Saying Goodbye to a Home and Grieving Places Past

Understanding Grief / Understanding Grief : Eleanor Haley

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My grandmother belonged in her home like a doll in her dollhouse. Each article of clothing, piece of furniture, and accessory seemed perfectly suited to her style and personality. I imagine her now, standing in her doorway at 12 am in a cotton nightgown, ushering my rumpled and crumpled family of eight inside after the long voyage between our home in Syracuse, New York to hers in Massachusetts.

She was not a traditional grandmother in any sense. Her knick-knacks were precious, her attire was elegant, and she always wore her hair in a youthful red bob. She was tough and smart and energetic and the guts and nerve contained in her petite 5’0 frame rivaled that of any 10 men.

My memories of my grandmother are made three dimensional by the details of her environment - the sound of the creaky back stairs, the smell of mothballs in her large linen closet, the hum of crickets drifting into her living room on summer nights while my sister and I listened to old records and my grandmother danced in the arms of an invisible beau, her nightly glass of sherry in hand.

Her house was like a living breathing thing with character and history. Scattered throughout, the secrets of her youth and the soap opera stories of those who came before her could be found in dark cellars, deep closets, and heavy oak drawers. Fascinating treasures told of a time when my grandmother was a knockout who wore sparkly dresses and fur coats to fancy parties; when the women of the house hosted dinner parties with fine china and good silver; and when adults, influenced by depression era proclivities, stockpiled commodities like matchbooks and sugar packets.

During visits to my grandmother’s house, I felt like I was a girl in one of my books like The Secret Garden who slept in a bedroom with a four-poster bed and whose only amusement was to wander the grounds and daydream. Sitting in the grass behind her house I would wonder who sat here a century ago and imagine the stone garage and little barn lining the yard’s perimeter were still the chauffer’s and the gardener’s domain.


Perhaps the sounds of my sisters doing cartwheels in the yard could be heard or perhaps my father drove his big van down the gravel driveway and, after stopping with a final crunch, emerged from the front seat with a six-pack of beer – these are the details I can't recall. What I can remember is letting my romantic imagination run wild, whisked away on the wind it skipped and danced with the fireflies, as the gloaming’s quiet magic turned the sun from gold to red to dim.

I remarked very recently that we are never so kind as we are to people, places, and things that are gone and maybe when it comes to my grandmother’s house this is so. The last time I visited was just before it was sold and prior to then, I hadn’t been back for years. By the time I returned it was empty and all my grandmother's belongings had been boxed up and stored away.

Standing in the hallway looking into bare rooms I thought
the house looked sad and frail – as though the cancer that took my grandmother had weakened its structure as well. I had hoped returning would help me remember my grandmother and the childhood days I spent there, but I was too late. My hopes of seeing the house one last time and preserving it pleasantly in my memory were gone.

People give up homes for various reasons. Sometimes the circumstances are in their control (such as making the choice to sell a house and move to a new one) and sometimes they aren’t (like in the case of a foreclosure, house fire, natural disaster, or death of the primary resident). Leaving a home can be very sad and emotional regardless of the reason.

Over the past few years, I’ve found myself grieving the loss of my grandmother’s house - both the physical place as well as the people and feelings associated with it - and I've often wondered what I could have done to find more meaningful closure. So, together with the help of our readers, here are suggestions for saying goodbye to a home and grieving places past.


Saying Goodbye to a Home:

  • Visit: If the place is not your primary residence, find an opportunity to visit one last time. Be prepared though, there's a chance it will seem altered and different. Reader Tracy reflects, "...the home which once held lots of laughter, fun, insight, love, comfort & great memories of times well spent was just a structure, a house."
  • Document: Take photographs of different rooms and significant places.
  • Say a ceremonial goodbye: Kimberly, one of our readers, offers her experience, "Before we moved we shared, as a family, our favorite memories we had in the home. We then blessed and released the home to the new owners wishing for them all the good times & great memories we had."
  • Have a photo shoot: Hire a photographer and have one last family photo shoot. For example, check out this touching father/daughter photo shoot.
  • Spend Time: Spend purposeful and meaningful time in the home. Reader Dawn suggests, "...taking time in each room and letting the memories come. Also placing your hands on the walls, doors, windows or special areas for as long as feels right."
  • Leave your mark: Carve your initials in a tree, write a message in a door jam, make handprints in cement, or bury a time capsule in the backyard.
  • Care for it: Reader Susan shares her experience with a house she didn't particularly love, "...when I knew that I'd be selling and moving from the place. I felt a sense of responsibility to actively love the home, by making it more lovely -- painting, caring for the things that needed fixing so that the place would be infused with my blessing, and consequently, bless the new owners. I literally prayed that the family who bought the home would have years of happiness and peace there. I felt better about leaving the home, with my blessing, maybe because I had dealt with my conflicted feelings about the place. I felt free to love a new home then, with little looking back or regrets."
  • Take something with you: Unearth a plant or tree to replant at your new location, take a brick out of the front pathway, unscrew a doorknob - go ahead and cause some destruction.

Grieving Places from the Past:

  • Visit: As awkward as knocking on a stranger's door and asking to walk around their home may seem, revisiting a place that's been sold to new owners can be kind of cool. The current inhabitants may get a kick out of hearing old stories about their home and it may make you feel better to know the house is being cared for an appreciated (if this is indeed the case). If the home is no longer standing, you can always revisit the lot - this has the potential to be kind of a bummer but maybe worth the visit nonetheless.
  • Reminisce: Talk about memories you had in the home, both with those who you shared the memories with and those you didn't (maybe your kids or friends).
  • Create a Heritage Album: Document details of your past home(s) as a part of your family history. Here's a book about crafting your own heritage album.
  • Collect photos and scrapbook: If your not quite ready to document your family history but want to remember the home, collect photos and create a few scrapbook pages. This is a good activity to do with kids.
  • Research the house: Here's a guide detailing resources for researching architectural and historical facts about a house.
  • Create: Write a poem, essay, or song. Draw or paint a picture.

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73 Comments on "Saying Goodbye to a Home and Grieving Places Past"

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  1. Ella N  February 25, 2024 at 2:02 am Reply

    Ugh. That’s about the best way i can describe my feelings right now. These past 6ish months have been insane, and now I have to say goodbye to the house i have lived in for my whole life, it’s being sold this week. I’m 16, and this just feels so unfair. First my parents divorce, which yeah- no-ones surprised, and then i help my mom buy a house for us to live in during the weekdays. I was fine, because I still had my childhood home there that i could go back to. Then, my dad decides to find a new girlfriend before the divorce is really even finalized, which means he wants to buy a new house so that she’s not uncomfortable, or something. if anyone has any suggestions for grieving the loss of a childhood home that aren’t as… i guess… mature? With less of an adult grieving in mind, and more like a teenager who’s in the third stage of grief, that would be great ❤️

  2. Laurie  August 15, 2023 at 8:38 pm Reply

    I have been going through a quaint home of my parents. Being a military brat, it is the only home I really knew and was purchased in the 60″s. Clearing out ( still) 70 years of their life has been so profoundly difficult. I helped remodel this house for my mom internally so it is not exactly as it had always been. In SO many ways it is impractical for me to consider keeping it. It is either a plane ride or a very long 2 day drive and all the expenses and upkeep, the cost, the worry, dog care to go…. I have just found myself struggling at the mere thought of another goodbye after helping two parents die within 18 months. If anyone has any thoughts, let me know. thank you

    • Michelle  September 4, 2023 at 7:10 pm Reply

      Wow. I thought I was the only one. I’m 58 and find myself crying and missing my grandmother’s farm. It is on my mind constantly and I feel such pain. It was a light in my troubled childhood when I escaped my parent’s home and spent joyful light-filled summers there without a care in the world.

