Grief isn't always about death, but it's always about loss. It can come in many different forms like the end of a relationship, loss of job, loss of health and more. It's important to be aware of this so you take care of your mental health when it arises.
In this particular conversation, I want to talk about it in the form of selling a cherished home. It's not quite a loss that's out of your control because you're actively selling it, so it can be easier for most but still difficult for others. Both realities are valid and every situation or level of attachment is unique. In my experience it was extremely difficult and I want to talk about it in hopes of helping others who might be feeling the same way too. There’s one main thing that I want you to remember: Saying goodbye to a cherished home is a form of loss. It may bring up grief and that’s completely normal.
THE BACKGROUND STORY
This past September, we said goodbye to our family home of 20 years. This was the home I grew up in. This home had deep ties to loved ones that we’ve lost over the years. Between 2014 and 2019 my mother, grandmother, and both childhood pets passed away. If you’ve ever lost a loved one you know that there are items you keep for sentimental value. There are items that you can’t bear to part with, let alone a whole entire home.
WHY CAN IT FEEL OVERWHELMING?
Change is often scary and adjustment TAKES TIME.
Letting go is never easy but it’s a crucial step that helps with healing and moving on. Personally, it was harder for me during the time leading up to the closing date. It was the anticipation that brought on stress. After the closing date and fully moving into my new home, it was much easier to let go and mentally move on.
It can be physical and mentally exhausting.
Moving means you have to decide what to keep and discard. This kind of decision-making, especially for long periods of time can be draining and exhausting.
HOW TO COPE WHEN IT GETS OVERWHELMING:
Put it on pause.
If you are in a time crunch and have limited storage, making fast decisions on what to keep or discard may lead to regret. So for items that you are unsure of, especially if they’re sentimental, keep them in a box that you can sort through in the future when you are in a better headspace.
Take care of yourself.
Be kind and gentle when you’re having a bad day. For me, I was extremely exhausted (both mentally and physically). Moving is a lot of work! Instead of beating myself up about it, I told myself that it was completely normal and to allow myself to slow down and take it easy.
Talk it out.
Lean on your support system or talk to a professional.
Everyone deals with things differently.
If you are going through this experience with siblings or parents, don’t expect them to be processing it the same way as you. I felt like I was experiencing it much more strongly than my dad and brother, but that was okay and I still leaned on them for support.
The house is just a structure.
The most important thing is the memories that were made there. Those memories will never be taken away from you.
New memories await!
You were able to create beautiful memories there BUT that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to create beautiful memories in your new home or new chapter of your life. Saying goodbye can be sad, but it doesn’t have to be. Moving on can mean exciting things are on their way to you.
Grief starts with love.
This is a bittersweet one. You HAD a home to create beautiful memories in. If you didn’t have the home with the memories, it wouldn’t feel hard to say goodbye. This level of gratitude can feel super odd sometimes because the pain of grief is still tied to it. But it is still gratitude nonetheless. You can acknowledge the gratitude at the same time as feeling the crappiness of grief.
It may help to take as many as you want of the home in any state that it’s in, even during the moving process. Take selfies and pictures with your family and friends to commemorate.
I hope this helps and if you find yourself really struggling, don’t be afraid to get professional help. Sending you love!