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Losing home

My parents are 85 and 92. They still live in the town where my siblings and I grew up, although they're in a senior's home now. I moved far away a long time ago but always made sure to travel back "home" to visit them 2 or 3 times a year. I do so willingly and those visits are always very pleasant.

Because of their age and increasing health concerns I know they won't be around too much longer. Once they're gone I feel like my home base will be gone too. There won't be any reason to visit anymore. At least not as often. My siblings live in the general area but are scattered around in various towns and cities. They have insisted I consider their homes my home, which is lovely. But it's not really home to me. I'd rather not go back at all.

My partner and I have made a home of our own in the city where we live but there's something special about a "home town" isn't there? The place where you were born and raised. Even though it'll be nice to spend Christmases at my home and not have to travel every year, it'll be strange to have lost that home base.

by Anonymousreply 5307/08/2013

Check out the somewhat corny Petula Clark song that I linked to, about this very subject. Makes me teary-eyed. My parents are 73 and 57, younger than yours, and still live in my childhood home. I cry when I think of the fact that someday I won't be able to go back and visit. Someday I may drive by, and another family will be living there. It's so depressing and it really does get me down. I had a wonderful childhood in a great community, lots of other kids around my age, and neighbors that looked out for eachother. I get sad even now when I'm there, all of the kids are grown and moved out, and the parents are all getting older.

by Anonymousreply 107/02/2013

I hated my hometown growing up OP, but whenever I go back I think of it fondly. And I've thought about what you post. Both of my parents are 85, still in the house where I was raised. Once they've moved from the house or gone or whatever, I won't have any reason to go back there again.

by Anonymousreply 207/02/2013

I am sad to think of my mom's house being when gone she passes on. My sister and I won't meet there anymore. Luckily she's still around and I have some time....

by Anonymousreply 307/02/2013

I guess it's sort of happening in stages.

They sold their house seven years ago and moved into a condo. That was fine and it became a comfortable home base. Last year they finally moved into a full care seniors facility. The place has a guest suite where I stay. It's pleasant enough and they're well cared for there, but it's still an institution. And I feel like I'm staying in a hotel.

So, I guess I've been gradually losing that physical home space for years. The emotional home will be gone soon when there's no longer a reason to visit.

by Anonymousreply 407/02/2013

I hated my home town growing up and left when I was 21. I only went back when my mom was terminal and neither of my siblings (who chose to stay there) wanted to help. The only positive thing coming out of my mom's death was the fact that I will never have to go back there again. I pretty much lived my life without the sentiment of a "home town". While I always love to see my mom, i appreciated it more when she came out to visit me for the holidays, my birthday, mothers day.

by Anonymousreply 507/02/2013

My parents are deceased (my mother most recently about 5 years ago). I do go back to my home town to visit my brother and his family about once per year, but it definitely is not the same anymore. I love to see them, but it's a bit like going through the early stages of grief each time I go back.

One thing though: I'm happy that someone else is living in my mother's house now. After she died it took my siblings and I about 6 months to sell the house. It upset me to think of the house in darkness and empty. I felt much happier after the buyer moved in.

Just try to enjoy the time you have left with your folks. Ask them about their younger days. I so regret that I didn't listen more carefully to my parents' stories of the old days.

by Anonymousreply 607/02/2013

Death happens.

by Anonymousreply 707/02/2013

What is a lot more sad, OP, is that you will die. Now that is something to be sad about.

by Anonymousreply 807/02/2013

I went back to visit my 'home town' 2 years ago. Both my parents have been dead for a while and the family house was sold long before that.

I felt little connection to that place. I think it's an easy transition. Life gives you tools to cope with losses like this -- either denial or a form of callousness, I don't know which. But I was able to look at the town quite objectively. It's no different than thousands of other small, midwestern towns. Certainly not more special just for my having grown up there.

Move along, OP. You have a new home town now.

by Anonymousreply 907/02/2013

I was looking up places (on line) in one of my old neighborhoods (where I lived as a child). It made me nostalgic and not in a good way. I was happy in that neighborhood so I don't know exactly why it made me sad.

by Anonymousreply 1007/02/2013

R10, because all past periods of your life are lost forever.

by Anonymousreply 1107/02/2013

Yes, death does happen. And we don't get to keep all of childhood books and toys and memories and bedrooms and and real estate.