  3. NR  March 17, 2023 at 1:59 pm Reply

    This is just what I needed. I am moving out of the house I have lived in since 1987 next month and as the day draws closer the grief is hitting me like a ton of bricks. I am excited to move and look forward to my new apartment, but I keep looking around the house in sadness knowing in a few weeks everything will be gone. The sadness is worse at night when I’m relaxing in bed after coming home from work. My grandmother died over 20 years ago and my aunt is selling it, it is in a an overvalued/overinflated market and would need a major facelift in order for me to enjoy it the way I want for the next few decades and it’s just not worth it considering the neighborhood is not ideal, by the time everything would be done the way I would want it done, the house purchase+major remodel would be well over 1 million dollars and it is no where being a mansion. I want to move to another state anyway in a few years so it really wouldn’t make sense to even hold on to something like that. I was 12 when I moved in and now I’m close to 50. My routine has been here and now it is about to be a new start. I’m happy but the memories that were made here is just eating me to my core. I get so sad at night and I just walk around and look at the ceilings and the walls and I just can’t believe this is the end of the road but it is. I know that this move is going to help me professionally and financially in the long run but it’s just getting to that move date in a few weeks plus the rest of the year trying to adjust that’s going to be hard to get through. This message board is helping me tremendously knowing that other people have gone through this and are surviving it. I know I am going to start crying real tears as moving day draws closer, please keep me in your thoughts to help me get over this emotional hump. Thanks to you all!

  4. Max  September 26, 2022 at 9:22 pm Reply

    Not a lot of guys posting here, but whatever. I’m going through a very similar situation. My Grandma passed away a couple of months ago and my parents are selling her house now. I was very close with my Grandparents and it feels like the house is an extension of them. I was probably closer with them than my own parents. They were really a safe space for me. I’m just so sad. I can picture my Grandma now on her back porch swinging and humming. It feels like I still haven’t had closure from her passing and now her house will be gone too. I wish I could buy it. My parents and my mom’s brother don’t need the money. They’re not as sentimental. They’re so many good memories from that place.

  5. Scared to leave  September 17, 2022 at 11:57 am Reply

    I wish I had found this sooner.
    For the second time I have been offered decent money for the sale of my house. And then I freeze and get so romantic about this small piece of property and house. That I change my mind and don’t sell. But I know my time here is up I can’t maintain this house it’s served it’s purpose to raise my children. I only have a temporary rental to go to and then who knows?

    But what I’m hearing is it is just grief and grief can be big but it’s still just grief. If this house is too much to handle too much to maintain at my age why can’t I just let it go to a family who really wanted it who would raise a child here as I raised mine. Spiritually I feel that I am holding onto some thing that is actually harming me and preventing someone else from the joys they could have.

    Open to any suggestions.

  6. Angela  August 12, 2022 at 1:20 pm Reply

    I don’t usually post either but my ex father in law passed away. I am divorced but remained close with the family. His mountain cabin was inherited by my ex husband, his brother and my ex mother in law. I’m 43 and have visited the cabin since I was 16. They are now selling it. I visited and balked my eyes out. I never imagined I would this much emotion and sadness over the sale. My father in law worked very hard on the cabin and his memories are everywhere. So sad and just can’t shake it.😔

  7. Melissa  June 22, 2022 at 4:37 pm Reply

    I’ve never commented on a stranger’s blog before, but after googling “grief for my family home” I found this post. It’s beautiful, and helpful. I’m 56 with a house and lovely family of my own, but when my 80-something parents decided last week that it was time to sell, I froze. I’m still in shock and sadness. I’m considering extreme measures like divorcing my husband to move into my old home, to a second mortgage so I can purchase the home for myself…so talk about extreme reactions! This post is helpful and beautiful and I look forward to following the comments.

    • Litsa  June 27, 2022 at 7:20 am Reply

      I am so sorry you’re facing this tough decision and that the post was some comfort. It is SUCH a hard decision. Some time has now passed since I wrote this and I still have many mixed feelings, but there has been some comfort in knowing that a new family with children is now living there, making their own memories and making the house their own. It has a bit of a circle of life feeling! That said, I do sometimes drive by just to see the house and, though I find comfort seeing it looking lived-in, I also tear up sometimes. But that is the nature of so many moments in life – bittersweet! We have some other articles about photographing a home as a way to say goodbye (search “Dear Photograph”) and it can really help. Writing a letter to the new owners to give them at settlement can also be nice, sharing the history.

    • Angela  August 12, 2022 at 1:27 pm Reply

      I’m so sorry and I know how you feel. I have exhausted all of my options to buy my deceased father in laws cabin. I can’t pay 2 house payments. I’m single and they family has already listed it. The memories of family vacations there. It is just so sad. To me, the cabin is not worth any amount of money because of sentimental aspects of it. I never thought I would feel this sad but it is so hard to deal with thinking we will never be able to go back again. My father in laws work will be owned by someone we don’t even know.😞

    • Maggie  August 29, 2022 at 3:46 pm Reply

      It was comforting to hear from others who are going through grief because of selling a parents home and having to clear their life’s possessions. My father in law died 6 years ago and my mother in law 6 months ago. I have been coming to N. Ireland since I met my husband over 40 years ago . We have had such a lot of love over the years , also disagreements as most family’s do, but no love lost. Tomorrow is our last day in the house and I am sitting in the lounge and looking at a view and I’ll never do that again . I don’t know if we’ll ever be back again and it’s heartbreaking.

  8. Kristina  April 21, 2022 at 12:13 pm Reply

    I have two stories of house grief. I said good bye to my home of 23 years and it was much harder than I thought. I had a deep connection to the land and the people. I put in the plants and had so many beautiful memories of peace, love, beauty and my pets. That home represented security, peace, privacy and home for me. But the house was always too small and I knew I had to have a new experience. I had to totally grieve the saying good bye to that house. I took lots of pictures and felt my feelings. I felt it was one of the hardest things I ever did. I can say now I am glad I moved up to a new bigger home and am OK but it was so painful during the process. I really learned about grief in that the only way is thru it. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

    Now I am grieving my family home. It was my job to get the home ready for sale and I had to go thru all of the momentos and memorabilia. Wow what a walk thru time. I was reminded that I was part of a family then and so loved! So many wonderful letters to and from my sisters and my mother. I felt really sad going thru them knowing I don’t really have that anymore but I felt gratitude that I did have that at one time. I found a picture and love letter from my first real boyfriend. He was so loving and really loved me. I realized I never thanked him for being the loving boyfriend that he was so I wrote a note to him, on his birthday no less! I thanked him for being such a wonderful boyfriend and feel sad I never thanked him prior. I found another picture of another boyfriend I had. This one was harder because it was more recent and I still felt attracted to him and miss what we had. It was painful. I wish it worked out. I wish I took the plunge. That was painful to feel again. So much to work out still. I pray this grief I will work thru.

    I am so glad the retrieving of memorabilia is over for the most part and in days I will hand over the keys. It has to be we cannot, and should not, keep the home. It should be occupied by a new family and that family filling it with love. They agreed to take pictures of it when totally empty and give to us as memories.

  9. Kimberly Triemert  March 28, 2022 at 10:36 pm Reply

    I am so glad you have found this site.My mom and dad are both gone, I have a sister but she abandoned me 9 years ago. I can’t stop thinking of our house that I grew up in. It’s killing me. I know how ya all feel especially wanting to buy the house. Thanks for being hear for me.

  10. Sandra  March 22, 2022 at 2:06 am Reply

    I’m going through the same thing as everyone else on this thread, my mom passed 6 years ago, and her husband passed this September, so now we are getting rid of things in her home, and putting it up for sale, it’s been a mountain of emotions, it’s hard to be there going through her things and difficult to see her townhome going to be put up for sale. Lots of good memories and sad memories. Her urn is sitting on the shelf waiting to be put to rest to, that is heartbreaking to see. I’m not comfortable to bring it home, it just reminds me of her dying of cancer and just not a pleasant feeling at all. Us siblings will be making a decision later on what we’re going to do, and her husbands son has his dads ashes, and I asked if we can put some of moms with his and visa versa, because he’s taking his dads ashes, back to his child hood province to his favourite place. He agreed. We are not sure where to put moms, she never mentioned what to do with her remains.
    Anyways I’m struggling with moms home being gone to someone else, it feels like she died all over again. The grief has somewhat resurfaced again. I did keep some of her things, but didn’t find that one thing that gave me that fulfilling feeling, not sure if that’s the right word, or maybe the word is comfort. Yes that’s the word. So I’m going to go back and look again even though it’s hard, I need something I can cuddle into, when I’m missing her.

