A Love Letter to Our Home

Seano and I bought and sold a home in April. The main reason for our move was functionality. It had nothing do with lack of love or fondness for our house. We were crowded and the layout wasn’t working for for us anymore. Probably like most people, we despise the moving process. So, we set out to find a house that we can live in for the rest of our lives if we choose to. Luckily, and very quickly, I might add, we did!

While helping us move at the beginning of April, Chelse mentioned we should write a love letter to the house Seano and I had lived in for nearly the last five years. I giggled and quickly brushed it off as I was busy moving and unpacking boxes. Then, later in the evening, our dear friend Jessi said that our friendship grew up in that house, and she was right (some of the friendships I treasure most are with a group of ladies that I met and started friendships with about the same time Seano and I bought this house). This statement sent a rush of emotions through me and I was finally able to admit to myself that my heart hurt to be leaving this house.

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I started wondering how I had become so attached to a house and why. I know I am sentimental, but this seemed a little bonkers to me. We didn’t even hit our five year anniversary there. And, we had already found and were moving into a house that we were over-the-moon-excited-about. So, why was I so sad to be leaving 771?

Grieving for a house is not something I expected to do. I’m not even sure grieving is the right word, but it is the closest one I can find. After all, a house is just a tangible, replaceable item. But as I started to think about it, I realized it isn’t like other items we possess. There are many family things that have been passed down to me and I feel sentimental about them.  While I would be sad if I lost these items, I don’t think I would feel like a piece of me was missing. A house is a physical thing and a home is its sentimental equivalent. A home is a place we always come back to; it holds the people we love most; it is dependable in a crazy, fast moving world; and there are so many memories and moments attached to it. This was our home and I will always have a special place for it in my heart.

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So once I acknowledged that, I knew I needed to grieve for the loss of our home. I tried to think of why I was sad we were moving and of what that home meant to me. I tried to tell myself that even though we were leaving the physical house, my memories were my own to keep. But none of this made me feel any better. It was like I just never could fully process and let out the feelings I was experiencing. I wasn’t sure if my heart didn’t want to let me or if I just needed to stay in motion so that I didn’t sink during this busy time. I started thinking about Chelse’s idea and I thought, maybe, a love letter was the perfect way to let it go and to separate the physicality of the house from the sentimentality of our home.

Dear 771,

You were a good home. You let my family make memories we will have for a lifetime. Thank you.

Over the last five years, you have held so many of the people and memories I treasure. You have been a constant in the rolling hills of life. I always knew you held my favorite smiles and open arms to come home to. Looking back today, it’s like these years have been on fast forward and I can’t seriously comprehend that it is time to go. While I’m blessed to take my memories and loved ones with me, leaving you is leaving a piece of myself behind. It’s closing a chapter that I’m not really sure I’m ready to close.

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You have watched one of the greatest friendships I have never known blossom. The other night when Jessi said our friendship grew up in you, she was right. In our early days, we were a group of young women taking “real” chocolate cake shots, jumping on couches, and partying until the wee hours of the morning. Somehow, we became wives, mothers, and excelling professionals (not saying we don’t still enjoy a good couch jump here and there). We bonded during snow storms, celebrated joys and victories, and cried with each other during times of heartache. Your walls know our secrets and held our photos.

Something else very special grew within you. Love between a husband and wife. Luckily, this is a love that I have so much trust and confidence in that I know it will continue to grow wherever we are. But it flourished within you and a foundation was built for the many years I know are to come. When I was searching for strength to leave you, Seano said, “You know the boy and I will go anywhere with you.” This filled my heart and was a reminder of the love I am a part of. While you have been a big part of this love, I know it resides most within us. And that gives me the courage to take the next step.

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But, you are most difficult to leave because you are where I brought my baby boy home to. I took maternity photos each week next to one of your trees, decorated my first nursery in your north bedroom, nursed my growing boy each night looking at the stars through your windows, and held my baby’s first birthday party in your backyard. It should also be noted that you saw me get pooped on and slapped for the first time E.V.E.R. in my life. These are memories I will have forever and was able to create because of you.