It's one thing to be sentimental, as in OP's fond but measured reflections, but another to be all weepy about the prospect that one's parents might one day die, or that one's childhood home might one day be lived in by strangers, or that, as we age, our memories are increasingly enshrined in our minds and less and less in tangible people and things (a step closer to when we ourselves will be only fading memories.)

DL always has its share of weepies, wondering how they will ever go on "after mother passes."

by Anonymousreply 1207/02/2013

OP, I have had experiences very close to yours, and suspect many on this board can relate. The death of my Dad I was able to handle and process. Helping Mom decide which retirement home apartment complex she wanted to live in was not upsetting at all (in fact, it made my siblings, my Mom, and myself feel so much better to no longer be in a large house.

But then moving day came. I come from a large family, and we all descended on the house and moved Mom's belongings and furniture into the moving van. Mom was there, in great spirits, and made sure we all had food and drinks.

It wasn't until later that afternoon, when my siblings and I gathered to have a cookout together that the feeling you described hit me like a ton of bricks. It was if the house I grew up in was a fixed point in my life, and now that was no more.

This is a rite of passage for most of us, I think. The two adages "Home is where the heart is" and "Home is where you hang your hat" are both true, i.e. home is now where you live. Home is that place you share with the one you love.

The feeling is one of ache and loss, but, to borrow a line from the PSA: "It gets better." Give yourself time.

by Anonymousreply 1307/02/2013

I agree with the last poster. Sad as it was when my mother died and her home (my former home) was sold, it does get better. I still get sad occasionally about the loss of her, my old home, and my home town but only occasionally.

[quote]... or that, as we age, our memories are increasingly enshrined in our minds and less and less in tangible people and things (a step closer to when we ourselves will be only fading memories.)

R12, you seemed to have thought this through much more than I have. I guess this is what must happen eventually, if you live long enough. I don't care about me being a fading memory one day. Almost everyone is eventually forgotten. It does bug me that I won't be around to see certain things though.

by Anonymousreply 1407/02/2013

You will have many opportunities in life to live in wonderful cities and experience great things, but you only ever have one hometown.

Some of us love it and long for it, and some of us would rather die then return to it.

Where you are from isn't always where you were born, it's where you choose to live.

by Anonymousreply 1507/02/2013

What on earth would you have done if your parents sold their house and moved to FL or AZ or some out-of-state retirement community when they were 65, OP?


Many of us lost touch with the hometown when our parents retired. It's a pretty common thing.

by Anonymousreply 1607/02/2013

I just moved back to my "home town" though my parents aren't in the house we grew up in. Both my parents and I moved around the country and I lived on the west coast for over 10 years. now I am back and trying to make a life for myself in the midwest as a single, kidless gay. Though it's a big, liberal city, it's tough (understatement) but worth it to me as we're very close and parents are getting older. I want to make up for lost time. Being an only child seems to make it more important. This thread is making me sad, though.

by Anonymousreply 1707/02/2013

[quote]My partner and I have made a home of our own in the city where we live but there's something special about a "home town" isn't there?

Not for everyone. I wouldn't be surprised if we get an influx of damaged queens on this thread spouting off about how awful their childhood was and how they couldn't wait to get away from their hometowns. That said, clearly you're not in that group. I don't suppose you and your partner have the funds for, say, a country house in the area? Or a pied-a-terre? It could be a place that's both your own as well as somewhere for your extended family members to congregate when you're in town.

As for myself, we moved away from my hometown (a large city I won't mention because it has its share of haters here) when I was 13 and I don't miss it in the least. My mother subsequently "downsized" from the place we moved to, where I now live, so my last "childhood home" (in a physical sense) has been gone for 15 years now. My "adopted" hometown from the age of 13 has been my off and on residence for 30 years now (currently on, but I may be transferred out of state soon), however, and I certainly miss it when I'm away.

by Anonymousreply 1807/02/2013

I was sad to lose home base after my parent passed on. It was the hub where you could go without a reason for showing up, and you didn't have to be "on"…entertaining or being entertained. My siblings and I visit with one another, but it is mostly for a purpose and it's more brief that it might have been when meeting at Mom and Dad's house.

I am a few hours away form my Mom and Dad's home where I grew up. A house on a street with a cul de sac. I can just drive by quickly and look on. It would be nice to park and sit on the curb…remembering summer fireworks, childhood pranks, dodge ball in the street, chores in the yard, imagining all the older Country Squires and Impalas parked in the driveways…yes even being dropped of by my buddies on the lawn so I can sober up before going in the house at 2am and tripping over everything. But then, a 50 something stranger sitting on the curb might trigger the neighborhood watch!

by Anonymousreply 1907/02/2013

Be less attached. It is freedom.

