And the Decision is . . . . . 12/1/2013

Header:  A not-quite-ready Thanksgiving family photo taken by bonus son Matt.  

I’ve been sitting here staring out the window for at least 20 minutes, wondering where and how to start this post.  There are so many things to tell you, so many trips taken, so many ideas born and buried, and so many decisions prayed over and made.  When I signed off in October I mentioned how tired Ted and I were – both mentally and physically.  Physically, we’re better now.  Mentally, this last month was at least, if not more, draining than October was.

Because there’s so much to tell I’m going to just stick with one subject tonight, and it’s probably the one you are most interested in.  As the weeks and months go by, I’ll fill in some of the blanks, but tonight I’ll hit the high spots on where our month of soul and house searching has brought us.

What you don’t know is for our last two weeks on Mackinac, Ted and I spent days discussing whether we should buy something else on the island.  We weren’t ready for our condo to sell – in fact, I think that last month we were truly shell-shocked to find ourselves without a place to live.  As we frantically searched for something to lease next summer, we also began to explore houses for sell on the island.  We found nothing fitting our criteria.  Next we looked at lots and seriously considered building a home in Trillium Heights.  We had the site picked out, and we found plans we loved.  But . . . just before letting our hearts take over and make the emotional decision for us, we stepped back and said, “We really, really need to get away from the island before we take this path.”  Our goal of being near our grandchildren and being near the beach would not be realized by building on Mackinac.  If we took that step, the house there would have to be our permanent home.  We would be further from the grandchildren for even longer periods of time.

After less than two weeks at the lake, we left for Florida.  On the way to Ormond Beach, we stopped in and toured a new boating community at Beverly Beach called Sunset Inlet.  Ted had seen it on-line and was intrigued by the homes having ocean views from one side and Intracoastal Waterway views from the other.  We both liked Sunset Inlet a lot, but it was our first stop.  We traveled on to Ormond Beach, where we spent time with Julie, Matt and the grandkids.  While they were at work and at school, we rode with a realtor for two days to look at houses we had called him to set up.  When we left there for Amelia Island, we had one home at the top of our list – an almost-on-the-ocean bungalow built in the 50’s that we both really loved – except there was no garage or even carport (NOT a good thing to be without in the salt air), and there was not room to build one.

We arrived on Amelia Island early enough to spend a few hours before dark with our realtor there.  We had lots of houses lined up, but the only one we were really interested in was directly on the beach.  We fell in love with it.  It was our dream to be ON the beach, and here it was.  But . . . it was only a little over 1,000 sq. ft. and it was a townhouse – which meant sharing a wall with someone else.  After five years in a condo, we had adamantly decided “no more shared walls”.  And once again, for the price, this would become our permanent home.  Could Ted and I spend months and months together without any space to occasionally get away from each other.  To be blunt, no.  We looked at houses all the next day, some with views, some without.  And then we went back and looked at the townhouse on the beach.  Could we make it work?  We left there undecided and started our trip back to Ormond Beach to watch Matthew play in his championship football game.

On the way back we passed once again through Beverly Beach, and we stopped again at Sunset Inlet.  We toured the model home once more, talked to the builder, and called our realtor out to act as our agent.  All of us were impressed with the quality of the homes (our agent said they were built like bunkers).  The windows could stand the impact of 140 mph winds without storm shutters, and the entire home is built above hurricane building standards.  But when we left for the lake the next day (Matthew’s team won!), we still had not made a decision.

Way back in the beginning of this process – in May – I said we’d be praying for God to open the doors He wanted for us and close those He didn’t want.  What WE wanted, of course, was a house on the beach on Amelia Island.  We loved that place, and one of the main reasons was it reminded us so much of Mackinac Island – a small community that swells in the summer and retreats in the winter back to the locals, a wonderful downtown, a historic district – even horse and buggy tours!  But, after we returned home and talked with our Amelia Island realtor, doors began to shut rapidly.  No, we probably couldn’t enclose the underneath parking or fence in the yard – or if we could, it would be difficult.  No, there were no single family homes on the beach in our price range.

At the same time, each conversation with the developers at Sunset Inlet ended in “Yes, we can do that.”

With all that said, last Friday we sent our signed contract in to Sunset Inlet to build a two-story home, which should be ready about the time we’d normally be leaving for Mackinac Island.  Beverly Beach is two miles north of Flagler Beach, two miles south of Palm Coast, and 30 minutes for our grandchildren.  We’ll have a new house, views of the Intracoastal Waterway and the ocean, and a boat dock.