I know some may think it is silly to grieve a home. But you are a piece of our memories and moments together. I only hope you are as good to the next family who is lucky to live within your walls. And I hope they are also good to you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

With All My Love,

Kerstin

P.S. I’m so happy I will get to see you everyday on my drive to work. It makes leaving you a little easier. And, every time we go by, I will tell N you are where we lived when he was born.

Has anyone else grieved for a house? Please tell me I’m not crazy!

4 thoughts on “A Love Letter to Our Home

  1. You are definitely NOT crazy. We have lived in our spacious, new, hopefully forever house for six months now and I still miss our tiny first house (189), and our even tinier rental house (2471) before that. Some days I feel like I’m just on vacation and wonder when it will entirely feel like ours. I wake up expecting to see the green walls.

    2471 was where we called it quits to infertility treatments and started the adoption process. We adopted our last two pets there and lived in a fabulous established neighborhood. Our landlord was amazing and was slowly remodeling the house, her childhood home. We still hope to go back and see what she has done.

    189 was OUR first house. It was bigger than our rental and had the most amazing view of Casper Mountain from the gazebo deck off the back. I fell in love with the small table the previous owner built out of an old door, with a faux crystal handle. That was the house we hoped to have kiddos in and slowly tackled remodel projects. 189 had rooms in every color of the rainbow, which we found refreshing after living in white walled rentals. We repainted to colors of our liking but it still looked the the paint aisle exploded!

    189 was the house we waited in, for a phone call we started believing was never coming. A house we finally accepted would just hold us and the pets. The house we are fairly certain had a wide open and unlocked door when B rushed to get me and go to the hospital to meet our surprise. The house with the crowded living room of family waiting to meet him. The house where we celebrated his first 3 birthdays, 2 in the big backyard and the last stuffed in that cozy living room due to rain in July. The house where he learned to crawl, walk, and talk. The house where the back fence blew down on Thanksgiving, when I was home alone with a 4-month old and a crazy dog who ran around the block to the front door. The house where we mourned and grieved the finality of never being pregnant when I had my hysterectomy.

    We knew we needed more space for our quickly growing boy and a kitchen with space for a kitchen table so he could learn table manners! We hated the physical location and the 20 minute drive to work or the town amenities we use. (We love the space, the garage, the 3 bathrooms and 3 spacious bedrooms in our new house.)

    The day we signed the papers and gave the keys to the new owners, I’m sure I left huge tear stains on the original 1950s hardwood floors, which we know they changed. We mourned knowing that it would no longer be owner occupied and that renters may not love it or care for it as much as we did. We are also fairly certain it now has plain, boring, rental colored walls.

    It is hard to do drive-bys since it isn’t close to our work or home, but sometimes I do. Once X caught me and looked out the window saying “That’s the old house. We aren’t moving back, are we?” Although there have been a few times he has asked about the old house, so I think he misses it too. On our way back into town from vacation two weeks ago we passed it, and I felt the urge to turn left at the light to go “home” rather than driving straight and on to our “real” home.

    We know that a single mom lives at 189 with her 4 kids, which blows our minds how five people are managing in a 3-bd/1 ba house that we were exploding out of. I’m curious to drive by later this summer after they put up their swing set in the backyard, a right of passage we didn’t take since knew we wouldn’t be there forever and didn’t want to move one.

    1. Thank you for confirming I am NOT crazy Jenn! You also reminded me that there are so many exciting times ahead and that we will make many, probably more, memories in our new home. I hadn’t really thought about what it will be like if the new owners make changes to the home until recently. On a walk, we noticed they already ripped out our front bushes along the driveway at 771. That was a regular topic of conversation while we lived there because people often ran over them (including me) but I never could let myself rip out mostly healthy bushes. Sadly, not my decision to make anymore. Thanks again for your thoughts!

  2. My sister-in-law’s advice was to take something small from the house to hold on to. She and my brother have a collection of electric outlet covers with the address of the house written on the back. I loved the idea, although I wanted something more personal to me. Since the new owners never actually saw the house before owning it, I figured no one would notice a certain sparkly element missing from something they will probably tear down.

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