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Farewell Blessing For A House

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Kathy dear, in another post last Thursday you said, ". . . today I made an offer on another home. It is much smaller, so I will have to give away a lot of our furniture and 'stuff,' and really downsize. That's when I think some of the darkest days will occur. Days when I have to say goodbye to things that were part of him. Of course, it will also be hard moving into somewhere we have never been together. I feel like I have been with him my whole life and this is all so strange and empty now . . ."

Then in your post last night you said, "I made an offer on a new, smaller house on Thursday and I withdrew the offer today. I just could not bear the thought of packing up and giving away so many things that we got together . . . I do know that I have to move somewhere because I cannot afford to stay here much longer."

I don't know where you are right now with this huge decision, and I know you need to take whatever time you need to make it ~ but when the time is right, you may find it helpful to construct a ritual around saying goodbye to the home you shared with your husband.

I want to share with you (and with others reading this) something I happened to find in a newsletter I received over the weekend. This piece was created for a widower who was struggling with his decision to leave the home he'd shared with his deceased wife, and I thought of you when I read it. (Please note that this is written from a Catholic perspective, but it can be altered and adapted to suit anyone's spiritual belief system.)

Click on the link to download the attached file:


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Marty - - Thank you so much for thinking about me and for sending me this blessing. It is really beautiful.

My big problem is making - and sticking to, decisions. I think that my Arizona realtor is completely fed up with me and I don't blame her. I believe that my brother-in-law and sister-in-law feel the same way. I just keep changing my mind. One day I think that the best thing (and easiest) would be to stay right here in Arizona and find a smaller house in an adult community. I will be 65 next month and think that I might feel more comfortable around people my own age. The next day, I want to live close to where Stephen is buried. I know that he is not really there, but I feel compelled to go to his grave. I have been there twice now since he was buried in January and I am going back next month.

I live in this house as if it were a cave. I keep all the blinds closed and I really don't want to have any face-to-face interactions with any one. There are really no happy memories here because Stephen was sick from the day we moved in. In fact, he was so ill when we sold our house that we tried to get out of the contract because I didn't think that I could get all our belongings and Stephen here by myself. We had planned to rent this house for only a few months while we looked for another one. That was four years ago. I am not staying here because I like the house or the memories. I am staying just because it is the easiest thing to do right now, and I question every decision I make. The problem is that the rent here is high and each month I have to hit the savings account to stay here. I can't go on doing that forever.

I think about Ft. Worth, where Stephen is buried and where his family lives, and I think about tornados, ice storms and rain. On the plus side, I also think about Stephen's brother and sister. His sister was with me through the dark days after I brought Stehen home from the hospital. She never left my side. Just before he died, Stephen's esophagus began to bleed and for the next 24 hours, Becky took turns with me taking the blood out of Stephen's mouth so that he wouldn't drown in it. After Stephen died, Becky did everything. She made the arrangements here, made the travel arrangements to take Stephen back to Ft. Worth and made all the arrangements in Ft. Worth. This was Stephen's baby sister who adored her brother and must have been suffering terribly from her own grief. I will never forget what she did for me and I would love to live somewhere where I could see her and be near her. I feel the same way about Stephen's brother. He has spent all his free time trying to find me a suitable house in a suitable neighborhood. He calls or e-mails me every day, even though it has been almost four months since Stephen died. He was even so worried about me that he got an application for an apartment, sent it to me and told me that he would fly up here and help me move to the apartment in Ft. Worth right away, so that I could take my time and find a house that I would like. I think about all that Stephen's family has done for me and I don't want to disappoint them by not moving to Ft. Worth.

Then I think about the beautiful Arizona weather. I would never not be able to drive here because of ice, fog, storms and all that is in Ft. Worth. Life here is easy. There are supermarkets and drugstores on every corner. I would not have to drive my poor cats across the country. I would not have to find a new doctor, get a new driver's license, and all the other details that are entailed in moving out of state.

I am trying consider everything and in fact, I am becoming paralyzed with indecision. I know that I have to move in any case, the question in my mind is really where. Especially, when I feel like I don't belong anywhere.

Thank you for listening and thank you for being here. I can't get over the kindness that I find here. This site has saved me many times.