Our house will look like this - minus the third floor.

Our house will look like this – minus the third floor.  This is the back side, which looks toward the Intracoastal.  The front looks across A1A to the ocean.

Nature walk at the back of Sunlet Inlet that leads . . .

Nature walk at the back of Sunlet Inlet that leads . . .

. . . to the fishing pier on the Intracoastal Waterway.

. . . to the fishing pier on the Intracoastal Waterway.

Our house plan.

Our house plan.

Aerial view of Sunset Inlet

Aerial view of Sunset Inlet – between Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal Waterway.


Our beach – cinnamon colored sand created by crushed coquina shells (something I admit I will have to get used to).

Site concept.

Site concept.

While all this was going on, I was having one heck of a time accepting that Mackinac Island was not going to be a big part of my life anymore.  I can’t tell you how many times Ted said, “You really don’t sound very happy about any of these places in Florida.”  I would reply, “I’m getting there, but it will take some time.”  As days went by, and with me not totally on board, I realized that Ted couldn’t let himself get nearly as happy as he should have been – it’s hard to be happy when your partner isn’t.  Since that realization, I’ve really begun to try and think more positively.  I know that Mackinac will always be with me, whether I have to enjoy it through memories or through periodic visits.  I’ve even come to terms with the fact that unless our lake house sells quickly, we might not get to Mackinac at all this summer, although Ted has promised he’ll get me there somehow – even if it’s only for a short visit.  I know that once the lake house sells, we’ll be on the island – as planned – for at least two months every year.

I came across two very good quotes today – one by Sarah Dessen in her book What Happened to Goodbye, and I’ll paraphrase it:  “Home isn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. Home is wherever the people who love you are, whenever you are together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.”  The other is by Tad Williams: “Never make your home in a place. Make a home for yourself inside your own head. You’ll find what you need to furnish it – memory, friends you can trust, love of learning, and other such things. That way it will go with you wherever you journey.”

I know that’s what I have to do now.  I have to take all the memories from all the places I’ve loved and called home and put them together inside my head so I’ll always have them all.  To those, I’ll add what will be our Florida home at the beach – a place I know I will come to love with a passion over the years to come.  

So – what about this blog?

From the thoughts stated above I’ve realized I can’t continue to write a blog exclusively about Mackinac Island. To do so is to set myself up to never let myself completely love our future home.  The same is true about the lake blog.  When our house here sells, I will have to put it together in my “head home” with Mackinac, where it will live forever.

So here’s the plan.  Sometime in the next week or so, I will post a link here to a brand new blog – title undecided as yet.  In it I’ll continue to write about our family, our dogs, our new home and our old ones.  When we visit Mackinac, it will all be recorded, as will any other trips we take – for however long.  I’ll also continue to update you with photos from the Island (both winter and summer), but on this new blog – NOT on the Mackinac blog.  Both the Mackinac AND the Lake Blackshear blogs will remain on-line forever, and can be read in their entirety by new readers (and old) whenever they/you wish.  I do this with the full knowledge I’ll lose some readers who come here because of their love of Mackinac, and I am deeply saddened by that.  But hopefully many of you will continue to tag along with the Hortons as we start this new life adventure at the beach.  Surely there have to be a few beach lovers among you :)!

So there it is.  The decision is made.  I thank each of you who lifted prayers for this decision, even if the answer wasn’t what you prayed for.  To be honest, it wasn’t what we prayed for either.  But we do think it’s God’s next plan for us, so how can it possibly not be right.  Love and hugs all around, and I’ll be back in a few days with a link to the new blog with Horton Thanksgiving pics and winter pics from Mackinac!  

God bless.



99 thoughts on “And the Decision is . . . . . 12/1/2013

  1. Brenda, whatever transpired in the heavens to bring us all together will likely never be known until we are in another realm, but to whoever it was, I for one, am thankful. You allow all of us to participate in your private day to day life, and we all feel like old and dear friends – though many of us may never meet in person. I am afraid you are stuck with many of us – we will stick with you whether you are on Mackinac Island, at the lake, in Florida or on the moon. Thanks for sharing yet another wonderful tale, blessings to you both.

      • Oh, please don’t go to the moon. I don’t think you would be able to have the internet there, and thus no blog. Besides, Faye & I plan to drop in for a visit someday and I’m sure we wouldn’t be allowed to make the trip.