  11. AE  March 14, 2022 at 12:58 am Reply

    We just recently lost my grandfather. My grandmother passed away just a few months before he had. They had lived in that house since the eighties. I grew up spending much of my time in that house. Every holiday was spent there. Every summer I was there for weeks on end. I love my grandparents and I love their house. I always told them that me and my wife want to buy it if they ever decided to sell. After their death and with the housing market being so inflated we can not afford to buy it. My uncle is forcing a sale of it only two months after my grandfather passed. They were packing up the house and removing the belongings from the house the day after the funeral. I never got to see the house as I remembered it. I don’t know how I can ever process this grief. I’ve been forced to deal with the loss of my grandmother, then my grandfather, and now with no time to grieve or cope I’ve got to deal with the loss of the home of so many fond memories. I remember waking up and eating cereal and grapefruit in the kitchen with my grandmother. Picking up pinecones in the yard with her. Helping my grandfather pick vegetables in the garden or from the fruit trees. Taking nature walks. Watching cars go by. Sledding down the hills. My wife and I got married in that house. My grandmother passed in that house and that’s where we all spent her last days together as a family. That was the last time we were a whole family. Since then a wedge has been driven between the family in the handling of the estate. I have no clue how to cope with this. That house is so much more than a simple structure. That house was once filled with love, sadness, laughter, hugs, kisses, jokes, wonderful food and kind people. I just want to rewind the clock. I want to be rich and have the money to just outright buy the house. I just want so many things that I’ll never get and I will never get the closure I need either. The house was listed for sale on Friday. They are going over offers on Monday. Two months since my grandfather passed to the day it was listed, and three days later it will be sold. I am devastated.

    • Mlleslie  March 20, 2022 at 7:42 pm Reply

      Your post mirrors my own situation. For me, the loss is the timing; a year ago I could have bought out my siblings to buy my parents home. But once house prices went up it almost tripled in value in just months. Not seeing that coming pretty much destroyed me as the money means more to my siblings than having a second house, which is just how it goes. I’m crushed and the hardest part is not just losing it, but the glee at getting extra money is super hard for me to handle emotionally and I’m struggling. For them, it pays off their childrens college debt, and they still own primary homes. I’ve stayed in an apartment waiting to retire and stupidly didn’t see this all coming. It sucks. It’s funny how some people have zero desire to hold onto to a family property and others treasure it. Neither is right or wrong, but the two seldom see the others point of view.

  12. Sandra  January 29, 2022 at 11:06 pm Reply

    I think I started this thread and I’m glad I did, we’re in the middle of getting my moms estate in order and we will be selling her home it’s been heart wrenching, even though when I go there to check on things it’s very hard because she isn’t there. I brought a few things of moms home and I can’t look at them it just brings all the grief back, it very painful. It feels like losing a part of mom, selling her home. We’re all grieving, and grieving more losses than we thought, the home with precious memories, are loved ones, the scenery outside of the home, the smells, the life that was once there, the Christmas’s, the places where are loved ones once sat, mom greeting me at the door, the hugs, the talks we had at the dinning room table, the laughter that once echoed in the living room, the smells of mom cooking dinner, the neighbours that once lived across from her, I could go on and on, it’s a very hard experience going through the loss of moms home.

  13. dave  January 28, 2022 at 1:53 am Reply

    I am so grateful to have found this site and post. I could type forever, but I won’t. I’m 43. I’ve lived in a few houses ….grew up in one until I was 20. Then 2 different houses until I was 31 (and they became ‘home’ but they weren’t hard to leave). We’ve been in our current home just over 11 years. It’s our dream house. Brought 3 babies home here (kid #1 was born while we were at the other house), taught my kids to swim, to talk, to ride bikes. My 101 year old grandma made a trip here 6 years ago and she stayed in our house. So many wonderful family memories. It’s truly been ‘home’. The perfect ‘’home”. Almost. We desire more land and space. An opportunity has presented itself to get that, but it means leaving our ‘home’. I’ve been slightly depressed and in deep thought at night about this. Is this the right decision? Am I doing the right thing? I am loosing a very incredible pool I had put in….so many memories. My dream was a pool. I finally got it. And now? I’m giving it up? Seriously? Yes, seriously. Despite my sadness…my grief….my wife and I think this is best for our 4 kids (3, 6, 8 and 12) for the long run and they still have plenty of time to make a new home. It’s an older home. Cozy. Well loved. I may be downgrading home amenities and style slightly, in exchange for much more land, better schools and a better area. It truly is best for the long run of my family, but dammit, I am sad. And I will continue to be. I am glad I am not the only one. I haven’t had much grief in my life. I realized that is what I am feeling and I knew that it wasn’t a unique…certainly other people have felt the way I felt, “feeling a sense of loss when leaving a home”. That’s what I googled to find this. Thanks for listening.

    • Andrea  August 18, 2022 at 9:12 am Reply

      Dave, I needed to hear what you said. We sold our house in 48 hours in March after living there 32 years and raising three sons. It happened so fast. We also had a pool that brought me peace and tranquility. We are now building on some land a few hours away and that should bring me complete peace and happiness However I am crying a lot and it’s hard to process these feelings. My therapist is helping me and I will get through this. But sometimes I wonder, why did I agree to sell this house? Yes we will start new memories but I am still filled with sadness leaving our safe place

  14. Erika Andrews  November 29, 2021 at 6:06 pm Reply

    My mom passed just over a year ago. She was 86, but it was a massive shock to all of us because she was the picture of perfect health.
    She lived in the same house that her and my dad (deceased) bought in 1963. Where my brother and I were raised, our childhood home.
    Long story short: We decided (now I see way too soon) to sell the house as I did not want the responsibility of it, and my brother could not afford to buy me out, and neither of us wanted to rent it out. I have been ok with the decision, but my brother has regretted it and is always talking about it , which has now made me sad and regretful that it is gone.
    I don’t know how to process these new feelings? I know we can’t change anything, but the grief is getting heavier and heavier and I want to go back in time and not push the sale as fast…

    • AE  March 14, 2022 at 1:04 am Reply

      I hope it gets easier for you. We’re experiencing something very similar. My grandfather passed in January. My uncle has been walking al over the family as he is the executor. He listed my grandparents house two months to the day after he passed. He is reviewing offers only three days after having listed it. I’ve expressed a great desire to buy the house and so has my mom but he wants to sell it as soon as possible. For either of us to be able to buy it we would have to sell our own houses and get finances in order which could take a little while. He refused to give us time to do so. He said if we want to buy it we need to do it quick. I feel as though his grieving process is “out of sight out of mind” so once the house is gone, so is the grief. But he is forcing his grief and coping mechanisms on all of us who do not grieve and cope the same way. It’s incredibly upsetting and has made our once very close family very resentful of each other now. It makes the grief that much harder.

      • Lynnda  April 17, 2023 at 9:59 am

        We are selling my parents home and it make me very sad. My mom died seven years ago and my dad six months ago. I never thought this would be so hard, selling my childhood home. I knew my siblings and I would have to eventually sell the home we all grew up in, but I am grieving my parents and now the home that will be sold. Our happy home with so many memories, it just makes me so sad. I didn’t know this would have such an impact on me. I get angry, I cry, I get so upset when I’m there. I don’t think my siblings feel the same way I do, about the loss of our home. This site is really helping me, because I wasn’t sure what I am experiencing is normal. Thanks everyone for also sharing your stories.

  15. Lisa B.  November 26, 2021 at 10:30 am Reply

    My family bought a house in 1987 when I was 16 and I ended up living in it until age 47 in 2018, the year my mother passed. I won’t get into all the details of a rift with a family member that pushed me out aroubd that same time, but he is the owner of the house and finally reached out to mend fences. I hesitantly went there yesterday for the first time in three and a half years, on Thanksgiving Day, and it was difficult. It was the first time I had stepped foot in the house since my mother had been gone and it felt surreal. It also felt like so much happiness and spirit were missing. This was the house everyone would meet at for holidays (often 20 or so people), and now there were just four of us on what would normally be another fun and fulfilling holiday, looking around talking about old times. I felt a bit of sadness when I walked into my old empty bedroom but even more so when I walked into my mother’s. I know it sounds strange but I found myself feeling sorry for the house, especially my mother’s bedroom. This house that was once a lively place is now half-empty and virtually unvisited, since my brother is distant from much of the family. It just felt lonely, as if it missed my mother, everyone who would regularly visit and all the activity it saw. It also really hit me that my mother played a huge part in making that house feel like a home. I suddenly understood the phrase “you can’t go home again”. Hard to explain the emotions I was feeling. When I go back to that lively house I once knew and see my mother sitting in her usual spot in the kitchen but I know it isn’t to be anymore. I left there feeling so many emotions this Thanksgiving Day and I am still trying to process them. Blessings to you all who have a sentimental and/or spiritual connection to a house. We know they are not just things, not just inanimate objects, but something much, much greater that is hard to quantify, hard to even understand sometimes.

