by Dr. Nyle Kardatzke, PhD
If you have had the good fortune of owning a home and enjoying it with your wife and children, you have had a great blessing. If you own a home, as I do, you will likely reach a point where you will question whether you should continue living there. I am at that point in my widower’s journey, and I’ll share some of my experiences with you.
My wife and our three kids moved into this house in 1993 when our children were in high school, middle school, and grade school. Our kids became adults here, met and married spouses, and formed families, and they value their memories in this house.
Everything in every room reminds me of my wife and the times we shared here. The house is like a ship traveling through time with its cargo of memories, and I sometimes wish I could live here forever.
Of course, we were not designed to live forever in our current homes or even on this earth. I feel my body decline as the years have passed. My wife had been gone for twelve years, and I’m now in my early 80s. It seems apparent that I should sell the house and move to a senior living place for my safety and comfort.
An apartment is being made ready for me at a place I can afford. I will move there a week from today. This is a good plan, but I have bouts of fear and doubt. I have to remind myself of the reasons for the move, the good aspects of the new place, and the need to sell the house. I pray about the move, and God has assured me that the move is the right thing to do, but I sometimes have to return for reassurance.
I can’t fully imagine what will happen to my possessions of a lifetime that surround me here. Some things will go to my kids, some to charities, some sold, and some will be stored until I can fully decide. Oh yes, some things will be trashed. I’m sure I can go through this process, but I know it won’t all be easy.
If my wife were here, we might have wanted to stay in this house longer or moved to a smaller place already. I don’t have her wisdom and encouragement to help me, so I must walk this path alone. If you are making a similar transition, I hope you will find help and encouragement from your family, friends, and local institutions that specialize in moves like yours. There are agencies in every city that help older people with decisions like this.
I’ll write another little essay after my move. I hope I can tell you that I have made the move smoothly and happily. There may be some bumps along the way that I can help you avoid. We shall see. Stay tuned.