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The Importance of Goodbye

Eva Amurri Martino shares her thoughts on the importance of saying goodbye to homes.

This past weekend we spent a lot of time sorting through our belongings, sensing joy from them–or not– and making huge piles to give away.  Overall it felt great to be simplifying our lives (well, as simple as a lifestyle blogger’s life can be…with closets full of entertaining and styling pieces..LOL), but it was a bit bittersweet realizing we have almost no time before we bid farewell to this home of ours for good.  

Even though we only spent two and a half years here, they were momentous years in the fabric of our family! Major was born in our Master Bedroom, and we lived through so many ups and downs.  I had some of my highest highs and lowest lows.  Most importantly, it was the first home our family of four lived in all together– and that makes it endlessly special to me.  I’m really excited for this next chapter, but I though I would share a bit about my other feelings about this move– since, like with any life change, it’s not just puppy dogs and rainbows.

Eva Amurri Martino shares her thoughts on the importance of saying goodbye to homes.

Eva Amurri Martino shares her thoughts on the importance of saying goodbye to homes.

When Kyle and I first found out that our offer had been accepted on our new home– and we realized we would need to immediately put our house on the market– I panicked.  I felt like I was about to cry all day long, and I couldn’t really articulate why.  We had really awesome, capable people helping us through the process, and much of it was out of my hands.  So why was I so anxious? I remember sobbing to Kyle that night and realizing for the first time how traumatizing our move from LA to the east coast had been for me.  It had happened so suddenly, and we had just found out I was pregnant again after my miscarriage.  With Major!

I was feeling so scared in general because of that, but especially vulnerable leaving my best friends and taking my daughter to a new town where we hadn’t even looked at homes yet! We had to pack our house in two days, and then our move out day itself was hectic and stressful.  I took Marlowe ahead of Kyle, to a hotel by the airport, while he settled everything with the moving and shipping company.  By the time I realized I hadn’t gotten to say a real goodbye to the house, it was already too late.

Eva Amurri Martino shares her thoughts on the importance of saying goodbye to homes.

Eva Amurri Martino shares her thoughts on the importance of saying goodbye to homes.

I brushed this under the rug, since I had so many other emotions going on at the time, and I don’t think I ever really revisited it.  When I knew we’d be moving out of another home, it stirred up those emotions all over again.  Kyle understood immediately, and we decided that when we did move out, we’d make sure we prioritized time to say goodbye to the house as a family.  We plan on spending some time there once all our things are moved out to say a prayer of thanks for the wonderful years the house gave us, and to give a little blessing for the future.  

The kids are really excited about creating a beautiful goodbye moment with the house, and I’m glad that I can teach them from this young age how important it is not to underestimate the emotional weight of big changes.  I try to ask them every day what they’re going to miss most about this house, and what they’re most excited about with our new house.  I want them to know always that just because a change brings excitement, that we don’t have to hide and deflect that sadness that seeps in along with it.  It’s all a work in progress, but I’m proud to be handling the move better this time than last!

Eva Amurri Martino shares her thoughts on the importance of saying goodbye to homes.

Eva Amurri Martino shares her thoughts on the importance of saying goodbye to homes.

I’m curious to hear about if you’ve gone through big life changes or moves where you only were able to realize its effects much later.  Did you have to heal years down the road? Please share in the comments below!

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Photographs by Julia Dags.

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36 Comments

  1. Mel G says:

    Ooh girl, yes! My last move was a killer! My husband was medically discharge from the military; the defence housing people were COMPLETELY inflexible on moving dates – we needed one more week for the purchase of our new home to go through and we weren’t allowed even one day! Moving day, hubs had a job interview 2hrs away; I spent the morning camped out at the real estate office while the vendor’s legal people dithered over giving us the keys because details; the removalists were needing an answer because if they weren’t going to unload our belongings that day, they’d need to put them into storage and come another day; and to top it all off, it was 105F!

    When we finally got all our belongings in the house, I collapsed on the couch in a heat fog and declared this to be my forever home – I hate moving that much! Been here 8yrs so far…

    Maybe not saying goodbye to your old home was made harder as you were pregnant and had all the emotions to go with it?