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Hi Kathy,

I know my situation is not the same as yours in the fact I lost my parents and you lost your husband but I had to move out of my house that I shared with my parents for twenty six years and found it really hard to get rid of things that were my parents... For example my mom's scooter and her cane, there were many other things that had to go as well... My siblings put the house on the market shortly after my dad died in July and the house sold in October of the same year... I was out of the house as of November 1st... My mom died April 18th and dad died August 25th of the year 2005...I left all the memories behind in the house.. I was having a really hard time with losing the house as well as many other things so she told me to make a scrapbook of the house and to take a picture of every room and when I felt down and sad to bring it out and look at it and do some remembering but than put it away and go on with my day... I did this for about two years and slowly the book does not come out anymore... I still have it so if I need it I can use it... Shelley

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Dear Kathy,

I was told long ago that not making a decision is making a decision to stay where you are at. Maybe that is what you need right now, until you are able to go through things and pack and sort and give away. I had to dip into a big chunk of my savings during my unemployment after Bob died, just to pay for our health insurance. It was scary to do that, and I knew I couldn't do it for long, but it was what we needed and it bought me time to do some extensive grief work. Writing out a list of pros and cons also helps me in making big decisions. It's good to see it down on paper. Anything you can think of should go on the list, especially feelings.

It's really difficult to make any decision while you are grieving your spouse. Not having that person to bounce things off of is extremely tough. I wish you the best as you decide. I'm glad you have the support of your husband's family. They sound really wonderful.

Take care,


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Thank you very much for the link.

I know, not right now, that I will be selling my home. I also need to downsize. It won't be for at least 3-4 years. The home I presently live in is actually my family's home that I grew up in. I moved from this house when I was 30 and lived on my own in an apartment. I then met Alex and we lived in that apartment. When the apartment became too small for us, we decided to move back in my family's home. It's a two-family and my father moved in the apartment downstairs and Alex and I took the bigger apartment. We moved back in my family's home in 1995. My father passed away in 2004 and we rented the apartment hie was living in. I know that Alex always said that if anything ever happened to me that he would not be able to live in the house. For me it is a little different; being that I grew up in the house. But I do know that eventually I will have to sell. There are many steps and the upkeep of the my home is so hard when you are all by yourself. Also, I have a tenant and there are always demands put on you when you collect rent. I have slowly been throwing out things that I know I will never use. I know right now it is going to be hard to leave my home, because I feel that I will be leaving Alex behind. When I told a friend of mine this, she said with a little humor, which made me laugh: "why don't you just take him with you". I do agree that when I do buy another place that it will not be a place that Alex and I shared. I guess this is something that I will have to deal with.


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Now that this topic is explored...

I am dreading the day when I will have to give up my home. It is where I raised my kids, where I spent the best years of my life, where George and I lived, where his ashes are scattered. John put me heavily into debt against my home, to the point where I know I won't be able to retire here, as I can't afford the payments on social security, and my retirement accounts took a huge nosedive lately, as it did with the rest of the country.

A comment made in this thread gave me the idea...when the time comes that I have to leave this place, I will dig up the soil where my George's ashes lay, and I will take some of it with me, maybe put into a planter for my new place, where he can help nurture something I can look at and think of him. Somehow that brings me comfort. As for the memories and the animals, I can't do anything about that, but at least I can have part of my beloved with me wherever I go. At the time I scattered his ashes here, I had no idea I'd ever have to leave here...it is hard because I wanted my kids to scatter my ashes with his...perhaps they can sneak back and do that when my time comes. ;)

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Kay, that is heartbreaking. Can you take a little extra soil from where George's ashes are and put it somewhere safe. When it's your time to be with George again, could your kids scatter both of you together? I know it's not how you wanted it to be, but that might help?

Boo xxx

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My dear friend

don't feel bad about not making a decision. Take as much time as you need. I took longer to decide which car to buy, seriously, I am not exaggerating. In the end, I had to get a Manager (who is very analytical) to talk to the car dealership via telecon whilst I sat there like a mute child. Long story short ... I have the right car for me now and don't regret my decision.

So take your time. It sounds like Stephen's brother is being much more supportive now, thank God. Good ... you have that. Weigh up the pro's and con's. Get someone analytical to approach this with you. Take your time.

love and hugs


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I've told my kids to put my ashes with his when my time comes, they will always remember where he is whether it's marked or not, whether we're living there or not. He is my soulmate and we belong together, even if it is figurative.

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