Cathy Chester | An Empowered Spirit

Leaving Home And Beginning A New Chapter Of Our Lives

We’re getting ready to move from the home we built twenty-one years ago. It’s time to downsize, time to begin a new path by stepping forward into the next chapter of our lives.

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I’m having a hard time with this.

There are many reasons, from sweet to melancholy, why I’m having trouble with the idea of leaving our home for good. I’ve imagined a sleepless night before daybreak comes, forcing me to face the last time I’ll ever walk around inside of what will always be MY home. It will never truly belong to anyone else.

I’ll be leaving behind a piece of my heart.

path journey chapterI know that a house is just a “thing” and that family, friends and good health are what matters most.

But my heart still aches.

I live in a house with two men, a house filled to the brim with testosterone where much of the conversation revolves around sports, business and politics. I don’t mind discussing those subjects because they interest me as well. But women, well, women like to discuss feelings and every little minutiae of the day.

I don’t think they truly understand my deep emotional attachment to our house.

They are ready to move on, and are even a bit excited about it. I know intellectually it’s time to go, but my sentimental soul causes my heart to ache. Here’s why:

Another door closes: Once we move, another chapter of our lives is over. We were starry-eyed with our 16-month-old son when we finally closed and moved into our new home. We painstakingly planned the interior and exterior of it, and moving in was a joyous day. We were at the beginning of a new journey, and now we are at the end of that road.

Landscaping: Growing up my father planned and planted all of the landscaping around my childhood home. With our new home he envisioned another chance to use his gardening skills. We were willing recipients. He planted with love, so it will be difficult for me to say goodbye to his handiwork. Nature is for the ages, and others will benefit from his work for years to come. Yet I know that when we pull away for the last time, I’ll want to kiss every peony, each shrub and all of the daffodils he lovingly planted.

All grown up: There weren’t many houses on our street when we moved in, so miles of woods surrounded us. My son and I spent a lot of quality time outdoors, with birds or turkeys looking on as we explored our new surroundings. He went from a Little Tykes sedan to entering college in what seemed like a span of 5 minutes. Gone are the little boy playgroups scuffing our wood floors and Halloween apple-dunking parties in our basement. Today when I look around I still picture him playing and being his happy self. I think to myself, “That’s where we let the butterflies go free” from the box we bought at Zany Brainy, or “That’s the rock he sat on while waiting for dad to come home.”

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A house filled with toys and boys. A love of cars and cellphones started early on..

Nature: I will miss being surrounded by nature, and getting my hands dirty in the soil to plant pots of spring flowers or trying to copy the English garden I saw in The White Flower Farm catalogue. I love being outside and the fresh smell of our cut grass, dirt, flowers and, yes, even fertilizer. Every tree, every blade of grass on our property feels like it belongs only to me. I know that sounds crazy, but go ahead and argue with my heart.

path journey chapter

We visited The White Flower Farm in Litchfield, Connecticut to get landscaping ideas.

Loved Ones: My brothers and I have five boys between us, and we took turns hosting parties for birthdays and holidays while they grew up. We are blessed the cousins grew up together, and, as fine young men, are still good friends.

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Family parties were always fun for the five boy cousins

We also hosted parties for my husband’s side of the family who live far away. I become wistful thinking about his grandparents, my son’s great-grandparents, who lived to be 92 and 100 years old. They were extraordinary people, and we felt blessed when they’d fly north to spend time with us in our home.

path journey chapter

Pets: At the urging of our then 9-year-old son, we adopted our first cat. Since then we’ve adopted three more. One of them was a feral that nuzzled against our window for days, obviously the product of a thoughtless owner who misplaced him or let him go. The four years with him wouldn’t have happened if we lived elsewhere. Blessings.

I am a spiritual person, so I am working hard on processing the advice friends have given to me:

  • “A new door will open, and your next journey will be an exciting one.”
  • “You are blessed to have a good life with your husband and son. The main thing is that you are all together.”
  • “Life is a journey, and it’s time to take your next step.

