Re: Saying Good-bye to Family Home

04/08/18 - posted by Myron Tessler

My wife and I just moved from a 2200sq.ft. home to an 1000sq.ft. apartment. Our home housed many things from the childhoods of our two sons plus all the things that were milestones and of "importance" to us that we've saved throughout our 60 years of marriage.

During the packing process, I came across a lot of stuff I didn't even know I had, but often caused me to pause and reflect on the meaning of why I kept this one piece. Because I was downsizing over 50% of living space, I had to keep only the major furniture pieces as storage space was limited in the new apartment.

While I was packing, tossing, and remembering of times past It felt like an out-of-body experience that I had gone through before. And I had!

Both when my parents died, and my wife's parents died, I spent weeks cleaning out their homes and dispersing of their saved memories. What to throw out, what to keep for our memory of them- these thoughts were continually present during this "final life event". It was a warm and thoughtful experience reviewing their lives through their saved momentos.

It dawned on me that what I was doing now with my house is tantamount to closing down my life as reflected by what my wife and I have saved as important to us over the last 60 years. In effect I was doing what my sons would have done when my wife and I were no longer in our home. They will not have the pleasure(?) of going through our stuff as there will be virtually no stuff left in our apartment. This "rite of passage" will be denied them as our memories implanted in our stuff will already have been disposed.

It felt strange to view my own life history, through the disposing of stuff, before I was really gone. Little has been left for our sons to ponder what their parents lives were like as they will miss sifting through saved possessions that no longer exist.

The Western Neighborhoods Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.