  16. Sue  November 5, 2021 at 8:50 pm Reply

    I googled grieving your childhood home and this site came up. I’m glad I found all of you! It’s good to know that others feel the same way. Our lawyer emailed me yesterday that the buyers want to close on my parent’s home as soon as possible. My heart stopped for a minute. I knew it was coming, but now it is real. My husband and I have been driving over an hour every weekend this past year to sort and empty. It’s been physically exhausting and very emotional. Yet I am so thankful that we did it. One last gift to my parents. I found letters that Dad wrote to Mom when he was in Germany in WWII. I found sweet notes from Mom to me. There were sentimental treasures all around. My brother who lives across the country said to just take what we want and then get a dumpster. He hasn’t done a single thing to help and wants it over with. He doesn’t understand, and has no clue as to the huge job it all was. Our parents bought our home 57 years ago. There is so much love and happiness within its walls. My Granny and MeMa were there. Holiday meals with family visiting from out of state. Fires in the fireplace. Sitting out on our big wrap-around porch. Dad making Maypo for breakfast on cold winter mornings so Mom could sleep a little later. Decorating for Christmas. Wrapping presents at the kitchen table. Oh! The kitchen – where Mom made her fantastic potato salad and so many yummy meals. I brought my sweet husband there where he asked them if he could marry me. (43 years ago!) We brought our two precious adopted son and daughter there for Mom to adore. Daddy had gone to heaven just before our son came home to us. So, so many memories! Two weeks ago I had a professional piano mover bring my piano from there to my home. We stayed over the night before. My last night there. I played my piano for four hours. I had thought that I would cry through every song, but instead, I was actually happy. I felt like I was sharing the music and happy memories of singing with Mom and Dad with the house one last time. Now those songs can live on within its walls. So we’re going back tomorrow and it may be for the last time. I’ve been weepy all day. I’ve taken a lot of pictures and plan to take more. I’ve touched the walls and looked out the windows. I’ve thanked the house for protecting us and for allowing us to share our love within it. At times, I feel like I’m losing Mom and Dad all over again, but I’m not. They will always be with me, in my heart, wherever I go. I know I‘ll cry many more times, but I’m hoping that the love and happiness will outweigh the loss. For each one of you who is also sad, and for myself, may our good memories of our beloved homes cause us to smile through our tears.

  17. Geoff  September 27, 2021 at 12:49 pm Reply

    After 34 years my dad is selling our family
    Home. I could not afford it and do not wish to live there in the suburbs. we lost my mom 6 years ago to cancer it’s too big for just him but it hurts really bad. So many good memories some bad ones too. I haven’t lived there for about 5 years now but It just is really sinking in that my moms gone and now my childhood is gone aswell.

  18. Janet Lynn Barry  August 18, 2021 at 11:04 am Reply

    My son was randomly murdered 2 years ago in my small city. He was 40 years old. I only lived here for 4 years and loved my home. I moved here for my son and work. My city lost its shine after that event. I am uncomfortable meeting acquaintances (they usually find it more awkward than I do – which makes it even more uncomfortable for me) As well passing the place of his death which is a main downtown corner prevents us from enjoying the heart of the city. These reminders trigger grief, not trauma as they once did. So…. I am torn between leaving my comfortable home and forging a new start – I’m in my 60’s so there are lots of changes happening like retirement as well. My husband is desperate to go. After 2 years I think we have waited long enough and realize that these physical places and the associated notoriety are here to stay. We always wanted to retire on the ocean and now seems like a good time. But, who knows for sure if I’m running from grief or if grief is guiding me. Complicated.

  19. Tuula  August 3, 2021 at 8:21 am Reply

    I’m 17 and have lived in one house my entire life. My parents bought it 2 years before I was born. They divorced a few years ago, and my dads lawyers are forcing my mom to sell the house now (at the time they allowed us to keep it for 4 years). Unless she can pay him off the amount equal to half the worth. I sometimes am just so overwhelmed with grief for another loss and massive change that is not in our control. Literally every memory I have of a house or family time has been here. I dont think my parents realize just how hard this is because they moved 5+ times by the time they were 18. I sometimes just lay in bed and cry over the soon to come loss. I know the people who buy the home will not let it stand. Every house that gets bought in my neighborhood gets torn down and built into a multi million dollar mansion. Itll also be a huge difference going from a house to a 2 bedroom condo or apartment. Because we cannot afford anything else. Not unless we move in with my moms bf but they arent ready for that.

  20. Paula  August 1, 2021 at 5:16 am Reply

    I have just stumbled across this article and it’s so helpful to see that other people are feeling/ have felt the same emotions that I am right now. My parents always lived in the one house since they married so I’ve only known one family home (unlike my partner who moved houses a lot in his youth). I’m 55 now and my father died in 2011 and my mother is at the age of 83 beginning to slow down and struggle. There are days when I get all maudlin and sad and I think of how I am going to deal with selling their home at whatever time in the future. I don’t know that I can. All those memories; my parents, my childhood, my daughters’ childhoods ( we live in the same village as my parents so my children have had very close relationships with their grandparents and were at my parents ‘ house almost daily when they were little.)

    I just can’t bear the thought of selling it but I don’t think my partner would want to move there from our house nor do I think either of my children would want it.

    When my Nan died my cousin bought her house so that house stayed in the family and when I walk past my Nan’s house it’s nice to know my cousin and her family are in there. I cannot bear the thought of strangers in my parents’ house.

  21. Myalgic1  June 4, 2021 at 5:30 am Reply

    Im a reluctant migrant, living in Australia. Due to the laws that were passed in the Hague Convention, I was not allowed, without the permission of my violent and controlling ex husband, to take my child out of Australia, permission he would not give. Ive been here since 1989 and during that time, I’ve lost my beautiful step mother , my father, my grandmother and my grandfather. I only saw my father, briefly, before he died. He left me the family home, the only place I truly feel happy, but now due to covid and, ‘green’, legislation, I can no longer rent it out and I can’t afford to upgrade it to the government’s new requirements. The only thing that has kept me going, was the strongest hope and wishes thst once my child was an adult, was to be able to move back to my family home and finally be happy. Now, all my dreams and all my hope have been cruelly dashed, and I have no choice but to sell. The house isn’t a house – it’s my anchor. It’s the only place I feel content and safe. And soon, it will be gone. Due to covid and due to Australian leadership unable to manage the pandemic, I can’t even get home to say goodbye before it’s sold. I feel such deep grief, resentment and anger at the actions of others that have caused this to happen. I really don’t think I will ever get over the loss. I don’t feel like I will ever be happy again. It is the one place on this God forsaken planet where I can feel my parents and loved ones. The only place. Is the depth of my feeling strange? Am I crazy?