My heart is still aching. I am a work in progress.

Have you ever experienced a difficult time transitioning from one chapter of your life to another?

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80 thoughts on “Leaving Home And Beginning A New Chapter Of Our Lives

    1. Post author

      It’s not easy to look forward, Walker. Give yourself a break, and do what you can when you can! I know you’ll do the right thing.

  1. Janine Huldie

    Men definitely can’t understand. Cathy, I cry at pretty much everything and even cried after we got married, because I was a bit shell shocked at not having a wedding to plan anymore, as well as leaving my parents to go on my honeymoon. Sounds crazy, trust me I know, but still couldn’t help, but feel a sense the unknown I guess scaring me a bit. Totally loved Kevin and wanted to be his wife, but still got hormonal thinking about the changes that would occur when all was said and done. So, I dod get that this is a bit step and change for you totally and I too would be feeling all sorts of emotions if it were me, as well. Thinking of you and just know that it isn’t just you at all.
    Janine Huldie recently posted…Spring Into April GLOSSYBOXMy Profile

    1. Post author

      Yup,we are different in many ways, Janine. The key is understanding that, and reaching out to each other when we need to. Thanks for reaching out to me about this, and sharing your thoughts.

  2. jasteck

    What incredibly beautiful memories, Cathy. I loved walking through your journey in your home. I’ve moved a number of times in my son’s life so it hasn’t been as hard for me and we’ve lived within about a ten mile radius. Still, each time I go through the house and remember how wonderfully it has sheltered and provided the framework for our lives. Your new adventure awaits and it will be amazing, too!
    jasteck recently posted…Impromptu GirlfriendsMy Profile

    1. Post author

      Thanks, Jennifer. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and your sage words of advice.

  3. kathyradigan

    I have a hard time transitioning from every stage of life!! Lol! I get very attached to wherever I am and I hate leaving even when I adore where I will be going next. I got sad just reading this and thinking about the places I have left and the home we are in now and all the things that make it special. I’m so happy your home has brought you much pleasure and send wishes that your new home bring so many more happy times!! xoxo
    kathyradigan recently posted…The Moments That MatterMy Profile

  4. Andrea B (@goodgirlgonered)

    This is so beautiful. I’m almost welling up because I can relate on a minuscule level.

    We’ve contemplated leaving our home, our home that I moved into about a month before my now 7yo was born. I hold so much here. Memories, moments. We go through stages and there is so much I cannot imagine letting go of or moving on from. Hugs to you. I wish you love and strength and remind you, as I remind myself, that you’ll make memories and have these moments wherever you are.
    Andrea B (@goodgirlgonered) recently posted…Motherhood is …My Profile

    1. Post author

      Thanks so much, Andrea. How lovely! I am glad you can understand how I feel, and appreciate you taking the time to “talk” with me about it.

  5. Little Miss Wordy

    Cathy, my heart hurts for you because I get it and this post touched me though my experience has been different. We have relocated several times throughout the years. The home I lived in the longest was my childhood home. We have been in what I call “temporary” homes for some time and I’ve been given the same advice you have…ironically for completely different reasons.

    “A new door will open, and your next journey will be an exciting one.”
    “You are blessed to have a good life with your husband and son. The main thing is that you are all together.”
    “Life is a journey, and it’s time to take your next step.”

    We are moving in June to PA and it will be a long term, hopefully even permanent move for us. I have yearned for a home that I could allow myself to become emotionally attached to as you have yours. Yes, we have exposed our children to a world they wouldn’t have likely experienced, but I crave a place where we can settle down for many years to come.