    I wish you a smooth move xx

    01.28.19 Reply
  2. Nicole says:

    Leaving my childhood home after my parents sold it when I was 22 was incredibly difficult for me. Saying goodbye was so important. I still see the house and say “that lady lives in my house” lol but the biggest change was moving from I thought would be our forever home, in the town we grew up in NY to moving to FL. It’s been the best change, but leaving friends and family has been more than difficult. Our son in thriving here, and overall it’s a better life for us. I had to learn that all these homes were special but I had to remind myself that our family is what makes it a home. That and all the west elm decorations 😉

    01.28.19 Reply
  3. Lauren Becker says:

    We moved from our first home to our forever home last March and I felt a lot of same emotions you have been, it seems! It was exciting and the best thing for our little family, but it was sad and scary and daunting and stressful. I did prioritize saying goodbye to our old house, which I think helped, but I am still wistful for it some days!

    01.28.19 Reply
  4. Rachel says:

    This post made me so emotional and I completely understand how you’re feeling. My husband and I listed our home last week and were under deposit within 24 hours. This is obviously an ideal situation when you’re selling, but I wasn’t prepared for things to move this quickly! This is the first home we bought together, he proposed to me in our living room, came home to from our wedding and honeymoon, and started a family in (fur babies and real baby). We’re ready for the next chapter but 9 years of memories is a lot to have to say goodbye to.

    01.28.19 Reply
  5. Devon says:

    Eva,

    I am currently going through the same thing. We bought our first house in December and are finally moving in this Thursday. I feel like with all the stress of renovating and packing it only just hit me. We are so excited to start this new adventure in our first home but I’m feeling very bittersweet about leaving the first “home” we shared with our two kids. I just was saying to my husband how we experienced some really low lows (I had a miscarriage before each of my babies were conceived) and really high highs (brought both my angel babies home to this apartment). It has taken us almost 5 years to find our home and we are truly ready for the next step but again it is sad to say goodbye to our home we built as a family.

    Wishing you and your family all the best in your next adventure.

    01.28.19 Reply
  6. Kolyssa says:

    As my husband finished graduate school when we were newlyweds and starting a family, we moved 6 times in 6 years, and had 3 kids during that time. Now we are finally settled and don’t ever plan on moving again until retirement! Looking back at those hectic years, it is such a blur of hellos & goodbyes. But I made sure to document everything through pictures and videos. Now I’m working on finishing our year in review books and videos from those years. It’s a huge task, but to me it’s worth it because I can remember all the good times and the challenges that we have overcome. And I can see God’s handiwork in his plan for our lives which is just so fascinating when you see it from this side of things!

    01.28.19 Reply
  7. Stephanie says:

    Thank you for this post! I have done this all of my homes/apartments. I always said thank you and good bye. I thought I was over sentimental, but it looks like I’m not the only one that has done this. The only home I never got to say adieu to was my childhood home. My parents sold it when I was an adult. It’s funny, when I dream, and there is a home in my dream it is always my childhood home. I guess there is a part of me that can’t let go of that home.

    01.28.19 Reply
  8. Kendall says:

    When we moved to CA after selling our house in Oklahoma we had two
    Kids 2 & 3 i was so excited to leave i never really took the time to appreciate the 1st house we had ever bought and then gutted (while i was prego ugh) to make it our own
    All i saw was the money we made from selling it allowing us to
    Leave for sunny CA now i look back and see that’s our family’s 1st house our 2 boys came home to that house and their cute Noah’s ark nursery i now drive by it and have my moment

    01.28.19 Reply
  9. Michelle says:

    Why not do a little smudging or burning lantern ceremony? Say thank you to the house for all the fun memories. Let the wind carry all that goodness over to the new house.

    01.28.19 Reply
  10. Tyler Anne says:

    I’m so glad you are able to take time and process this move and teach these super important lessons to your kids. My husband is now retired from the Army, but I definitely understand the anxiety and stress of a move. I met him towards the end of his army careeer so I haven’t had to move as much as most other “army wives”, which I’m grateful for. My first major move was very traumatic and sent me into a spiral of depression that took me months to recognize. I was so stressed out it had physical repercussions! Fortunately, I have since learned how to deal with moving, changes, and stress so much better! I’m glad you were able to recognize all your feelings and come up with positive ways to deal! Thanks for sharing!!