You like where you live. That is now home.

by Anonymousreply 2007/02/2013

You should all be happy you had middle class experiences where the elder parents weren't foreclosed on or died in poverty or complete financial disarray.

by Anonymousreply 2107/02/2013

R9 and R12 probably mean well but they seem like callous dicks to me. As for r21, people of all races and income levels deal with the issue of "Losing Home", so you're a jerk as well.

by Anonymousreply 2207/02/2013

OP, make plans to revisit every couple of years even after your parents are gone. You can stay with one of your siblings and all drive into your hometown for lunch at a restaurant or a picnic in a park, or do something else fun that the town offers. Plan to make it a tradition.

by Anonymousreply 2307/02/2013

I grew up in a large Victorian home in the mid west. The town library was next door.

Haven't been back in years. Looked online to view the house and it is not there. Instead of my house is the new wing of the library.

by Anonymousreply 2407/02/2013

[quote]OP, make plans to revisit every couple of years even after your parents are gone.

That's kind of what I'm thinking I'll do. I don't want to lose touch with my siblings, but I don't want to visit as often as I do now. So it'll be a nice compromise. I'll go out in the summer for a few days on a weekend and have a big family picnic or something.

by Anonymousreply 2507/02/2013

My father recently passed away at 93 leaving my mother who is 92 alone in their home. I'm now spending half of my time with Mom and half in my own home about 400 miles away. It may sound burdensome, but it isn't. Both locations are wonderful places to be.

I too am concerned about what it will be like when the family home is gone. My Mother is in excellent health and still fully in control of her life, but at 92 I know this could change in an instant. My grandparent's home is only 3 or 4 miles away, and I recall the feelings when they were both gone and their home was sold. I rarely drive by to see their place.

Each time I walk out of the front door of my Mom's home, I wonder what it will be like when she is no longer alive. Fortunately, I'm in my 70's and what ever it's like, I won't have to experience it for too terribly long.

by Anonymousreply 2607/02/2013

Very sad thread. I imagine a person's attachment to their old hometown and home depends on what their family life was like, what their life is now and whether there is unfinished business. I lost my family and the family home when I was 17 but years later moved back to the same town. For years I was sad every time I drove past the house and everything else like the movie theater, the swimming pool, the high school, the cemetery, the shops, and the alley I used to ride my bike down made me nostalgic and deeply sad. I wanted to go back in that house and see it just as it was when I was a child with the family sitting at the table.

by Anonymousreply 2707/02/2013

Fortunately, I have always considered the present, "the good old days - live" so while I have the same reverie as the next guy, I am glad I enjoyed it all when those who have passed were alive.

by Anonymousreply 2807/02/2013

I am actually kind of envious of those gays who hold fond memories of their hometowns. I couldn't wait to get out, especially after my parents made the entire metropolitan area toxic for me.

by Anonymousreply 2907/02/2013

I'm not really sad about what's happening. Kind of, I guess, in the sense that the end of something is near, a passage. And that my parents, who I adore, will soon be gone.

But it's the natural way of things. It's sad, but it's not tragic. I have good memories of them and of my town, although it wasn't perfect and I couldn't wait to leave. Overall, I had a good childhood and kind, loving parents who did their best.

I'm feeling more wistful than anything.

I don't know. It's kind of hard to explain my feelings.

by Anonymousreply 3007/02/2013

Yes, having a home town to visit now and again is lovely. Unless, like me you were born in Detroit. My relatives ask, "why California?" I tell them , because it is as far away as I can get without leaving the continent. I wish I had a nice hometown.

by Anonymousreply 3107/02/2013

Grew up in an apartment building. My parents bought a house in neighboring town when I was 15. Several years after my mother died my father remarried, sold the house and purchased another in a different town with his new wife. I had moved out before this happened. When he died that house was sold.

So, I have never had an attachment to a house. I continued to return to the place I spent the first 15 years because that is where all my friends were, until high school ended ( I was able to remain in the same high school all four years).

The town I grew up in has undergone major changes in population & ethnicities. It doesn't resemble the same place at all any more. I have no feelings of longing for the place at all. In some ways I am grateful. In others I feel I missed out by not having somewhere or that "family home" to look back on with fond memories.

by Anonymousreply 3207/02/2013

OP, you may want to read up on the concept of "place attachment." Even if people have negative memories of their hometowns, they are still attached to them.

