Moving Day: Leaving The House That No Longer Feels Like Home

Dear Husband,

Today is moving day. Last night was the last night I will ever spend sleeping in the same house that I once shared with you. Now I must take this packed house and start a new life in a new place. A life without you in a place that isn’t yours. This isn’t a day of celebration, nor is it a day to grieve. This is a day for both simultaneously. I do not celebrate moving into a new life without you; but rather, I acknowledge that this is the first major step in accepting that you are not coming home. I know it seems that I should have accepted this by now, but how do you accept the unacceptable truth that that the one you can’t live without is gone.

This house stopped feeling like home after you died, but in this place I still hold onto this hope that you will be coming home. That there has been an impossible mistake and you aren’t really gone, or maybe this is all a dream and I just need to wake up. Leaving feels like giving up hope and I don’t want to go. Every time I tried to pack up this house it broke me. I have spent more time sobbing on the floor than accomplishing anything useful. So I asked for help and found it in the most amazing place. Your coworkers packed this entire house. There were so many of them. They came with a plan and didn’t ask anything of me. I think if I had sat on the couch sobbing the whole time they would have just worked around me. They were wonderful and exactly what I needed. I am still speechless from everything they’ve done for us (I know… me… speechless!). But as soon as they finished, I broke down into tears because I realized that the time is here for me to take my first step away from you. You have already left, I know that, but it is so hard for me to have to be the one to take this next step into this new life without you.

They tell me you will always be with me, that you are still here in my heart. And I know that. But it’s not enough. And moving from this house does feel a little like leaving you, even though I know you will be no more gone than you already are. But on the nights that I really need you, I will no longer be able to close my eyes and imagine that you are there in that space the way you once were. I will not be able to close my eyes and go back to the moments that I don’t want to let go of, and just be in them with you. I won’t be able to stand in the places you once held me and imagine that you are right here, that you are holding me like you once did. I still have my days where I just hope and pray that I will hear you come up those stairs. The closer we get to this move the more I have been wishing for you to just undo this and come home. We can just fix this and go back to the way it always was, the way it is supposed to be. But I will never go back to the person I was before, and we will never be able to go back to how it was.

Today I am moving out of our house and into a house that you never called home. The strength that it takes to move today is a strength I am not sure I have, but I know that even if I’m not strong enough to move this mountain, it will be moved today. I have learned something that you learned years ago before I met you, and something you continued to face through the years that we walked together into battles with your health. You don’t know how strong you are until being strong is no longer a choice. You were strong. And I am admitting now that I never realized the strength it took for you to face what you have faced every single day when you were sick. Every day you ached, every day you hurt, every day you watched everyone else go through “normal” while you were stuck with sick. And every day you got up and kept going as if you didn’t feel the hell that I know you felt some days. So I am following your example. I am doing what you did, or at least trying to. You have given me so much strength, and you have given me my reason to stay strong and power through this. You have given me reason to heal, not just survive. I don’t want to survive this. I want to heal. I hope in time I can find the same grace that you had when you watched everyone else go through normal while you were living through the unfair, the broken, the harder than “normal”.

So today I am moving. Today I am taking this first step away from the life we lived together. Today I will survive this, tomorrow I will break from this, and the next day I will start to heal from this. I miss you every single day. I love you with every piece of me that is still here. You will always be in my life, you will always be my family. You will always be my love.



Published by

Becky Nolan

I a widowed mom to my young daughter. I lost my husband suddenly at the age of 29, leaving me with a one year old child to raise on my own. I live in Connecticut, where I met, married, and lost the man that I am still proud to call my husband. Every day I struggle. Every day I learn. Every day I am grateful for the time I had with him, and for the little girl he gave me before he left. I have found comfort and healing in writing. I have found purpose in sharing my story, knowing that so many others have been through it, too. Knowing that everyone has experienced loss and struggle. Words can be healing when they come from that deeply honest place within the soul. Grief is too lonely a road to walk alone, so I aim to give comfort and company on that lonely road.