  22. Lorraine Campbell  April 18, 2021 at 8:50 pm Reply

    I am so grateful I found this site. My husband Paul got our land in 1988 he got a little trailer and lived in it by himself till 1990. We met. Three years later we got married. We had a home built in NC and sent to us in NJ in 1994. Three children and three grandbabies. Many many memories. In 2014 I lost Paul. His passing was and still is extremely tough. Well NOW on my own… Kid’s live out of state I was lost. Tried so hard to keep up with everything was doing ok. But then my well went sand in my whole water system. 6000 bucks and I couldn’t pay for everything for I’m on disability for PTSD and a fixed income. Couldn’t pay everything and one bill (property taxes) I got only 1800 behind and it went up for sheriff’s sale. Someone paid them and I lost it all. August of last year I had to leave. I was devastated. Moved to NC and lived in a tent for 7 months. In January 19. I moved to Florida. I do have a place but it’s high rent and barely making it. But as I sit in here I cry ALL the time and feel so depressed for losing my home. I continue to say sorry to Paul for losing his land. I’m going crazy not being in that home. Not being able to hang all the Christmas stockings on the mantle. I don’t know what to do anymore. I’ve cried all day today. Thank you for listening

  23. Kimberly  April 9, 2021 at 4:14 am Reply

    I am getting ready to sell my home of 21 years, not by choice. I brought home 3 babies here and it’s the last place we saw my childs father alive before he passed away 5 yrs ago. It was my first home after I left my parents. It’s also the last place I visited my best friend who came to see my last born child before she moved and was killed. I’m honestly not sure if it’s the home or the loss of my bestfriend and my childs father and the home being my last connection to them that’s bothering me more. I’m sure knowing that I’m going to be moving in with my mother who needs me due to recent health issues is also troubling me. Dont get me wrong, helping her isn’t so much the problem as how she will treat me more like a kid in her home rather then a equal adult. I feel like part of me is losing my independence and my past life all in one. Anyways thanks to covid I have no choice to move now because I’m financially unstable right now and selling is my only chance. I just need to figure out how to get past the grief I feel and the anxiety. Thanks for reading this.

  24. Jessica  March 21, 2021 at 3:35 pm Reply

    I am so glad I found this site. I sold My Home of 20 years 8 months ago and the sadness and daily grief has been harder than I ever expected. I raised my 2 kids there. We remodeled the kitchen just a few years ago. It was so beautiful. My kids loved it had their friends over all the time. Our home was 2800sqft, always filled with Friends, love, Everyone was so happy. It was near everything. I could get to Costco, Grocery store, Gas..Anything within 3minutes. Every single room had some touch of ours in it. I felt such love and purpose living there. I planted every tree, All the flowers, Painted every room and spent so much time playing with the neighborhood kids in the backyard watching my kids grow up. I knew all my neighbors who were my friends. My kids now 17 & 19 still live with us (COVID kept my oldest from going to college)
    My Father offered to sell us his 4unit that we’d been taking caring of for him for 5 years. The place needs some TLC and we agreed on a price In June 2020 we sold our home and moved into 1 of 1200sq ft units. We looked at the money aspect of Being able to pay off All our debt as I had medical bills from a Cancer Dx several years earlier and lost HealthIns. We didn’t think at all how moving to a new town, Going To Apartment living and A place 1/4 the size of our home with No Storage, Being 25 min away from Grocery stores, Kids away from friends..ALL the other things that meant so much to us would have such a deep affect On All of us mentally and physically. I’m mom, I’m suppose to uplift everyone and I’m so sad. Most days I can’t get out of bed. To top it off we don’t even own it yet so we can’t do any remodeling yet, Because even though We sold our home 8 months ago, But My dad Still hasn’t sold the 4 unit to me. He owns the property with No Mortgage and keeps telling me he’s talking to lawyers on what to do with the $$ from the sale so he doesn’t get it all taxed. We have gotten 3 different Mortgages for him that have expired, the market also went crazy and he realizes he’s losing some money. My Husband and I have been taking care of this place for 5 years for him for free as he’s 72 now. Now I’m paying rent Till he figures out what to do. What a mess, So many regrets I wanna puke. In the meantime I’ve realized Money isn’t everything, Happiness is. I was So very Happy At my Home, I wish I’d never of left, it meant everything to me and my kids. Please Anyone reading this, If you have doubts of moving. DONT. Cuz you can’t go back. It’s done and I’ve fallen into a depression like I never have, not even when I had Cancer. I just wanna go Home..Thanks for listening. Good luck to you All

    • Aylin Lopez  July 11, 2021 at 3:10 am Reply

      I’m so scared. I’m 14 years old and I’m going to be moving from the only house I’ve ever known. Me and my family are going to be moving to another neighborhood about 15 minutes away in a week. I put up a front for my parents, knowing they would feel guilty. I’ve been crying every night over the thought of someone else calling my home theirs, and how I will never be able to see it again. I don’t know what to do. I can’t imagine watching another family walk into my house, I can’t imagine someone else calling my home theirs. I sob thinking about it. am I being too dramatic? I feel like I’m going to lose all my memories here. I just wish this feeling would go away.

  25. Hope  December 26, 2020 at 7:09 pm Reply

    Dear all, I am so grateful for this feed for sharing grief. I am feeling extreme grief right now for the home my husband and I raised our sons in. We are due to leave in two weeks. We decided to sell because the neighborhood is not the same as it use to be; new neighbors are not kind, stay to their own, and loud trucks and traffic have made it difficult to enjoy living here anymore. Our oldest son and his wife made it clear they did not want children, and our youngest son did not care that we sold. Yesterday, for Christmas, our oldest told us they were expecting. My heart was so happy and sad at the same time. Ecstatic for our first grandchild and terribly sad because we will not be close to the expectant parents for frequent visits, teaching our grandchild to ride a bike in front of the house, how to swim in the pool, set up their bedroom for overnight stays in their dad’s old room, etc. I can’t stop crying and wish we had never made the decision to sell. We are moving to the country where it is quiet and much more peaceful, and have wonderful neighbors, including my brother. Although I know we are so blessed, my heart just can’t stop hurting for selling now that we have a grandchild on the way. How can I get past this grief? I want to be able to move on and be happy with what we cannot change. Does anyone have any advice and wisdom to share? My husband and I have looked forward to downsizing, moving to the country and building a small farmhouse, but I am feeling a terrible loss and don’ t know how to get past it. Thank you for all comments and advice.

    • IsabelleS  December 28, 2020 at 1:40 pm Reply

      Hope, thank you for taking the time to comment and to share your story. I’m sorry to hear that you’re going through this. I hope this article has shown you how normal and valid it is to grieve the loss of a home. You may never “get past” this, but you will find a way to move forward. I recommend you check out this article: All the best to you and your husband.

  26. Marlynn  September 9, 2020 at 7:26 am Reply

    Reading this article and comments are helpful. Just sold my family home of 55 years. My parents moved us in when I was 18 months old and I moved in eith my brother when my daughter was 18 months old and stayed until she was 9 so we are borh losing the place of our childhood. I was there for 50 Christmas mornings. It was the one constant throughout my life as my Daddy told me you can always cone home. Mom passed on 2001 and Daddy in 2006. My brother was my Dad’s caregiver and stayed in the house after Daddy passed. My brother got sick this spring and I moved him to FL with me for summer planning to havenhim return this fall. House is in bad shape needing costly repairs, more than I can afford since I just built a home and closed in February. Then my brother got worse and Dr. said he shouldn’t live alone. From MemorIal day through Labor dsy I have been sorting and cleaning 55 years of things and it has been so hard. Down to last room and the last day and I am so tired. I was blessed to have this place, my place, my daughter’s place for do long. My comfort, security, my family home. As I realize that none of the people I shared this place with can ever walk through those doors again, I grieve my parents again, my gone childhood, my security and thank God that the money I received can be ised as a college fund for my daughter. I’m preparing for my last day with the house And years are flowing as I write this, but I am encouraged by the stories others have shared here. Thank you for proving a forum to share this real grief.

  27. Jane  August 27, 2020 at 8:21 pm Reply

    Our childhood home is due to be sold in 2 weeks when everything is finalised and it’s breaking my heart.
    My Dad died 2 years ago and my mum has moved into assisted living accommodation so the house is to be sold to pay for my mums care.
    I was born in the house just over 50 years ago and its filled with fun memories, love and security.
    I didn’t think I’d feel so bad but I cant stop crying. I’ve sobbed reading everyone’s stories on here.
    My little safe haven is going and I’m left in this big bad world! I also feel quite stupid for getting so upset over a house!!!
    It will get better….won’t it??

  28. Darline  August 24, 2020 at 3:51 pm Reply

    I live in the home that I was born and raised in, it was my grandparents home, it was the house on the block, (washington, DC). this house has be in my family for 65 years, our house was a safe haven for many friends in our neighborhood. For the past 7 yrs, I have been the caregiver for my aunt whom the house past down to after my grandparent passawy she pass in Jan. 2020. Now the house has pass down to me, I live in it, I love this house becuase its a part of me. However I am loney and afraid to stay in it by myself, it is way to big for one person. I want to sale but I am afraid of never be able to come back to see it again. I am 60 with no childrens and I was the caregiver for all the elders in my family, now I want to move on an enjoy the rest of my life while I can but I am so confuse about keeping the house of letting it go, I feel so guilty and depressed.

