There is no place like your childhood home. It is a place where memories of a much better and simpler time exist. It was the place where you were happy together with your family. It was a place where food was excellent, and all you needed to do was play with friends. Heck, it is a place that holds your memories with your childhood friends. Indeed, there is no place like your childhood home.
Leaving your childhood home can be pretty tricky. After all, it is your place of comfort. But it’s not so bad. You can always come back after all. However, the same cannot be said about losing your childhood home. Having that special place where you grew up only exists in your memories is unfathomable. Losing your old stomping grounds and having them replaced with unrecognizable buildings or structures is just painful, but it is a fact that many of us have to contend with. Author Bernie McAuley contends with such truth in his book about airline pilot and Vietnam War Veteran Larry, titled Shadows of Sawtooth Ridge. Not only is he about to lose his childhood home, but Larry has to go back to his hometown, which is unrecognizable to him. Losing that home would mean losing the only thing he knows from his past.
So how do you even begin to say goodbye to such a special place?
Allow Yourself to Mourn
Mourning is a natural response when you lose someone close to you. Losing your childhood home is just like that, but it is not just anyone. It is a part of you that you are losing, the part that lives in the first act of your life. It will be normal to feel distressed, lonely, and sad. After all, you have lived half your life in this place, and saying goodbye to it is akin to saying goodbye to the kid you.
Say Your Good Byes
It may sound stupid to say goodbye to an inanimate object, but some psychologists say the ritual works. It does not have to be a verbal goodbye like you do when you part ways with your friends. Instead, you can visit each room and reflect on the things that happened there. Take a trip back to memory lane and keep the good memories with you as you say your goodbyes.
Keeping keepsakes from your childhood home can also lessen the burden that you feel. Think of it as carrying a piece of it with you. That way you can always remember it whenever you want. These keepsakes can be things like an old drawing you did when you were younger, a piece of your old car or toy collection, or even an old sports trophy that you worked hard for. That said, keep only meaningful keepsakes that you feel really meaningful. Skip the things that you have not thought about for a decade or so. They might provoke a bit of nostalgia, but they will not be as important.
Photographs are very powerful keepsakes. They have the ability to freeze a particular place at a specific time. As long as you take care of them, this photograph will never fade and be there for you whenever you need to refresh your mind on how things were back in time. Memories may shift or jumble or scramble, but looking at a photograph of something will put them all back in place.
Change is the only constant thing in this world, and everyone knows it. It is something that happens along with the passing of time. There is no stopping it, and as such, you just have to learn to accept it. Besides, change is not always a bad thing. Just think of it as having a fresh space for new things in your life. Welcome it.
Once you learn to accept change, it is time to move on. Though the physical thing is gone, it does not mean you cannot make another one. Remember the difference between a home and a house. One is just the physical manifestation of the other. And the other is made up of memories or relationships. It is hard to lose a home, but that home will always be in your heart. And besides, you need to leave home if you want to grow. Nobody stays a child forever.