise, you’ll have a clearer picture of what you are leaving behind. And the points you listed about your new home will allow you to focus on the positive and better understand what you may need to be overcome in terms of negative expectations.
  • Plan a ritual to say goodbye to your current home. Whether it’s an informal walk-through of each room recalling your favourite memories and letting the tears flow or a moving party where your friends, family and neighbours share stories and memories of you and your home, take the time to formally say goodbye as you mark this major transition in your life.
  • Pass on the history of your house. Consider the information that you might want to pass on to the owners of your home. I’m not talking about passing on the owner’s manuals for the appliances. I’m talking about passing on information like what your life was like in this home, what you know about the history of the house and the neighbourhood and what changes you’ve made to the house.
  • Consider those who will benefit from the home you are passing on. It may be hard when you’re leaving a long-time residence to consider the value of what you are passing on to the new owner, but you truly cannot underestimate its’ value and impact. I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to go back and visit the house I grew up in, where my parents lived for 44 years, and to see how much the young family who bought the house is enjoying it. The owners are a young couple with two children who love their new home! They have done some remodeling and the house and yard looks fully lived in again like it did when I was a child growing up there. It was such a wonderful yard and space to play in and it warms my heart to know that this young family is enjoying it as much as we did.
  • Fully realize that you can create a new home for yourself. Last but not least, fully realize that you can create a new home for yourself wherever this move takes you. As your home becomes further and further dismantled during the packing or Staging process, you will see that this home you love is really just a house. What made it a home where all of your personal touches. Once your things are packed away, it is just a blank wall or an empty room. This will help you see that “your home” is packed in those boxes and that you are taking your true home with you to be created again wherever you are!

Article featured in Forever Young Magazine (Spring 2008)
Written by Sandra Wright

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