    01.28.19 Reply
  11. Claire says:

    So looking forward to reading the comments on this one. My last move was necessarily hurried; my lease ended three days after the bar exam and I spent most of the summer in the library. I didn’t really get to say goodbye to my beautiful law school apartment or anything in that city. I don’t think there was any other way I could’ve done it, but it does make me sad.

    01.28.19 Reply
  12. Ana S says:

    I completely understand how you feel. My situation was more hectic. We live in Houston and in August 2017 we realized Hurricane Harvey was coming. We had a 8 year old and a 6 mos old at the time so we decided to play it safe and leave to Dallas just for the weekend. Little did we know that our house would flood and we would never return!
    We lost all of our furniture and belongings in the first floor. 🙁 While my husband took care of trashing everything and moving stuff out of 2nd floor, I had to return a couple of times for FEMA inspections. It was extremely sad seeing our wet & dirty belongings sitting at the curb and our house empty. This house was very important to me because it was the first time I lived on my own (with my daughter) after divorce. It was very painful to leave so sudden. Now I think literally only an act of nature would make us move since I had so many great and happy memories there. Today we live in a great house (even better) and are so happy!

    01.28.19 Reply
  13. Martina MacKenzie says:

    We moved out of our first home 5 days before our daughter (our 2nd child) was born. The people we bought our house from were very inflexible with their dates (even though they knew my due date) and it put a lot of pressure on us. It took a huge toll on my husbands health. He did a lot of work on his own trying to make the house a home for us so that we felt settled when we came home from the hospital. It was too much. I feel like we were a bit robbed in terms of welcoming our new baby home in a more peaceful settled environment as we had done with our son 2 years prior. We love our home now (6 years later) and wouldn’t change a thing but moving in general is very emotional and can certainly stir up a lot. Good luck, it sounds like you’re planning very well this time, live and learn as they say!

    01.28.19 Reply
  14. Alyssa Trad says:

    This post is so great to read! Change has always been so difficult for me, even the ones I am excited for. My husband and I just moved back to the city after 3 1/2 years in a small town because we missed our lives and everything that comes with big city living! I was so excited because jobs and housing seemed to just fall into place, however I went through a serious stage of anxiety and sadness once we were moved. Suddenly everything I had wanted was right in front of me but I was missing my friends and my life there. Thankfully my husband is amazing and helped me work through the grieving I needed to do. Now I have been able to immerse myself in our new life and have the same excitement in the beginning. Thank you for sharing, it is important for others to know this is normal and we aren’t crazy lol!

    01.28.19 Reply
  15. Alicia says:

    When I left my childhood home it was very sad. I had to move with my mother ( who I didn’t get along with) to a different town and into a very small home. I feel like I didn’t get to properly say goodbye to my old house and neighborhood that I lived in for 20 years. It still makes me sad to think about it and sometimes I drive down my old street to reminisce. Good luck with your move 🙂

    01.28.19 Reply
  16. Tia says:

    When my Nana passed away I thought we were going to be able to keep her house. I thought it was a place I would always have to go back to and just feel close to her. We lost it a few months later. I woke up one morning and it had already happened, there was nothing we could do. The thought of someone else eating breakfast in her dining room, sleeping in her room, celebrating their life in her home hurt so much. The thought that devastated me was it wouldn’t be me. My mom was raised in that house, I grew up in that house. My kids won’t. A few years ago I went back there and the people that live there were home and they were kind enough to let me come in and walk around. It was such a beautiful and emotional moment walking in the front door and down the halls into the rooms. I feel it was important for me to have that moment of saying goodbye to the place that held every memory of all the the years we had with my grandmother.

    01.28.19 Reply
  17. Jen says:

    Moving can be so bittersweet!! We just moved in December and left the home where we went from getting engaged, to being newlyweds, to bringing our first baby home; I was so sad to leave. Now, we are moving our daughter from the first daycare/care providers she has ever had to a new daycare – cue the sadness and bittersweet feelings again. Change is hard!