Also, the concepts of "aging in place" and "aging in community" explain why so many elders remain in homes that are burdensome.

I went back to my old hometown for a 6 month contract. It was fun visiting old haunts but, mostly, it made me grateful I left there as a teen. My friends who are still there are still living as if they were in high school.

by Anonymousreply 3307/02/2013

Home should be where you and your partner live. I don't have any major beefs with my childhood, and love my family, but my home is wherever I am with my partner and our dog. We've had to move way too many times with my job so my idea of home might be a bit flexible.

by Anonymousreply 3407/02/2013

I feel your melancholy, OP. I'm just about to go through it myself. I grew up in a wonderful kooky hippy town on the north shore of Long Island. Though I bolted at 18 for NYC, I always came back to visit during the holidays, where I would meet up with friends at the local dive bar. It's been my routine now for over 20 years.

Now it's just my mom in the house and she is about to turn 80. It simply is too much space for her, and the upkeep is insanely expensive. We are doing a massive cleaning in the spring of 2014 and then the house goes on the market.

Part of me is devastated. It will be so weird to see different people living in the house that has been in my family for 45 years. But change is inevitable, I suppose. At least she will be staying in the area (she's buying a much smaller cottage). But it is sad nonetheless.

Try to reframe it though. As others have mentioned, a lot of people couldn't wait to get the fuck out of their hometown. At least you will have the memories.

by Anonymousreply 3507/02/2013

[quote]a wonderful kooky hippy town on the north shore of Long Island

Glen Cove? Roslyn Harbor? I can't think of anywhere I've been on the north shore that was "kooky" or "hippy."

by Anonymousreply 3607/02/2013

"Glen Cove? Roslyn Harbor? I can't think of anywhere I've been on the north shore that was "kooky" or "hippy.""

Then you've never been to Sea Cliff (right next to Glen Cove) - which is the town I'm talking about. It was *most* definitely kooky/hippy when I was growing up there. Tons of artists from the city moved out there to raise families - including mine. I could write a book about the crazy shit that happened in that town back in the day.

Now sadly its just another wealthy suburb. All bland uninteresting yuppies.

by Anonymousreply 3707/02/2013

Sea Cliff. Yes. I mean, no. I've never been there. It's so nice to know there was at least somewhere hippyish out there once upon a time. There was a period in college when I was the only person I knew who wasn't from the north shore of LI, so I used to get out there a lot, from Douglaston, where part of my family is from, to Huntington, especially the Roslyn area.

by Anonymousreply 3807/02/2013

I think emotional maturity should be mentioned in this has a lot to do with how one works through transitions in life.

by Anonymousreply 3907/02/2013

OP? You're boring.

by Anonymousreply 4007/02/2013

I recently lost my mother, and feel how you do OP. I didn't even actually live in the town where she spent the last 20 years of her life, let alone that house, but it still felt like home to me, and I spent many a holiday and summer visits with her (plus my brother and sister live in the area now). I still feel a tremendous sense of loss that has to do with her home, and it being a central meeting place for everyone. I know it won't be the same staying visiting there and staying with siblings

by Anonymousreply 4107/02/2013

SeaCliff has a lot of Russians, doesn't it?

by Anonymousreply 4207/02/2013

Yes, Sea Cliff does have a lot of Russians. A couple of my friends are Russian and I have fond memories of going to their houses in January for their Orthodox Christmas. The parents always let us drink (this is when we were 14,15) and the food was fabulous.

by Anonymousreply 4307/02/2013

I recently had to move back home and into my childhood home to take care of my mom. It's been 20 years, though I have visited on holidays over the years, I always felt like i couldn't get out of there fast enough.

I have so many bad memories associated with my hometown and my childhood home, living here has been torture. The ghosts of my past are everywhere I look-- haunting me. The constant nostalgic reminders as I drive around, make me crazy!

I hate this place, this town, this history. And yet, since I never established my own "home" somewhere else, the idea of this being gone one day freaks me out! (No more safety net.)

What a mind fuck. (Now, I wanna go drink)

by Anonymousreply 4407/02/2013

Clifton Webb became an orphan at 71 in 1960 when his mother died at 91. He never left home.

by Anonymousreply 4507/02/2013

My parents sold the family home a couple of years ago for a FL condo. They don't miss the place at all, and I'd only go there again if a future spouse were curious about the place and wanted to see it.

by Anonymousreply 4607/02/2013

My parents died a few years ago in the town where we grew up.

