Learning to embrace grief and draw new strength and meaning from it.



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They Live In You, Not In A House, Nor In Stuff

This is something which I was in the process of writing almost a year ago, but I somehow got distracted. Am now revisiting this topic here.

In August 2010 last year, I moved into a new house. It wouldn’t exactly be a big deal – after all, people move all the time – except that I had lived in the same house all thirty plus years of my life. All the years I spent with my late parents, plus most of the best memories with them, took place in that house and its surrounding neighbourhood. Letting go of that wasn’t exactly an easy thing to do.

All other things being equal, in terms of assessing the old house and the new house as simply places to live in – their size, surrounding environment, freshness of air, convenience, scenic views, etc – the new house quite clearly trumps the old one. But that little piece of irremovable history attached to Old House brought about an added emotional dimension which lay beyond simply a choice of living space.

Without a doubt, I felt sad leaving Old House. That was well neutralized by the excitement of a new and, in my opinion, better living environment.

But I also felt something else. I felt guilty. Something niggling within me made me feel like I was leaving my parents behind.

Of course, rationally speaking, that doesn’t really make sense – my parents have long departed their Earthly existence. And Old House is really just a house – blocks of concrete, tiles, metal and what not.

However, even though the cause of the guilt was irrational, the guilt was, nonetheless, very real.

That night, as I slept in New House for the very first time, something amazing happened. I dreamt of my late parents. While I cannot recall the specific details of that dream, I remember that, unlike most of my dreams of them, it was relatively less grief-invoking.

I don’t remember what happened when I awoke, either. But I do know waking up feeling vindicated. Was a dream a message from somewhere? Was it my subconscious at work? Did I want to have that dream? Or was it simply a random event? After all, I dream of them from time to time, though with decreasing frequency over the years.

I have no idea. But the key takeaway I got from that dream is an important message for the moving on process.

Your departed loved ones will always be there with you, in your heart, and it doesn’t matter one bit where you are physically located or what you physically own.

And once you have ingrained this philosophy, you will find less need to hold on to things, places, and other tangible objects.

It was an important dream for me.


Comment from Malkah Kasanz
Time: September 7, 2013, 2:22 am

Battling these emotions at this time. Thank you so much for this article.

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