Home Is Where The Heart Is


I sat in the car alone, across the street from the vacant house we once called home. The house was the only one in the street without lights on. I hoped none of the neighbours would notice me parked and no one did. I sat in silence reminiscing on sweet memories of us taking evening walks under the stars. I imagined we were teenagers again, lying on the trampoline in the back yard while the rest of the street was asleep.

That evening the rest of the homes were all awake with life. Families cooking dinner and reading bedtime stories to their children. But our home sat lifeless and empty. I wondered where John and I would be living if he were here, what adventures we would be planning. I envied the families who were living out their happy lives. It isn’t fair! I cried as I sat alone grieving the happy life we lived so completely.

Memories of our life danced around my mind like a vivid movie in my head. And I replayed the dark day that I stood in shock on the driveway after hearing the words “he’s gone”.

After John passed away I moved into my mum’s house, she has been a huge support and help with my daughter who is 2 ½ going on 13. This week I have been busy packing boxes to move from my mums into a new apartment.

I am yet to decide if I will hang his clothes in the wardrobe of the new home. I’ve been trying to look at it like a fresh start, but putting his belongings away is a stab in the gut. Sometimes I still think he will come home. I live in denial a lot. I can’t help but day dream the possibility that this is all a nightmare and soon ill wake to see him next to me.  

Leaving the family home we shared was difficult and I looked at it with the view that “home is where the heart is”. My heart is with John, his arms were my home. Losing the home was nothing in comparison to losing him.

Family have suggested I let go of some of the items that I persistently refuse to throw out. People have asked me “why are you holding onto these things?” Things like his untouched shampoo bottles, body wash and razor. Tools and old bills with his name on them. These items I suppose are just junk to everyone else but to me they are pieces of his life, of our life and they allow me to feel close to him. Close to the life we shared, the life that I don’t want to let go of.

“Home is where the heart is” Yes and these items still hold pieces of my heart. They hold memories of a home once filled with love and life. I know to move forward I will need to put some things away and only take significant treasures with me.

If I don’t let some of these things go it will be like climbing a steep hill with weights pulling me backwards. How can I build a future if I continue living in the past? Finding the happy medium is the task at hand. Figuring out how to hold onto pieces of him and our life while paving a road for the future as well. It continues to amaze and honestly frustrate me that every single aspect and decision in my life is affected and haunted now. Every thought and action now has an emotion attached to it.

From making a coffee in the morning using his cup, to moving into a new place that has no attachment to him or memories with him. Yet the move still fills my mind with thoughts of him. Of the future we miss out on. I suppose the happy medium is somewhere between keeping items of significance and my memories.

In a way I have been worried that in letting these items go I’m letting go of the life we shared. That’s not possible though, those thoughts are just my heart creating chaos in my head. The reality is whatever my future brings he will live in it and be present in it, because he will always live in my heart.

Showing 5 reactions

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  • Kaiti Wallace
    commented 2016-08-15 17:10:34 -0700
    Thank you all for your comments, I decided to keep it all. I hung his clothes in the new wardrobe, I couldn’t keep them packed away. It was an emotional day to say the least. Thank you all so much.
  • Gary Sturgis
    commented 2016-08-14 09:09:24 -0700
    As a facilitator of grief support groups I always tell my groups to keep any or all items until they no longer serve them. Most of us will know the day this happens. Our heart will let us know.
    It may happen today or it may never happen and that’s ok.
    If the items serve us and bring comfort then holding onto them is a very personal choice. I still have my husband’s sneakers in my closet. I can’t bring myself to throw them away. In my mind as long as they remain there he is still walking with me. Maybe the day will come I don’t need them there but for now they continue to serve their purpose. They bring me comfort that only I can understand.
    There is no set timeframe on when we need to discard the items that continue to serve us.
  • Lisa Richardson
    commented 2016-08-14 08:40:08 -0700
    You alone decide how long you keep everything. Although other people are well intentioned, unless they have suffered this loss they cannot understand. They don’t know your love or your heart. Over five years later I still cherish many things. To compound the issue we had a young son who asked me to keep several boxes of his dad’s things I may have been able to part with. I can’t know his heart either, or what a now young man may want to have of his father’s. So there’s certainly no harm in a few extra boxes. At least until we both feel the time is right.
  • Stacy Johnson
    commented 2016-08-13 18:48:21 -0700
    Take as long as you need. It’s been 5 years and still his stuff is in his medicine cabinet exactly as he left it. When I need a second cabinet maybe I will empty it. Till then, occasionally I look inside and have my memories. Take your time and know you aren’t alone.
  • Amanda Cram
    commented 2016-08-13 17:43:29 -0700
    I hear you. I still haven’t been able to visit my husband’s coworkers because I feel that if I go there, I will lose the safety net in my brain that helps me get through the day by just feeling like he is at work.