    I wish you luck and pray for your transition to be a smooth and peaceful one. Thankfully, memories don’t need to be packed up and sealed. You carry those in your heart.
    Little Miss Wordy recently posted…2014 BlogHer VOTY – The Selected Post And More!My Profile

    1. Post author

      Good luck in your move – I know it will be a good one for you. Planting seeds in one place is a wonderful journey, I am wish for you the same love that I feel for my home. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

  6. Transitioning Mom

    Cathy, this is so lovely and so heartbreaking. I understand the attachment one grows to a house. Yes, one could argue a house is just “a thing”, but it more. I’ve always looked at a house as the box that holds memories. It’s the patched sheetrock from rough play, or the farm sink that was large enough to bathe a six year old, a secret cubby that provided hours of fun with imaginary friends, or the porch that sheltered a teen’s first kiss from the rain. Yes, it’s a “just a house”, but homes are so much more; they house the moments of our lives that have mattered the most, but thankfully we carry those in our hearts as well. Blessings to you on the start of your new chapter!
    Transitioning Mom recently posted…Sometimes, we just need a little laughter.My Profile

    1. Post author

      Oh, you got me even on your lovely worded comment! You touched my heart, and for that I truly thank you.

  7. Pam@over50feeling40

    Oh Cathy…I completely understand and will be thinking of you through this! My husband has wanted to sell our home for sometime…I know the writing is on the wall and it is just a matter of time…but it will be as hard for me to leave as it is for you now. What everyone says about enjoy the moment…get excited about a new adventure…really doesn’t matter…you just need a little time to grieve! Take that time, then treasure the memories in your heart, and go forward.
    Pam@over50feeling40 recently posted…Azores Inspired Jewelry Online Wednesday!My Profile

    1. Post author

      Yup, the grieving is something I will definitely have to give into, Pam. Thanks for your thoughts on that, and as always, good luck to you! xo

  8. Rena McDaniel-The Diary of an Alzheimer's Caregiver

    Saying goodbye is a heartbreaking feeling for sure. We moved out of our house in 2011 and while we still have fond memories of the place it wasn’t long before we were submersed into the decorating, gardening and exploring of our new home. We are making new memories but still haven’t forgotten the old. I know you will too.
    Rena McDaniel-The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver recently posted…THE TROUBLE WITH ALZHEIMER’SMy Profile

    1. Post author

      Sounds like you make a wonderful transition, Rena! I hope to do the same. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with me.

  9. Sharon Greenthal

    This post is something I can completely relate to. For a variety of reasons when I was growing up we moved to a new home every 2-3 years – even though they were mostly in the same town, it was always traumatic for me. When we moved into our house 23 years ago I vowed not to leave our community until our kids were grown – and we are still in the same house (albeit completely redone).

    We talk about moving, but haven’t decided if or where yet. I know if we do it will be very emotional for me. I love my house.
    Sharon Greenthal recently posted…Being Comfortable with the Quiet of an Empty NestMy Profile

    1. Post author

      Yup, you get it, Sharon! We love where we are, and our home is filled with memories of our children. So hard to let go; so meaningful.

      I appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me.

  10. Cyndi

    Just wanted to come by and say hi – I’ve been AWOL studying and teaching, but from time to time I try to read my friends’ blogs. I hope your new home will grow to be as special. 🙂
    It was really neat reading about your story here. HUGS
    Cyndi recently posted…Explaining my Absence and TeachingMy Profile

    1. Post author

      So glad you enjoyed it, Cyndy. And, as always, so great to hear from you!

  11. doreenb8

    I have been there and I won’t lie it was difficult and afterwards there were times of regret but at the same time making new memories started happening the second I moved into my new home. It took awhile but hone truly is where your family is.
    I cannot believe we are considering moving again.
    I wish you the best as you start out on this exciting adventure.
    doreenb8 recently posted…300 Fraggin Fantastic Fragments and Heaven is for Real…My Profile

    1. Post author

      Thanks, Doreen, and thanks for sharing your journey with me. It helps to hear about other people’s stories. Thanks so much.

  12. JoAnn Jordan

    Having moved many times in life, I know well the reflecting that happens with the change. Memories come flooding our minds. It is wonderful to have places like this blog to capture those memories.