That "town" however, is Dallas.

I left many years ago and don't miss it a bit. I have no reason to go back.

by Anonymousreply 4707/02/2013

These memories are from people who have family where they can live. In my home town when I grew up the town was great. You could walk anywhere safely, do Halloween without being mugged, etc. However, the town has shifted in population from 75,000 down to 48,000. The demographics have shifted from 60% white to 15% white. It is quite easy to leave so that you can sleep where you do not hear gunshots every night, where everyone is in by dark in the winter months, and where life is thriving with stores not just Walmart.

by Anonymousreply 4807/02/2013

Wow, OP. my parents are 10-15 years younger than yours, so I'm hoping they're around for a bit longer, but the emotions of what you describe I've felt as well. It's not tragic, I don't start bawling my eyes out, but its a sad reality, and I do feel melancholy.

It's strange, though. My siblings and I all live between 1-3 hours away from my parents, who are still in the house where we grew up. And I never really thought much about it, but once my parents are gone, ill have no reason to visit there again. I don't have any attachments left there, all my other relatives that were once there have died or moved.

Strange to think that the city that's been "home" for 45 years for me, and at some point I'll never return. Well, other than visiting the cemetery, I guess.

by Anonymousreply 4907/02/2013

It's said you can't go home again. I did, but only in the most literal sense.When my Mom passed, her house, my childhood home, came to me and my brother. He was happy elsewhere with his family, and I just couldn't "feel right" about letting it go. So, my partner and I moved out of our very comfy little rowhouse, into a house about double the size. Just a coupla' miles down the road, so to speak. We loved our little house, but thought more space would be better. I thought it would be "icky" moving back, but it wasn't. It was comforting to still have people I knew on the block, neighbors I'd known from when I was a kid. I was real close to my job(walking distance), so that took away some of the sting. Had many relatives around, several within literal shouting distance. In retrospect, I'm sorry we moved. There's only one neighbor left now who knew me when, and the folks who bought our "comfy little home" didn't think it was quite so perfect as we did. Losing THAT home was far worse than how I'll feel when this one goes. "If I knew then, what I know now....."

by Anonymousreply 5007/05/2013

I'd never live in my home town again, but I like to go back and visit. It's always very nostalgic. My brother, who still lives in the same state but a different town, go and visit our old haunts. It's always fun to reminisce. My mom still lives there.

My grandmother's house was always the gathering place for the family. She died in the mid-90s, and after that the family scattered to the wind. She left the house to her three children and none wanted to buy it so they sold it. I still get together with the extended family, but it's one of us visiting the other in his or her new city. We did just have a full family gathering for a wedding in another city that was really a good time.

My ideal would be to buy my grandmother's house back as a gathering spot for family but that won't happen until retirement age. I'd like to summer there and winter someplace warmer.

My home town has both good and bad memories. I think if you work on yourself and mature and realize that other people's opinions of you are not all that important, you can go home and just have a fun visit without all the bitterness. Of course, that will depend on how bad it was. I guess I'm lucky in that my experience was not horrible. It wasn't a picnic growing up gay in a Catholic town obsessed with football, but I had plenty of good times, too.

by Anonymousreply 5107/08/2013

My family moved around the same town a bit when I was growing up, so the house that feels most like what OP describes is long-gone; we moved out when I was 14. I drove by a couple of years ago, and the new-new owners had remodeled quite a bit and it didn't look all that familiar. I also knew the people who bought it from the people who my parents sold it to way back, and having been bought and sold several times in the interim, it was quite different.

That said, my childhood memories center mostly around objects. My partner complains about some of the relics now and then, mostly when he has to move or wipe dust off some old piece of memorabilia. I'm not a pack-rat or anything, but have kept some of my childhood toys and books, which I cherish.

by Anonymousreply 5207/08/2013

My mom died about two weeks ago. As I was sorting thru her things I realized that I was never again going to be in that house, the house I was raised and grew up in. I have a lot of great memories from my early childhood to my mid teens. My brother is going to buy the house and he and I never were friends, and we're enemies now. He raped my best friend when she was 13 and bullied her into not telling her parents or going to the police. She told me about it a couple months later and she killed herself on the two year 'anniversary' of the rape. The sad part is that I'll probably never go back to my hometown now that my mother's dead. I don't have a lot of friends from high school left living there but I got together with the ones still living there every six months when I came back to visit my mom.

by Anonymousreply 5307/08/2013
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