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Trapped in a Happy Home – It’s true: When One Door Closes, Another Opens

Living In The Past

Many times I meet clients that are first time buyers, a very common phrase. But this new client was a last-time seller. That’s a phrase I bet you are not used to hearing. 

Ruby had owned and lived in a picture-perfect house for nearly 54 years. Her husband, a builder, custom built the house that they raised their three daughters in. 

It was a loving home filled with memories – kids playing in the yard, birthday parties, nights peeking out the windows waiting for the girls to come home from dates, hot chocolate on snow days, and that good to be home feeling they felt after returning from a long trip. In essence, it was a storybook setting.

But after the kids had grown and moved out, and then the passing of Ruby’s husband, the house, once full of happiness, had lost its vibrant energy that made it so special.

New neighbors moved in but they weren’t the old friends that Ruby had shared a life with. The house needed more and more upkeep. Sparks of the old joy flashed during the holidays when the girls and their families came home, but that rush of happiness was always too brief.

Ruby was now living alone and very attached to the house that had brought so many smiles. However, her kids could see that she was holding on to what the house used to be, spending too much time alone, and was missing out on her golden years.

Finally, her daughters convinced her it was time to sell the house and move on. We helped her get the house ready and put it on the market. After an admittedly heartbreaking clean-out and settlement, the new owners took the keys. The proceeds more than covered Ruby’s move to a local retirement community.

But the story doesn’t end on a sad note – far from it. In her active retirement community, Ruby is overjoyed with things to do. She’s made new friends, has an active calendar, and she’s surrounded by like-minded people. And with those new friends she can recount and share all the stories of the old house and the kids growing up – and that feeling of happiness is always there with her.

Ruby’s daughter had an epiphany that I think is worth sharing.

“The old house had all the memories of years past, but no new memories were being created. Now that she is in a retirement community she is giddy with things to do and people to do them with. Even though her new house is not as special as the old one, her new community has brought back the joy of spending time with others and trying new things.”

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