    As you build new memories in your new home, I wish you many joys.
    JoAnn Jordan recently posted…Jungle ResourcesMy Profile

    1. Post author

      Thank you so much, JoAnn, for your thoughts and good wishes. They are truly appreciated.

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  14. Donna Highfill

    Cathy: I can feel your grief in this writing, and I must say – let yourself cry. Walk through your woods and wail out loud. Hug the trees and let them know you love them. Then smile, because you had this experience. Because the thing we most hate leaving is the love we grew, and love is what created us. It goes with useverywhere – especially, especially, where you are. Love is home. You’ll take it with you. But let yourself cry. It’s in those tears you will find your joy.

    1. Post author

      You took my breath away. I read your comments on my iPhone, and now again after I got home. They are magic in black and white with your heart reaching out to mine. And I thank you, dear friend, for every one of them.

      BTW, I miss you! We need another G+ hangout!

      Thanks so much, Donna.

  15. Emily

    Oh Cathy, I definitely get what you’re feeling here. Change is so hard, and although I sometimes joke about it with one of my sons (he and I seem to have the most difficulty with any change to our environment, be it a new car or a new piece of furniture), I know how your heart feels. It’s okay to mourn the end of an era, while simultaneously preparing for that new chapter. I suppose these transitions are healthy and necessary, but it doesn’t discount the difficulty. Hang in there!
    Emily recently posted…Post-Treatment Follow-Up…The List Keeps Growing!My Profile

    1. Post author

      Yes, we both know how difficult change is. Like I told my son when “The Lion King” first came out, it’s about the Circle of Life> I guess my own words are coming back to haunt me now, eh? Change, change, change.

      Thanks for your gentle words, Emily. xo

  16. pia

    I can imagine how hard it is and will be!

    I don’t have a child but I had a city. (Not the same but I loved it with all my heart and grew from youth to older middle age in it.)

    I left and still dream at least 3 nights a week about finding my way home. But I have met wonderful people and live a life I never could have imagined–some people sing Green Acres to me but I am not a Gabor!

    Good luck. You have each other–and your son will have a new home to come to.
    pia recently posted…The Why We Blog Tour: Seeking TruthMy Profile

    1. Post author

      Thanks, Pia. We all have something in our lives that is difficult to leave behind. So I know what you mean. I’m sure, like you, I’ll be dreaming of this house for the rest of my life.

  17. Ruth Curran

    I too left a home but one that we built, block by painful block, with our own hands (no watching contractors for us — we did it ourselves) so I get it and then some! It was a huge shift for me from consistent, stable, land owner to letting the wind blow us where it will — who knows where we will land next. Some days that is still unsettling but most it is freeing. Go with, breathe, and trust that all will just work because, you know what? It will.

    1. Post author

      You never cease to amaze me, Ruth, with the many gifts and talents you possess. And, as always, I treasure your thoughts. I love, love, love them.

  18. Korinthia Klein

    Oh, that’s hard. I understand completely. I still ache for my grandmother’s house since she died.

    For our family it’s been funny because our first house (where we brought all our babies home to) is across the street. We moved to the larger house directly opposite us about four years ago, so we see our old house all the time. My kids are all deeply sentimental and sometimes still pine for the old house in certain ways, but I’m still glad we moved. Part of my heart will always be across the street, but it’s awfully nice to have closets.
    Korinthia Klein recently posted…Source MaterialMy Profile

    1. Post author

      Yes, closets are helpful when you have a family! But I understand what you are saying, Korinthia. Thank you for sharing your lovely thoughts with me. As always, they are sincerely appreciated.