    Saying goodbye and thanking your home for all it gave to you – both the tangible and the wonderful memories – and wishing the next family who lives there the same, is so important, I think. It will stick with your adorable kiddos and mean so much to them!

    01.28.19 Reply
  18. Katie says:

    I get very attached to homes and places in general so this really resonates with me. Other than some months-long stints in other places, I’ve lived in the same house for nearly 15 years. My boyfriend moved out of his house this past summer, and even though it wasn’t my house, I spent a lot of time there and had a lot of firsts there, so I went through room by room taking it all in (even taking pictures), but when the final moving day came I didn’t get the time to go in and say goodbye to the empty house, and I don’t know if that’s good or bad. There’s another, bigger move looming in the near future that is bringing up those anxieties again. I get so emotional and have yet to pinpoint the cause behind it, but this helped to know someone else has similar feelings.

    01.28.19 Reply
  19. Glenda says:

    Being a military family we moved every 3 years for 25 yrs. I cried for everything we left behind and was excited for everything to come. I learned not to get attach to things. After the military The longest we lived was anywhere was San Diego – 10 yrs.

    01.28.19 Reply
  20. SHAUNA CREECHLEY says:

    We recently returned to our hometown after 17 years away. It was a quick move and pack up in our first home. Where we brought our daughter home, where she walked, where we went after we were married, etc.
    We rented our home upper unit (long story – it was a duplex in the 1890’s and we split it back up)- and kept the lower unit for my husband to travel back and forth for work obligations. Every time he returns he mourns our life lost, he is alone without us there and in a new space.
    We never got to say goodbye properly and I am scared to death to go back for a trip and how I will feel!

    01.28.19 Reply
  21. Nicole Roe says:

    This summer we purchased a much larger home only 3 doors down from our first home. It was slightly spur of the moment but the stars aligned. Our first home is where we brought our 3 babies home from the hospital and we rebuilt the entire thing. I refuse to sell it even though we should. I found a wonderful family to rent it but I tear up often thinking about when the time comes to sell. I miss it daily but we needed more space.

    01.28.19 Reply
  22. Lindsay says:

    The day before we closed on my grandparents home, I had gone there to pick up a few things that I hadn’t yet, not even thinking about and it hit me like a ton of bricks. It was the last time in that home. I practically grew up there, and it was my favorite place to go. I had to walk around and cry while my hubby waited patiently for me.
    Honestly as I type this, tears have started to flow! I really wish there was a way to have kept it, but you know like they say it isn’t the home, it is the people. Sure I am attached to the home, but those memories wouldn’t be half of what they are if it weren’t for the family in them, and I think now, when I look back I miss them, not the home.
    So that was my long winded way of saying, yes, I am glad for the good bye, but it was never really about the house. At least that is my perspective now!

    01.28.19 Reply
  23. Jill says:

    It was hard for me to leave my first apartment I had on my own. I lived there for 10 years throughout my 20’s, I evolved and changed so much. Change is hard for sure.

    01.28.19 Reply
  24. Tracy says:

    We moved from another state almost 3 years ago and in some ways I was so spent for months after. I was pregnant and we had to haul out our old house and move into a new one and it completely drained me.
    The feeling when we were done was the best though! Take it easy and remember once you get through the emptying out and the move you will be in the beautiful home of your making 😊.

    01.28.19 Reply
  25. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you for this! We are getting ready to move in a month leaving behind the house we brought our 6 and 2 year olds home. While I’m so excited for the move (only five minutes away) I can sense mixed feelings in my 6 year old and it’s starting to hit me too. Besides the fact that this is where we brought our babies home, my terminally ill dad helped as much as he could, painting some rooms, including laying on the floor to paint the trim while he had tubes coming out of his side. He died 5 months after we moved in. The new house is another new thing he will not be a part of and we will leave behind a place where he left his mark. But now I’m just trying to focus on the excitement of a new house that is so much better for us and imagine him sharing in that as well. Please keep us posted on how you say goodbye! I’d love the ideas!