  29. Karina Brampton  June 9, 2020 at 10:03 pm Reply

    Hello, I read the first story comment about someone’s grandmothers’ home. Some of the suggestions given here, I did, when in 2018, with the sale of my late mother’s home, and under very emotional and traumatic circumstances, I finally had to move. In the days and months prior to the sale and post the sale (2019), I spoke to the rooms of that little three bedroom fibro cottage, and told those rooms to be “brave” as I knew that the new owner wouldn’t be caring or loving or considerate as he was a developer. I caressed the cracks in the fibro walls, and considered every weathered area of the house, as it stood on a corner block all 765 square metres of it, including the land. I still am working through the grief and sadness of losing the house, and of losing a great deal of money from the sale of the house. For so long, I had wanted to be the mistress of my own home, but now, I rent a one bedroom unit in a retirement village, where I don’t own anything, just my own chattels etc. It does help though, to know there are many people who have experienced the sadness and loss and grief about leaving their home, where they have lived for a long time, where the familiar sounds of the day and the night cannot really be replicated in another house, but would have its own sounds and idiosyncrasies, My late mother’s home must have been built in the late 1950’s and we came there in 1961. That is a very long time to live in such a house. My mum had given me permission to live there as long as I wanted to. Other forces had other ideas.

  30. Rebecca  May 20, 2020 at 12:49 am Reply

    I lost my husband 5 years ago and have been living with my parents. I am trying to clean out my house of all the stuff my husband left in an unknown storage unit. The house has has had plumbing problems since we moved in with two major water leaks. I have finally decided that I should probably move and build a new house with no problems. This decision is tearing me up. The thought of never being able to walk in the house we shared for 17 years is heartbreaking. I know I should be excited at getting to design my own house . This wouldn’t happen for at least a year or two and I need to do things while my parents are still in good health so they can help me but this just hurts. I hate that I can’t stay there. The maintenance is more than I can handle by myself.

  31. Darlene Fos  May 9, 2020 at 12:33 am Reply

    I am so happy/relieved to have found this site. I am about to sell a home that has been a rental for the last 8 years. I lived in it first with my ex-husband. After we divorced, he left me to pay for everything and I did. I worked hard and sacrificed to get things paid on time. During this time (7 years), I found a very peaceful time. Just me and my two furry kids (dogs). I did so many upgrades myself. Got so handy I have quite the collection of tools. I did a lot of finding myself and growing up/healing. We are getting it ready to sell and I couldn’t shake this feeling. Something wasn’t right. This anxiety kind of depression feeling started to nap me.. A tightening in my stomach would begin when on the way there to fix it up.. Finally, I just popped and found myself weeping and I realized it was grief. Just all of a sudden I just started weeping and just let the tears from flow down my face onto my chest. I had some difficult times in this house but also lots of peace/happiness. Such freedom and peace. I had NO idea I would experience this but now see it is normal and real. it’s almost like I’m leaving someone. How weird is that. I’m glad I am feeling this so I can at least deal with it and get past it. Thank you for everyone who shared.

  32. Emma  May 8, 2020 at 3:37 am Reply

    My grandmother passed the spring of my senior year of high school. That was just about 2 years ago now. She had moved to an assisted living facility but we had rented her house to help pay for her care. My family has had complications due to arguments over the family trust, but my mother is the one who is in charge of administering it. My aunt (who was the daughter in law), was made to inherit half of my grandmother’s trust and estate because my uncle took my grandmother in to sign paperwork while she wasn’t competent enough to do so. Her house meant the world to me, and I was hoping to maybe someday move in. The time has come where my aunt will not accept my parent’s offer to buy her share of the house, and we are about to put it on the market. I am devastated. It would be one thing to let the house go because we were unable to use it or cherish it, but for the reason of giving the house up to pay my aunt has hurt me immensely. I don’t know what I will do without knowing it is always there for me. I am thinking of going to take something to remember it by, but at this point after having renters there is not much left. I have a lamp that I always loved as a little girl and her piano, but it doesn’t feel right having these things without them being in their proper place.

  33. Leif Harmsen  March 20, 2020 at 12:42 pm Reply

    I am just bawling. I sounds like a coyote howling. My parents are in a retirement home now, finally, but I am selling the farm (because I have a new house in other city with my husband that we’re renovating) . But I grew up here and did so much work here and it has always been the one place that is always our home. Everything every rock, every baseboard, evey corner in every barn, the crows, they’re all calling out to me begging me not to go. I feel so guilty. This house has been so good to me throughout all time. At one point it was my whole world, the known universe. My brain says sell. My heart is screaming for me not to. It hurts so much to keep this appointment. It feels so wrong. I just signed with selling agent today.

    • Max  December 24, 2020 at 7:58 am Reply

      It’s possible I am the first man to post here. Not that should matter. I am grieving the loss of a home that I only lived in for 5 years. Even as I write, I feel the ridiculousness of this taking many of the other posts here into account. This was not my childhood home. But it was a beautiful home that I provided for my wife, my two little daughters, my mother in law, and my aunt. It was a Cape, with a pretty red roof, a nice multi-windowed home, a lovely family room with large windows, and a sliding glass door that opened to a garden. It was built in the 50s, custom built, with only the original owner to the title when we bought it in 2014. It’s been a couple of years since we had to move out, a result of losing my job. I have moments during which a memory of a room, or looking out a window, or even having to unclog the upstairs bath sink for the umpteenth time, bring me close to tears. I don’t get it, this sadness. My mom passed away many years ago. There was grief then. This here was a house, that compared to what others have shared here, I hardly ever lived in. Yet, each memory hits me in the pit of my stomach.
      Maybe it’s because we live in a tiny cramped 70’s ranch now. And my girls have to settle for less. I don’t know, it just really hurts. I wish I had tried harder to keep the home. That’s what it was, even though we lived a short time there, it was our home. I am 48, have a wonderful wife, and wonderful girls I adore immensely. So perhaps, cut my loss, and it’s time to move on.

      • Sandra  December 11, 2021 at 12:40 am

        You are perfectly normal feeling this, it’s grief, you can grieve anything. I am going through the same thing we are going to be selling my moms home in the new year and it’s killing me, all the memories, all the rooms, I can picture at the front door, greeting us when we would visit, it’s very hard to let go. You are perfectly normal and cry if you have to also normal.

  34. julie  February 14, 2020 at 3:17 am Reply

    I ran across this article and my heart almost stopped.I feel some consolation that there are others that are just as devastated as I am over losing a childhood home. Maybe I am not going crazy. I lost my dad January 2019. My mom passed away almost 20 years prior. I have a brother and sister who live out of town. My dad was diagnosed with Parkinsons disease only two years prior to his passing. I was the one sibling in town to take care of him.. My brother and sister thought I was overmedicating my dad and accused me of changing his will. I was the trustee of the estate. Nothing was changed. My brother and sister stoped all communication with me and on recommendations from the lawyer how had to step in and help settle the estate- when it came time to divide my dads estate three ways, he recommended I turn the house over to my brother and sister . For 20 years after my mom passed, I would stop by his house after work and discuss our day, I would help in the yard, we would sit on the roof and watch fireworks. He had been in that house for over 50 years. It was the house I grew up in. I was not allowed on the property when my brother and sister took possession of the home. Any of my possessions that remained in theme had to stay there , that was the agreement the lawyer had set up. They placed it on the market and sold it for a lot more that it was appraised for. I drove by it one day and a big dumpster was in the driveway and I could see that the inside was being gutted. I can no longer go by the house. I am devastated. I lost my dad, my brother and sister no longer communicate and the home I have known all my life is gone. Sometimes there are days when I do not know how to go on. I have my family, my husband and children but I am so mad at myself for not preparing for the future and save so I could have pruchached the home from my siblings. My husband says he would not have wanted to live in a home where my parents passed away, but it could have been a great home to remodel. I feel a little consolation that there are others out there that have the same despair over losing a family home. I keep thinking that there has to be some way I can get it back, or purchase it in the future. I wish there was some way I could stop thinking about it. I don’t think the pain of losing the house will ever go away. It always brings tears just thinking about it. Thank you for having a wonderful article. I really think that these feelings are something that are more prevalent in our society and are rarely discussed. My only hope is that time will lessen the sadness I have over losing my childhood home.

