The Home That Doesn't Quite Fit Anymore

IMG_9602.JPGIn the past two years and eight months since Dan died, I've toyed with the idea of moving out of our house a number of times.  We bought our dream home in January 2013.  We were married in June 2013 and I lost him to depression only six weeks later, in July.

It's a large, two-story house with enough space for a big family. It's definitely too big for one person.  We used to rattle around in it.  There's three living rooms, we'd often joke about having to take it in turns where we watched tv at night.  
On his last birthday, I secretly hid a treasure hunt around our house for him to find his gifts.  The day we moved in he cooked a barbecue for all the friends and family who helped us move (pictured) and that night the two of us sat on our giant new lounge, surrounded by boxes, eating take-away burgers and listening to the radio.  We planted the side garden together before our wedding.  The last moment I saw him was standing in our kitchen where I hugged and kissed him and told him I loved him before he left for work.

The exact moment he lost his life, at 11am on a winter Wednesday, I was planting some pot plants near our clothesline.   That night, the police stood in my entrance way and told me about his tragic death.  For weeks, I sat in the front room, staring out the window watching the cars come and go and drinking endless cups of tea.  

I thought we'd have a lifetime of memories in this house.  I thought we'd raise our children here, that they'd play in the street and we'd walk the five minutes, through a park and over a creek, to my sister's house to visit her family.  

But we only got six months.  The very start of a perfect dream life before it was ripped away. 

Since he died, I haven't wanted to be anywhere else.  At first I felt closest to him here, it bought be so much comfort to sleep in our bedroom and keep our house, as if I were still doing it for him.  Slowly I started making changes, painting his office to make it more my own.  Changing bed linen and doing small improvements, like building a wooden deck out the back.  It started feeling less like 'our' home and more like 'mine'.  I haven't wanted to move but knew that when the time came, I would know.

And I think a new home is now calling for me.  Recently, I've been feeling very lonely in our house.  Not so much from the lack of company (although that too is tough) but more so a sense that I don't quite fit in to this space properly anymore.  It's too big for a single, 35-year-old woman.  

It is a space that needs to be filled with laughter and noise and people.  I only ever use a small section of the house when I'm here on my own and while I have kind, friendly neighbours who check in on me regularly, they are all families.  I'm the only single person on my street and the feeling that it's time to find a new space that better fits the life I'm living has been growing stronger and stronger.  

I want to be in a smaller space.  I want to be around other single, professional people and a more bustling community, close to restaurants and cafes and close to Brisbane's beautiful river, where I can catch a ferry to my job in the city.  So, this morning I went looking at apartments to rent in the inner-city.   

Right now I feel 70 per cent excited, 20 per cent overwhelmed about the mammoth task ahead and 10 per cent freaked out and sad that I have to take this next step forward into a life without Dan.  It's not the life I would have chosen but I didn't get to choose.  I have to find my new path and right now it's pulling me in the direction of a new home. 

Showing 5 reactions

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  • Laura Shepherd
    commented 2016-04-09 19:26:06 -0700
    I understand this feeling completely. 4 years ago (and 2.5 years after my husband died) I sold his family home, (which became our house after we married) the home he grew up in, the house I completely gutted and redid after he died. We had made plans for great renovations and I finished them but made it my own. Once the dust settled, I realized I was also very lonely in that house, living the life that was supposed to be, not what it is now. I packed up our son and belongings and moved to a neighbourhood and house we both love. Our new home was brand new and 100% mine. It was the best decision I ever made post loss. Our old home was snapped up by buyers who have filled that house with children, in laws and happiness again. And my son and I are settled and thriving where we are too.
  • Rebecca Collins
    commented 2016-04-09 15:19:17 -0700
    Thank you for the comments ladies, I love logging in and reading messages with your thoughts and feelings. Lisa, how wonderful that he moved right along with you! Bring on the hustle and bustle :)
  • Lisa Richardson
    commented 2016-04-02 23:28:57 -0700
    The first few weeks in my downtown apartment were really hard. I too felt like I didn’t fit in the house that had been ours so I reluctantly moved, terrified that I was somehow abandoning “us”. Now it’s home, I love the hustle and bustle of the city around me, and funny thing is – He came right along with me. It’s a scary step – but you have to trust your instincts. I’m sure it will go well!
  • Cathy
    commented 2016-04-02 09:56:42 -0700
    “It’s not the life I would have chosen but I didn’t get to choose.” None of us chose this life, either, but you are so right in forging ahead and making these tough choices. I downsized too, so hard to move on from that other life, but once settled, I can truthfully say it was a good choice. This may not be my forever home either, but the next move will be easier. You are not alone, and making the decision to move is the hardest part. Good luck in apartment hunting.
  • Kelley Lynn
    commented 2016-04-02 07:43:00 -0700
    These types of decisions are soooo hard for so many reasons. Different circumstances, but I moved out of OUR apartment abotu 14 months after he died. I just couldnt be there anymore, surrounded by stuff and things that were part of a life that no longer existed. Like you, I felt like I didnt fit there anymore. I get it. Leaving there will be VERY hard once it actually happens, it will be extremely emotional, but I think once you do it, it will improve and open up your life greatly , and in ways you cant possibly see right now. So good for you, brave one. So excited to see you in June!