    01.28.19 Reply
  26. Nahdia says:

    I feel this!
    A couple of years ago I helped my mum pack up and move out of our family home that I had lived in for 15 years. I hadn’t really thought about leaving it until it was all empty. I went to check my old room, for anything I may have forgotten, and seeing it so bare hit me like a tonne of bricks. I sat in the middle of my room and bawled my eyes out!
    Once I got it out of my system I moved through each room, remembering and thanking this house that had kept me all those years.
    All the best to your family xx

    01.28.19 Reply
  27. Andrea says:

    Moving is difficult any way you slice it. Super emotional! Our last move was really positive! The home we had lived in for 7 years was not an emotionally healthy environment for our family. We kept the old house as a rental property and as I was leaving a house warming gift for the new tenants I started crying. As cheesy as it sounds I thanked the house for giving our family shelter all those years (even though it was hard for us to live there) and told the house how happy I was that a new little family would be living there. That it’s walls would be filled with happiness.

    01.28.19 Reply
  28. Sharon says:

    Oh don’t even get me started about big changes! This past June, my boyfriend and I celebrated five years together. Then in November, we marked five years of living together. That was not a decision we made lightly, even though we had only been together a few short months. We are both in our late 40s, have been in long term relationships…but that’s another story for another time. Let me know if you ever want to hear it 😉

    Anyways, my daughter and I proceeded to pack and purge over the course of two weeks. My boyfriend had already secured a place for us and had moved in a month ahead of us. We flew by the seat of our pants and had everything packed and moved by Halloween. A few days after, he found me sitting in the living room in tears, overwhelmed by the finality of it all. You see, when my ex and I split up he took custody of our daughters and moved about 10 hours away. Most people wouldn’t think that is a long distance, but it was in so many ways. The apartment my oldest and I lived in was our first home together after she moved back home to be with me. We spent many nights talking and crying and making up for lost time. Nearly five years. I was never so happy as to have one of my children back with me. But now all of a sudden we had a new chapter beginning and I wasn’t even done with the last one. So I know what you mean completely. It’s hard to transition so fast! My thinking is as long as the kids are adjusting well, it should be smooth sailing for you and Kyle. 🙂

    01.29.19 Reply
  29. Lauren says:

    Thank you for reminding me of this. We moved last month to our new house. I really haven’t had feelings of sadness about the previous house, which is now on the market. My husband bought it during his first marriage, and while he and I are happy to move on; I do want to make sure my stepdaughter says a proper goodbye as it was the house she was in as a baby until now.

    01.29.19 Reply
  30. Miranda says:

    It’s been almost 4 years since my husband and I moved out of our first home! We put our house on the market first and waited and hoped that the perfect house for us in our desired neighborhood would become available in perfect timing. Sadly, our house sold and we had no house to move into. We ended up getting a month to month apartment rental and waited and waited. I hated it! The apartment was extra small because we were trying to save money and I felt claustrophobic and depressed. I wanted a home to decorate and enjoy and to start life in a forever home. A few months into our apartment life, I found out I was pregnant with our first baby and the panic set in! I thought of bringing home our first baby to a studio apartment or the idea of moving AGAIN to a place that wouldn’t be forever was terrifying to me. But after 6 months in the apartment , we found the perfect house!! As I packed up our apartment, I gleefully cursed that place and the fear and depression I felt there through the season of limbo. After a few months in our new home we brought our son home from the hospital and I would nurse him on the couch and take in the view of my dream home and just cry! I realized the incredible transition I had gone through and the highs and lows of such a year of change. It was overwhelming and healing to process it all.

    02.01.19 Reply
  31. Heather Stephens says:

    Eva,

    I know exactly the way you feel. I’ve moved several times in my adult life, from city to suburb, to multiple homes in our town as our family grew. Each time I had an emotional response to the move. I feel like each home has a soul and I am one of those quirky people who give human emotions to inanimate objects and I feel like our homes are sad when we move on LOL (don’t get me started on my kids discarded stuffed animals). That said, I think like you I both celebrate and mourn the memories we created at each home with our family. It’s hard to leave them behind but it’s also exciting to think about the future memories we can create at our new home.