  35. Amy  January 8, 2020 at 5:54 am Reply

    This spoke to me directly. I live in London, and I lost my grandmother in October. Exactly one month later her house burned down in the Australian bush fires. I have been preparing for her death since for what feels like my whole life so I have been handling that relatively well, but to have lost our home so suddenly and completely has rattled me. Just knowing it no longer exists along with her hurts. While I’m so grateful she didn’t see her home of over 70 years destroyed I feel like it was part of her, but a part that I would have at least in my mind. My thoughts of it are interrupted with the realisation it is all now ash.

  36. Nanci Harvey  June 21, 2019 at 6:18 pm Reply

    Every summer we went to the cottage on Lake of Bays. It was my moms sisters cottage but they had built a small one room cottage on the property. We went every weekend and for two weeks in the summer when my dad had his vacation. I had other uncles and aunts that had cottages very close by so all summer I was with family. I loved this cottage so much from the time I was a little baby all through the troubled teen years it was a refuge for me. I brought my own kids there too and showed them all the things I had done. I never thought that as my aunt and uncle that owned the cottage, would become to old to keep going the 2/12 hours from Toronto. It was the cottage it just was. So it came as a shock to hear that they were selling the land and cottages!!! Somehow as an adult I should have seen it coming by this time my aunt and uncle were in a retirement home! I grieve this place so much, I miss it in the way, I miss my mom and dad ,I guess it’s all mixed together. Hard to think of one without the other. My dad was a different person there as my mom was. I look at pictures and as much as I love the memories they hurt too! My kids won’t get to grow up there as I did.

  37. Tiina M. Harris  June 11, 2019 at 9:55 am Reply

    Just sold the home my grandfather built on 34 acres. The most beautiful place I’ve ever known. I bought the home 13 year ago. After a painful divorce I stuck it out with my two children for ten years. My grandfather recently died at 100. He was one of those powerful forces that you never forget. He was father figure and one of my most favorite people in the world. He created this paradise for our family to visit year after year and I being the sentimental one bought it when he needed to downsize for my grandmother It’s about 20 minutes from my job which isn’t far but driving back and forth sometimes twice a day is tough. I thought by now I’d be remarried and sharing it with someone. The house had a hold on me. Don’t know how to describe it. My grandfather’s memory is everywhere. I closed on the house yesterday and he died two months ago. Two big losses in a short time. For me, my family history and identity are wrapped up in that beautiful place. At 50 it’s the only home I’ve known (I moved a lot as a child) and now I feel homeless (renting until I can find a house). Somehow turning 50 has become a critical point. I’ve watched my grandfather die and I know the brevity of life. What do I want the next 20-30 years if I am that fortunate. Is it the house and the property. Are there other adventures to had. The house takes all my resources. There are no trips, yoga classes or extra fun things I can afford. The house consumed me and the future work seemed overwhelming. I sold it with the intent to make more room for me but how is that possible when I just felt like I lost myself. Yesterday was so painful. Feel very alone.

    • Sarah  October 16, 2019 at 4:50 pm Reply

      Hi Tiina,
      I see you and I feel for you. I also turned 50 this year and am now selling my home of 23 years. It is the only home I’ve been in my adult life, bought with my ex-husband (kept the house and the debt in the divorce…turns out that was not a good financial move). It was built in 1870 and I’ve lovingly renovated it. However, a few job changes require I sell now and face life anew, with no permanent home. I also feel lost.
      I am sorry for the loss of your family home and your grandfather. Hold tight to the memories that serve you well with us for our support and love. Take this opportunity to do new things for yourself. I also feel my house took all my resources and time. We will feel the loss for sure, but must remember to explore new freedoms in order to fully realize what we can gain through this transition. You sharing your story helped me, so thank you.

  38. Lisa Provost  June 7, 2019 at 11:42 am Reply

    I’m just now seeing this article. I lost both of my parents in 2017, 6 weeks apart. I was their caregiver and I lived there in the apartment upstairs, in the house I grew up in. The house my grandfather built. We had to sell it this past year and it not only almost rendered me homeless but it was the last straw for me in a series of big losses. I had a nervous breakdown and I will never get over losing that home, never. I can’t even go back on that street to visit a relative, I can’t be that close to the house or look at it. I can never go and visit there, it’ll send me over the edge. I haven’t been doing well in every way since leaving my home so it was the straw that broke my back as far as I’m concerned. We tried everything for me to keep that house but it wasn’t possible.

    • Sarah  October 16, 2019 at 4:55 pm Reply

      Lisa, I am sorry for the loss of your parents and the home your grandfather built. It is a lot to handle and I understand you feel the losses so deeply. Proud of you for carrying on and sharing your story. Thank you. Blessings,

  39. Eldavia  June 6, 2019 at 11:38 am Reply

    My husband died in October. Just as he was about to retire. We had built our dream home and acreage together from the ground up over the past 28 years. There were still projects he wanted to do when he retired. But this place is too big for me to handle by myself It’s a bit remote and the winters can be isolating. I decided even before he was gone that I would have to leave it. I love it enough not to want it to be neglected. Not that there is any guarantee that new owners will keep it up. So now I have a month left before I say goodbye. It’s all happening so fast. Selling off his things. The tools he used to build this place. The sporting goods he enjoyed. The car he cherished Erasing him piece by piece. I will spread some of his ashes here and try to share w new owners our story. Our names are stamped in the concrete . Looking at houses to move to is hard. None of them will ever be our home. Too busy and scared to let myself feel all there is too feel. Like his illness, It will hit me afterwards. Another big grief on its way.

    • Sarah  October 16, 2019 at 4:58 pm Reply

      I am sorry for the loss of your husband. I hope that you are settling into a new place. It’s such a loss to lose a loved one, and the physical things and places we shared with our loved ones do hold such meaning. Thank you for sharing your story. I wish you all the best.

  40. Tom  May 16, 2019 at 1:38 pm Reply

    While I agree about visiting old houses, be careful about it. My childhood home was completely gutted and practically rebuilt. My dad went to visit it and regretted it. He said he would have preferred to picture it the way it was.

    • Tracey  November 15, 2020 at 9:02 am Reply

      Wise advice!

      “Never go back to a place where you have been happy. Until you do it remains alive for you. If you go back it will be destroyed.” – Agatha Christie

      “Never go back to the place where you were once happy, as much as your heart tells you to, do not do as it says”. – Rui Veloso

      • Joy Hoffmann  May 13, 2021 at 11:03 am

        I bought a house on my own after the death of my husband.
        I remodeled it and it was perfect because it was a ranch and a perfect house in which to grow old.
        I remarried and moved to another city and rented the house.
        I still do not know why I decided to sell my house.
        But I did and have been in mourning as if I lost a dear friend.
        My second husband died and I moved back to where my house was located.
        It has now been valued at a huge amount that I can not afford even if it was for sale.
        I cry ant time I go near the neighborhood and every time I even think about how really self destructive I was to sell it
        I now live in a small condo which is nice but…I cannot bear the memories.
        I know I have to move on but the emotional pain is so real and difficult.
        I keep saying ,” it is just a thing”

  41. Cadfan.  April 5, 2019 at 5:31 pm Reply

    We had a lovely home . A beautiful huge garden at the back. A biggish garden at the front. An ex council home, we had to do it uIp. It included putting in a bathroom. I loved every inch of it. Each plant was planted. Each wall painted/renovated or re done in some way. We left because of lots of reasons including health, but mainly due to community issues which became difficult for my husband to cope with. It was the first house I ever felt a part of. I miss it so much. It isn’t worth leaving a house you love if you can help it. I didn’t expect to grieve for a home, like I am now.

