On the Loss of a Beloved Home

Everything changes. Change is the only constant. We go through cycles of life. Different ages and stages. The physical seasons out there accompanied by seasons within, where we traverse the full range of human emotions, brought out by all we experience in life.

For almost 15 years, we’ve lived in a complex which I consider to be my favourite home in all my life. It’s extremely safe, full of greenery and trees and chirping birds, and most of all, peace. There’s a tranquillity here which I’ve never had in any other home.

It’s expansive: the space outside – even though it’s shared – is more than enough to give a sense of freedom which is unmatched in any freestanding house.

But for some time, the inside of our home has started feeling too small for our growing family. And as much as I love this place…as I much as I would never leave if I didn’t have to…I know it’s time to move on.

And that saddens me tremendously. It saddens me because as we look for new homes – and we’ve seen tons of them in recent months (and years before that) – I know that no house will ever have the sheer expanse I have here.

The particular house that we now have in mind is great inside, but the outside saddens me. Not because it’s very small – because it isn’t. But merely because anything other than what I have now feels constricted. Like a downgrade.

This potential future home has no perch from which to watch the sun rise, nor the moon – which so captivates me when it’s so close…so low, orange, huge… That horizon is blocked by a neighbour’s double storey house.

On the other side, it doesn’t have the view of Table Mountain which I so clearly have from here.

It doesn’t have a garden. It’s all paved, with a pool – which isn’t really an attraction for me (though it is for the kids). No grass. No field. No greenery. No trees. No chirping birds nor nature. That’s positive in the sense of it hopefully not attracting unwanted creatures (I have phobias). But negative because it’s out of touch with nature.

Of course, I could go to a park. I could walk somewhere. But none of that would be so easily accessible. None of it would be at home.

Home – if we move there – wouldn’t have that peace. That serenity. That expanse.

A house – almost any house – is an environment in which you’re boxed in. You don’t get open space like I have here. Not in this volume. You don’t have this psychological sense of freedom and openness.

But we have to go.

Part of the reason is also being closer to my parents. Being able to help them when they need help, as they approach their final years and can no longer live independently.

And so, I recognise that losing all this is perhaps a necessary sacrifice for the greater good. A sacrifice I would make because being there for them, when they need me, takes priority over my own personal preferences of my dream home environment. An environment which I’ve been blessed to inhabit for so many years.

I also recognise that my perspective is extremely limited. I see things from a selfish point of view, because I’ve always been fairly self-focussed, being someone who has never socialised much with others. I know that what I perceive as negatives and losses may in fact be compensated with better, in ways I can’t see right now, from where I sit in this mental tunnel I’m in.

Maybe this other home won’t be the one we move to. Maybe it will.

Either way, I just know that we can’t stay where we are.

And sad as I am about that, I accept it, because I know that nothing is permanent. Not even life. Everything changes. But we have to move forward, adapt, and make the best of whatever comes next, even as we hold on to priceless memories of the places our hearts will forever hang on to.

The view from my perch tonight

7 thoughts on “On the Loss of a Beloved Home

    • I believe we’ll eventually have to downsize again years later when the kids are grown up and moved out, and I’d love to still have this place to come back to. But it’s probably not financially realistic…

      • Can you keep it and sub let it something. I have regrets that are colouring my response to your post, some places are special and haunt us – ignore me, I wish I had chosen to keep a few of the places we have built and lived in in the past. Now they are lost to us forever.

  1. I can’t even count the number of houses/apartments I’ve moved into and out of in my life. One thing I’ve learned is that you always find a way to adapt to the new surroundings, and after a while it just becomes home again. Best of luck on finding the right fit.

  2. I suspect you have already played out all the various scenarios regarding staying or moving, and while you are now closing one door behind you, another one will open wide. A new home, with new memories to make. I do understand the sadness, and I’ve been there. I am sure your next home will be different, but in my experience different often turns out to be better.

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