  19. Ellen Dolgen

    Dearest Cathy,

    My father taught me that buildings are not important -they are just bricks and mortar. It is the people in them and the memories that you experienced in them that are to be treasured. Those go with you everywhere you go! You will make some new – fabulous memories in your new home! xxooo

    1. Post author

      Yes, I agree with that. It’s the landscaping, the plantings my father planted. That is what I will miss the most. Because it was his ideas, his sweat, his love. I know you are right Ellen, because “things” have never mattered to me. People do. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  20. Elena Dillon

    You made me tear up! I understand how hard this must be. I feel for you. We are getting ready to move again and even though it hasn’t been 21 years it’s still going to be difficult. I don’t transition well at all but I’m looking forward to a new adventure. I know that home is where my family is and as much as I have loved all my homes I will be happy in the next place as well if a little sad for awhile. Good luck. Praying for a smooth transition for you. =)

    1. Post author

      Thank you, Elena. You said the perfect thing, and I sincerely appreciate it. Truly I do.

  21. Nancy Fox

    My heart goes out to you. You’ve had so many wonderful memories. I look at life as a book. You are just turning the page to a new, exciting chapter! Best of luck my friend.

    1. Post author

      Yes, we are definitely turning a new page. I wish we could move out of state right now, but that has to be on the back burner. Thanks for your sage words, Nancy!

  22. Joan stommen

    I know exactly how you feel, Cathy. I’ve done this several times and it always hurt. You will cry as you pull away for the last time. But that’s okay….part of saying goodbye to something so loved. I wrote a letter about my feelings and wishes for the new owner to enjoy and embrace their new home and left in a kitchen drawer. That too helped me move in. Hugs

    1. Post author

      That’s a great idea, Joan. I told the realtor to make sure and find someone who loves this house as much as I do. I doubt THAT will ever happen. But I will definitely leave a note. At least it will make me feel better!

    1. Post author

      Thanks, Stephanie. Change is very difficult, but it’s also I am so sentimental! I doubt that will ever change. xoxo

    1. Post author

      Exactly, Haralee. I know I will never drive down this street again. It will be too difficult. So I will hold my memories locked in my heart…

  23. Helene Bludman

    Oh Cathy, this brought tears to my eyes. Your anguish comes through loud and clear. You can’t minimize the impact of leaving a beloved home. It’s traumatic. Yes, you will start a new chapter and life will go on, hopefully even better than before, but leaving the past behind is a painful experience. Hugs to you, my friend.

    1. Post author

      I feel the love and the hugs, Helene! Thank you so much. It means a lot coming from you, dear friend.

    1. Post author

      It’s so difficult to accept change, Diane. Not everyone is built for it. But change is inevitable, and I am a work in progress.

  24. Lisa_GrandmasBriefs

    Truly a house filled with love and happy times. Thankfully you have pictures… taken not only with your camera but with your heart.

    I know what you’re going through. Seven years ago we moved from the home where we lived for 20 years, raising all three of our daughters. It’s hard. But you have great times to come, a new home to create for those times. Good luck.
    Lisa_GrandmasBriefs recently posted…So happy togetherMy Profile

    1. Post author

      Thanks, Lisa. You definitely know what I am talking about. So difficult that I am dreading it. Sigh. xo

  25. Judy Freedman

    Cathy, I totally understand what you are going through. I sold my house three years ago after I lost my husband. It is a major transition and you will have all the memories. Take your time, but moving into something new and smaller at this point in your life has big benefits too. I love my new town home and had fun redecorating. Wishing you the best.
    Judy Freedman recently posted…Expert Beauty Tips For Women 50 PlusMy Profile

    1. Post author

      I love your new town home, too! I wish we could find something like that, but up here it’s much more difficult to find. I thank you for your advice, because you went through the most difficult time imaginable. I appreciate you stopping by to give me your sage advice.

