I recently decided it was time to move on in my life...

and that meant letting go of the home where I celebrated my wedding, raised my children and mothered their friends. It meant letting go of the four walls that had been the second home for a community of young people and the backyard that has hosted hundreds of people and countless parties over the years.

It has been a painful and yet liberating process and one that has made me reconnect to the importance of empathy and patience.

Cleaning out a lifetime of 'stuff' is hard, it is emotionally and physically demanding. Every item has to be considered...keep, discard, donate, sell...then through the tears, cleaned and lovingly put into the appropriate box.   It is an exercise in guilt management and goodbyes.  It is not fast and it is certainly not easy.

Sorting through "stuff"

I realized that my home, often referred to as the Oasis,  had over the years become an Albatross.  It had been a life anchor for so many of us for many years, and yet it was starting to drown us all with the weight of carried items and responsibilities.  Memories have weight.  Emotions have weight.  Obligations have weight.  I did not realize I was carrying all of this, it was a gradual accumulation, a slow slide into heaviness and a tiny bit of house despair.  You might feel the same way.

As I progressed in the purge and each room was emptied and repaired, I started to feel lighter and more hopeful.  I realized this home deserves laughter, happiness and lots of people; she is at her best when making people feel loved and protected.  I am detaching bit by bit and looking forward to the adventure of what is ahead rather than the nostalgia of what is behind me.

Family at the Oasis

So for those of you who are helping mom or dad or the grandparents prepare to sell, have patience and act in love.   Let them share the memory of the anonymous face in the photo, it is part of the process of letting go.   Yes the market is hot and houses are selling well...but  some things are more important than money and these things take time. If you are triaging yourself and feeling that it will never get done, call me, we can commiserate!  And as a free bonus......I'd be happy to share some of the tips I have discovered. ;-)

Par Catherine Dawe