  42. Deb R  March 12, 2019 at 11:22 am Reply

    I realized that losing my home to bank fraud back in 2011 has really messed with my ability to feel safe. Everything about saving for 10 years and losing it to unethical business practices has led me to be to scared to ever love a home again. I realized I still hate Chase bank as I read your article. I hate the legal system for giving them a slap on the wrist and allowing such pitiful compensation to happen that I and 1000’s of others didn’t even get half of my down payment back. How do you heal when you can’t have a place of your own or that anyone can and will take it at any time? That loss wiped me out so completely that I am too tired and too old to rebuild, so I just rent until I die. I even used my small retirement savings to try to save my house. Sometimes I wonder if living in my car would feel safer because at least I own that. I grieve my home.

    • Pat  November 2, 2019 at 10:20 pm Reply

      I am so sorry for your loss of your home, and more importantly, your loss of hope for the future. I lost my dream farm a few weeks ago. It sold at a foreclosure auction for pennies on the dollar. I am renting now. I feel the trauma, it’s kind of a shell shock, and I know I have much grieving left to do. But I have hope. I have a plan to build my credit back and buy another home within 2 years. But I need a few things from the new place. I need to be able to pay it off in 10 years, and I am 60 now. When I turn 70 I can get my full social security. And all I want to be paying for my home by then will be the property taxes. It’s a tall order, but here in Vermont it can be done because properties can be had for very little money if you choose carefully. I mention all this because I hope my personal hope for the future might be shared with you a little. I feel bad that you are giving up on your dream. Please don’t give up, research options, pull up the Multiple Listing Service and look at houses. What’s out there that is small, or maybe a mobile, or a duplex so the renter covers the mortgage. And maybe you have looked at it from every angle. But my wish for you is to keep looking and eventually find something with a low enough price and low enough property taxes. I don’t know you, but that is my wish for you. I’m starting over at 59. But I still have hope. Best wishes to you.

  43. Jennifer Parker  May 15, 2018 at 2:32 pm Reply

    My parents left one of the houses out family lived in for some years. Though it wasn’t where I spent my childhood, I’ve been badly grieving the loss of this house. The circumstances are not ideal. My parents moved to a different state and left the old house for sale. Irresponsibly my father is choosing to let the house foreclose and myself and my siblings arent able to buy the home. Additionally I live across the country and am not able to visit the house before it is confiscated by the bank. AND there is a basement filled with remnants of the past.

  44. Jennifer Parker  May 15, 2018 at 2:32 pm Reply

    My parents left one of the houses out family lived in for some years. Though it wasn’t where I spent my childhood, I’ve been badly grieving the loss of this house. The circumstances are not ideal. My parents moved to a different state and left the old house for sale. Irresponsibly my father is choosing to let the house foreclose and myself and my siblings arent able to buy the home. Additionally I live across the country and am not able to visit the house before it is confiscated by the bank. AND there is a basement filled with remnants of the past.

  45. Melinda  October 25, 2016 at 2:06 pm Reply

    Wow, this makes me so sad. My stepfather chose to sell the home that I spent most of my most important years in and I’m still grieving the loss, especially since the new owners (who have only lived there for a year) have now decided to sell it again. When I recently saw “Pending Sale” on a website showing my home, I wanted to cry.

    I miss so many things about it, although I was unhappy when I actually lived in it, due to my stepfather’s abuse.
    But it was still a beautiful home with a lot of charm. I miss looking up at the stars in the night sky with my mother; I miss the old-fashioned beauty of the house itself. I feel like once again, something special has been taken away from me and I’ll never be able to replace it.

    I’ve seen a lot of the same tips about taking pictures, items, etc. to preserve memories…but what can you do if you are unable to do that?
    My former home is in a gated community and I’m not sure I will be able to ever see it again, let alone do any of those things.
    I wasn’t able to do it before the home was sold in 2014 either. I already suffer from depression and this is just another blow.

  46. Kim  January 16, 2016 at 8:46 am Reply

    My father passed away in October 2014 and I have spent the past year cleaning out his home, which was also his parents home…its been in our family for over 80 years. It was not possible to keep the home as there are other family members involved. It was cathartic in a way, but also very painful. Finding long hidden treasures of my grandmothers, seeing the pencil notches on the wall, marking the heights of the children and grandchildren, recalling the stretchy cheese sandwiches and lemon lettuce my grandmother would make for my cousin and I each summer we visited. Letters that have been filed away for decades, old technology that kept the front rom in a time warp of sorts. My dad changed very little in his parents farm house…

    I just signed the papers this past week to sell the home, and while I have a sense of relief that it’s done, I will forever be sad that we were unable to keep the old, 1920s farmhouse that was a huge part of not only my childhood, but many many others who spent time at The Pardi’s… My husband took many photographs over the past year of the home and just recently shared them with me.

    No matter how far I may travel from Boulder Colorado, there will always be a part of my heart at 1503 Cedar Avenue…

  47. Tracy  January 16, 2016 at 1:02 am Reply

    I have a torn heart. I have a wee place of my own now for a year and through difficult circumstances, losing my dad, the horrid actions of his partner throwing away/giving away his belongings without asking or consideration of me or my family… I am now in the position of owning his house. I love it, he worked so hard to have this nice home and we shared many good memories, as well in the latter months some bad ones that had to do with her, not my dad. So it is empty, hollow now, a house without a soul. Everywhere I look in this cavernous house I see & hear my dad. It hurts to know he won’t come back to it or to me. I need to make a decision as I can’t keep both. I wonder if I furnish it, put in my personal things along with the few of his that I do have I will feel better about it? Maybe I will find some peace and feel connected instead of so disconnected? A move is required, so is a lifestyle change as it is more in the suburbs with nature than the busy city? Think I’m having a mid life crisis!

    • Melinda  October 25, 2016 at 2:26 pm Reply

      Hi Tracy,

      I know you wrote your comment months ago but I wanted to tell you that I’m sorry for the loss of your father.
      I think you should do what feels right to you, if you haven’t made the decision already.
      Only you can determine what will make you feel better. Your idea about moving into the old house and decorating it sounds great! I wish I could do the same with my former home, so you are lucky in that sense.

      And I can relate to the bit about disliking your dad’s partner, because I feel that way about my mother’s husband.
      He is not a nice person and I believe he will do the same thing with my mom’s things someday if she dies before he does. He doesn’t care about anyone but himself. It is never easy when our parents choose selfish partners, but it happens.

      One more thought…although your dad is no longer with you, he really is all around you. His spirit is still there and I’m sure he would want you to be happy no matter what.

      • Tracy  September 10, 2019 at 2:45 am

        Ah Melinda, thank you for the lovely message. I stumbled across this article once again and have read the most recent comments and found my own words and yours. I am slowly redecorating, though a weird sense of guilt comes over me, as though I shouldn’t be, it is hard to describe, guilt I guess?……If you happen to stumble on the article again, I can only encourage you to talk to your mom about what is precious to you, how you want to remember her etc before her husband takes control. I wish I had, but it so difficult to bring up such a sensitive topic especially about possessions as it seems so materialistic, but sometimes, it really is the little things that matter the most, that are insignificant to someone else that we treasure most.

  48. Anonymous  January 15, 2016 at 11:27 am Reply

    I am definitely going through this right now. I inherited my dad and step mother’s home. They lived there for a significant amount of time and put a lot of hard work and effort into it. I never lived there with them and I don’t feel that sort of attachment to the house. My half- siblings grew up there and it was in their mother’s family passed down from their grandmother. So there is history there. Complicated to explain as to how it was left to me, and even more complicated comes the emotions of settling an estate. The house was not the same without my dad or step mom being there. I felt wrong being there without them. I am grieving the loss of them which I feel I am at peace with as much as I can be. I am having a harder time letting go of their belongings which feels like letting them go piece by piece. It’s overwhelming. I am pretty much on my own with this as my family has fallen apart since they day they died. The home is not geographically close to me, being an hour and a half away. I will be moving across the country in a month. I have given family members who have still been in contact with me items they have wanted and I think having an auction is the next step once I remove the items I want. It would be too painful for me to see each item go one by one. It’s time to move forward, and thank goodness I’ve been able to do it on my own time frame. I am thankful they left the home to me, but it does not suit my needs at this point in my life. I’ve spent a lot of time there and it has been peaceful and painful at the same time. It’s a completely different vibe from when they lived there. Every time I go there I feel like I keep picking at a scab it has taken longer to heal.

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