13 thoughts on “Moving Day: Leaving The House That No Longer Feels Like Home”

  1. this is so beautiful. I moved out of the house that no longer felt like home in Sept. Thank you for putting words to my feelings as I prepare to give keys to that house to tenants this weekend…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Mary. It is a very hard step that none of us actually want to take… but as hard as it is, I think widows and widowers (and anyone who has experienced very deep loss) eventually learn that they can withstand anything. So let it rain. My heart goes out to you as you take this step. I know it is especially difficult around the holidays.


  2. I can identify with your feeling,although I didn’t move out of our house.i seen him in every room, felt the love we shared and The aloneness that followed. Part of me died with him,my heart felt dead. I thank God for the years he gave me and I know that I Will spend eternity with him.
    That is what helped me get through the grief,although it took a very long time to get here. Thank you for sharing. I pray for your healing and know in my heart that some where in the future you will find happiness again.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow Becky, so well said. I’m not a good writer, I feel everything you said but just can’t seem to write it down. Thank you for doing it for me. I lost my husband dec.2015 coming up on a year. Three really good friend and my girls. Helped me pack up. I remember feeling sick as I pack more and more of his stuff up as if I was getting rid of him. It’s all in storage for now as I figure out life and I know when the time comes. I will slowly unpack with the same friends and my girls and we will smile and remember. 💕 Thank you Jane


  4. Oh tears…my husband died 3 months ago. 2 months ago I packed up our stuff and moved across the country, leaving our old life behind. My emotions have run the gamut of relief that I don’t have to be assaulted with painful memories every day to the agony of severe homesickness. Wishing that my life was the way it used to be and knowing that it never will be and wishing desperately for my old familiar home. While I wish that no wife ever went through this, it’s good to know that I’m not alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I lost my husband 8 mo ago and the home I live in is the home we moved into a week before we got married Aug 2015. We were together almost 5 years and the home was a home of just our memories as a loving married couple. Now I live in a home that isn’t home. It’s a box that brings pain and happiness at the same time. I working on finding a place to move so that I can start fresh. As much as I want to stay in this box is as much as I need to go. It will never be the same and it will never be home again. So it’s time to let go of the pain and hope for a brighter future.
    Thank you for the inspiration and writing the words that I truly feel and don’t know how to express.

    Being a widow is hard at only 31 (30 at the time) but I have a whole life ahead of me. I have 3 beautiful kids (1 together) and 3 beautiful step kids that need me and in order for me to get better I have to leave the pain and start new.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. WOW!! I can’t really believe there are people out there that know exactly how it feels!! Thank you for your words, it is exactly what I need. This home does not feel like home without my beloved and it is time to heal!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I feel every single word. I lost my husband 12 weeks ago. I still live in our home but I have had so many times when I just wanted to run away. It was always in the “coming back home” that was a problem. I was alright if I didn’t leave home, but if I went out for the day, or even for a short time, something inside of me always seemed to believe that he would be here when I returned. When I came home and he wasn’t here, I would break down. I applaud you for starting your new life. Our day will come soon when we will give up this home and get a new start somewhere else. Like you, I’m sure that day will be very bittersweet.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I too am a widow for 3 years so far. I couldn’t move out of our house. Too many memories and so much love. Besides there are grandchildren to fill the empty spaces and time. There’s a lot of my husband still around; his picture, the flag from his funeral, toys he bought to someday give the “grands”, jackets (that still have his scent) Yes there are still tears sad and happy but this will be “our” home until I can no longer function here.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Donna I so agree with you. My husband died 7 months ago and I go to work each day but can’t wait to come home to our home. Yes it can be sad but at the same time comforting. I feel him here with me and that makes me happy. For me I couldn’t give up our home. Everyone is different and the important thing is to do what feels right for you. God Bless all of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It’ll be five years this Christmas since my wife died. This house his her, floor to ceiling, walls to washrooms, every corner marked with her style and sensibilities. No way am I leaving this comfort, this home that I could never recreate. Maybe when my daughter goes off to college, I’ll feel differently. But now, no way, I’m hanging on for life, staying in to the coziest corner of the world that I know.


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