  26. Kathy @ SMART Living

    Hi Cathy! I can hear the love you have for your home and it’s very touching. I think it is completely natural for your to be caught in that space–at least for a while. While I like to stay moving a lot, there have been a couple of times when Thom had to drag me kicking and screaming into my next adventure. 🙂 And just like you, even when I knew it was the right move I was still hesitant. Very simply, you are mourning. Just as with the passing of anything (or anyone) we love, there is a transition time. Be gentle with yourself. ~Kathy
    Kathy @ SMART Living recently posted…How Do You Live If Heaven Is Real?My Profile

  27. Sandie Nielson

    Thank You Cathy this was so well written and since I have left my home of 30 years I so know how you are feeling . Life does continue on but not without tears and many memories of all the years that were spent in the family home…When I return to that town I always have to drive by my home and usually sit out front and reflect on my life far no one has arrested me as a neighborhood nuisance..I often park and take a walk along the river and remember all the nightly walks
    with our two dogs…sweet times for sure..Wishing you joy and happiness as you continue on your life journey.

    1. Post author

      Thank you, Sandie. You say you go back to your neighborhood, but I can’t imagine doing that for a long time, especially when my beloved peonies are in bloom! Thanks for sharing your story with me. It helps to hear it.

  28. Lana

    Oh my goodness – this post is so beautiful and eloquent! Transitions are so hard for me, and I’m facing a lot in the years ahead. It’s so comforting to know I’m not the only one. We will be downsizing within the next 5 years, and I can’t imagine leaving here. You will make more wonderful memories where ever you go! Glad I found your blog.
    Lana recently posted…Pretty PastelsMy Profile

    1. Post author

      Thank you, Lana. I’m glad you found my blog, too! I hope we both transition better than we think we will!

  29. Carpool Goddess

    I feel for you Cathy. I know what it’s like when you know every nook and cranny of a home and each space has a special memory. (That’s why I’m still here. My husband would have moved years ago.) And you have beautiful photographs and memories to prove that. Perhaps try to see this as an adventure that will be filled with lots of wonderful new memories and infinite possibilities.
    Carpool Goddess recently posted…15 Sure Signs You’ve Hit Middle AgeMy Profile

    1. Post author

      I will try to see it as an adventure. Unfortunately I think it will take a long time. Old dog, new tricks and all of that. But thanks, Linda. I always love hearing what you have to say!

  30. Mary Anne

    Cathy, I did not know that you were leaving town! Good luck with this emotional transition. I hope we can see each other before you move on and make your new home as special as this home was. MAG

    1. Post author

      Thanks, MAG. I’ll let you know. Please keep in touch, and I hope all is well with you and the family.

  31. Marybeth

    I completely understand…..i hold all parts of my life near and dear to my heart so hang is incredibly difficult……I still miss our first house!!!

    Take a breath, remind yourself that new experience are around the corner, cry a little them smile and get move forward. Acknowledge the loss but also acknowledge the adventure. (((hugs)))!!

    1. Post author

      Thanks for the wonderful advice and for sharing your thoughts. You are so right about acknowledging and breathing! So important in this situation. Thanks so much, Marybeth.

    1. Post author

      Oh, healing prayers coming your way for your husband. I found that my home was healing for me whenever I was sick. So stay put!

    1. Post author

      Oh, thanks Pat! I appreciate you letting me know your sentiments. Yes, memories last.

      Yesterday I spent time alone with my peonies and all of the nature that surrounds us. It will be very hard…

  32. Lisa Garon Froman

    Cathy, I feel you honey. I wish I had some words of wisdom you could apply like a healing balm to your pain. If I did, I would give them to you. The truth is, time is accelerating and change is in the air. And most of us humans don’t care much for change. Honor your past and all of your feelings and memories. Try as best as you can to stay in that place of gratitude and hopefulness where you usually live. That is the place you will take with you when you go, my friend. As always, sending hugs. I really do feel you…I too am in a different sort of transition and I am not sure how it will turn out.
    Lisa Garon Froman recently posted…This Mother’s Day, Keep The Cards. Free Our Girls.My Profile

    1. Post author


      You ask me what you can give to me? You just did, dear friend. You. Just. Did.

      And I love you for it.

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