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How to Say Goodbye to a House

Fr. Joel Life on Planet Earth

Houses are not persons like human beings are. But houses do have personality. Some houses are tall and proud; others short and humble. Some houses are meticulous; others rather messy. They get their personality from the people who built them and the people who live in them. Houses like to be lived in. They are happiest when people are running in and out, playing in the yard and chatting in the living room. Houses should be full of life, laughter, joy, and love. Happy houses beam with the love that fills them.

When it is time to move to a new house you have to pack and say goodbye to all your friends. No one has been a better friend to you than your house. The house has been there for you through the years and the tears. It always welcomed you home from work or school. It’s kept you warm and safe at night. It has put up with a lot of slammed doors and abuse and stomped feet. It would be rude to leave without taking time to say goodbye.

Take Time to Say Thank You

I suggest drawing a picture of the house. You can add little details like the people in your family or the pets you had. You should write the mailbox address of the house and the date you moved in (if it wasn’t your first house) and the date you left. If you grew up and quit drawing, maybe you can take a selfie with the house. Houses like selfies too.

Some people take a while to say goodbye. They might need to go through every room in the house and remember favorite memories. Savor the moment. Grief and gratitude always go to together. The more something was a blessing to us, the harder it is to let go. Taking time to grieve also allows us to be grateful. As you remember where you and your house have been together, allow gratitude to rise to the surface. Saying goodbye to a house is really about saying Thank You: Thank you, God, for this house. Thank you house for welcoming us and caring for us all these years. Thank you for being a home for us. Thank you for being a place where life and love could happen. Thank you for helping us grow.

You Get to Keep the Memories

Its hard to say goodbye when there are a lot of good memories. You might have years of Christmases and birthdays and special moments all stored in the house. Don’t worry about the memories; they all come with you. You don’t even have to pack memories.

There will be a new place. It won’t be the same at first, because it will be empty of memories. But over time as you laugh and love and live in the house, it will start to fill with memories. Then the new house will start to feel like a proper home.

Don’t worry about your old house. It will be fine without you. In fact, the best thing that can happen is for new people to move in and make it their own. Houses just hate standing empty. Over time the house will change to be a home for the new people. The house may change so much that you no longer recognize it. But the house will still recognize you. Houses never forget the people that loved them.

Nothing Loved is Ever Lost

You will never completely lose your connection to that place. You have left an impression of yourself there and you take a little bit of that house with you. You can always drive by and wave. Don’t expect your old house to wave back at you. It isn’t your home any more. It has be there for the new people to help them feel safe and warm and loved, just like it did for you.

The truth is we don’t really love houses. Houses are just places where things happen. But we love homes. And a home isn’t a place; home is the people you love and the memories you make with them.

You can always go home.