    On a related note, I am really enjoying watching the progress on your new (old) home, as I grew up in an 1800’s farm house myself. It was a home with a true old soul and I cherished every moment of growing up there, including all the good and bad memories. So much so, that 20+ years after my parents sold it, my brother and I bought it back after the previous owners died. Long story short, I had visited the home 4 years prior with my husband to show him where I grew up and the elderly couple let us walk around. It would take too long to explain everything happening in what used to be our home, but suffice to say I honestly felt the house calling out to me to “save” it. I left my number with the owners saying if they wanted to sell it someday to call me, and I got that call years later after, just like she had said… “she left the house feet first.” LOL

    Recently, I was there after our last renters moved out and was walking around alone just listening to the house and I found myself sitting on the floor of my old bedroom – with the same ’70s daisy wallpaper(!) – crying and then laughing at myself for crying. It’s hard to describe the feeling but I get the sense that you know exactly what I’m talking about….

    I’m glad you are taking the time to say goodbye to your memories at your current home. It’s so important to honor them and that way you can close the door there and open the new one, ready to make new memories. Enjoy!

    XOXO
    Heather

    02.01.19 Reply
  32. Ann says:

    After one move, I’d often fantasize about that my little studio apartment (the first and only place I ever lived alone) in Chelsea still had all my belongings in it and I’d wish I could go back and visit. When we left California for Boston two and a half years ago, I was devasted to leave our sweet little two bedroom apartment with the magnolia tree out front and so the last thing I did before we left was to take a picture of our empty living room. I have millions of pictures of our life in that room but the empty room picture reminds me I can’t go back and that I should cherish the happy memories. It’s odd but I think it really helps me when I miss the place that feels the most like home.

    02.01.19 Reply
  33. Julie Augostino says:

    My big change is my oldest daughter is moving to Texas after getting married. We live in Vermont and she is going 2,000 miles away! She is excited, nervous and very happy. I am happy for her, but so very sad for her sister, her dad and for me. I tried to explain to her that while she is ready to start this new chapter, this is a new normal for all of us.

    She will miss her sister during her last two years of high school and beyond. They are so close and now they both have to realize a new normal will be happening. I will miss her growing and maturing and changing. I won’t be there for her and she will be the one that she relies on. I hope I’ve given her the tools, the love, the wings to handle everything that comes her way. I told her that she has to give us space to grieve, to mourn, and then to wave goodbye. I cry as I write this, because life has to change, but change can be so hard and so heartachingly real. We all will get through this, but in the meantime, I remind myself that go easy on myself and to let the feelings come, as I let her go.

    02.02.19 Reply
  34. Melanie says:

    Nearly two years ago, we moved out of the first house we had as a married couple. It was also the home where I brought both my babies home. We walked the house after it was empty saying good bye. Everytime I went in my daughter’s room I started crying (she was my 1st baby) Reading your post brought tears to my eyes all over again. It’s a special attachment your form with your home, especially when your kids were little there. Even though we had outgrown the house, and I love my new house, the old house will always be so special to me because of all the sweet memories it holds. Best of luck with your renovations and move!

    02.02.19 Reply
    • Robin says:

      Aw! I will be praying for a smooth transition and for peace for all of during this transition. Think of the month long wait as a “Staycation.” I remember when we moved and my mom cried when she realized that the phone was disconnected. It was all so final. Our homes really are a reflection of us aren’t they? My mom even left a note for the new owners of our home wishing them happiness. I never forgot that. Himebsweet home blessings to you all and thank you for sharing you family and new journey with us.

      02.03.19 Reply
  35. Brigit Rotondi says:

    This past week was a emotionally charged week for me. I had the loss of a close beloved friend. Been struggling with death and the fear I have around it. I’ve also been struggling with the news and anxiety around topics that come up in the media. I’ve been doing cognitive behavioral therapy and that has helped with mindfulness and worry. With OCD I can fixate on some things and do rituals so, it helps a bit with that. I think I’m healing from it. Healing is very much a process. I think mindfulness and meditation has been a great help and would definitely reccomend it. I have some difficulty with change also. I recently heard about emdr therapy that is supposed to help with and trauma and any maybe traumatic experiences. It seems helpful. I can write more about it to you Eva in an email if you like. Just know that healing is very possible. Your blog is great and inspiring!

    02.05.19 Reply