  2. I’ve always been disappointed that I never had the chance to meet you on Mackinac Island…but I’ll now have to keep my eye out for you in Florida! My aunt and uncle live in Ormond Beach and I spend many hours on the sand at Flager Beach each spring break! I’ll make sure I have dog treats in hand, just in case! It’s a beautiful area…and close to your family. Thanks for the update…and glad you are continuing your blog!

    • That is so funny, Janet! Who’d have imagined that! And meeting on Mackinac is not out of the question either!

      Sent from my iPhone


  3. I love the new house,(in the making),love the water, beach and all. I will be following any new blog you start Brenda, because it isn’t so much about your writing a blog as it is about reading and following my FRIEND and her adventures. Brenda, you know how bad I am about putting things into words, so I hope you know what I am trying to say. If we never get to see each other on the island, or I didn’t get to read something you wrote, I would feel like I have lost a dear friend. So, by you writing, I get to stay in touch and feel close to YOU my FRIEND! God bless.

  4. God Bless both of you, I know this was not an easy decision. I will always thank you for filling my hunger for the island these past years. It was such a blessing and gift in my life. I will follow your Blog wherever it takes you! Love & Prayers, Gail

  5. Why yes, I did just google the floor plan of the new house. Looks nice. I know this has not been an easy decision for you. It sounds exciting, and Sunset Inlet is going to be surprised to find the number of people who will come by looking for the famous blogger!
    You won’t lose us as followers because it would be like losing a friend!

  6. I can only imagine what a decision this was for you! Thank you for bringing a little bit of Mackinac to us every week. I will continue to follow your new blog since I have become quite attached to Bear and Maddie and the whole Horton clan and friends! I will hope to see you on the Island again one day. In the meantime, all the best on your new adventure!! (Grandkids are the BEST!!!)

  7. Anyone who follows your blogs does so, because we have fallen in love with you and are enthralled by your magical words. Whether it be Georgia, Mackinac Island or Flordia… have opened your beautiful life to us and we will always want to hear what you have to say. Congratulations on making a decision on this new phase of your lovely life. Grateful to be able to “join you” on the journey ❤️

  8. Can’t get rid of me either Brenda! I’ll look forward to reading about all of your new adventures in Florida and I will be sure to keep you posted and send pictures of your God-horse Teddie!

    • You make sure you give my God-horse a carrot now and then from me too, Mary! Let me know your summer plans when you can!

      Sent from my iPhone


  9. Bree I will still look forward to your wonderful blogs. Now especially in the winters here of Michigan where we can be transported for just a bit in the warmth of Florida. Blessings to you.

  10. Dear Bree…There’s absolutely NO place like Mackinac Island!!! However, that being said, I believe your decision not to build and live there year round was very sensible. I’m glad you found a place for your permanent home and that it is close to your family. I look forward to learning more about Florida through your wonderful words and beautiful pictures. I will still be most excited when you blog and send pictures of Mackinac Island again. Hopefully your Georgia lake home will sell quickly so you don’t have to miss a summer of being on the Island. I’m also anxious to hear where you will be staying. Fortunately (for me) I am still catching up with all your previous Mackinac Island blogs (2011 and 2012 to go).

    I’m glad you’re back and I will stay tuned!!

  11. Brenda, as others have said, I started reading for the love of Mackinac but in the process felt a connection to your writing and to you and the people you have written about. I am looking forward to your next journey and also love the beach! God bless you and Ted and know that we are all here!

  12. ooooOO! I’m so excited! A brand new Bree blog, adventures & pictures to look forward to! It’s not so much about the location, Bree. It’s about you.

    You say you’ll lose readers because of the location, but I really don’t think you will. It’s not so much about where you’re doing things, it’s that YOU are doing those things!

    We stay in a very similar style home in Destin (be glad you opted out of that 3rd floor!! My chins never hurt so much climbing all those stairs every day for 7 days!! hahahaha!)

    So glad you have found your peace & comfort. Settle back and let your mind take a breather. You’re gonna need the energy to make all those building decisions!!


  13. Brenda,
    What an exciting new adventure for you and Ted! The new home looks lovely; I’m sure you’ll be pleased. I don’t blame you for choosing Beverly Beach; grandchildren can easily seal a deal!! You’ll need to fit in a horseback ride with me before you move. 🙂

    I feel like our paths are slowly crossing… my husband and I are making plans to visit Mackinac Island next summer for a CME course at the Grand, *and* oddly enough, we’re heading to Amelia Island on Thursday to the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort to celebrate our 21st Anniversary. I already feel like waving to you every time I cross the GA 300 bridge in Warwick!

    And your readers will follow you ANYWHERE!!
    Mary Jane
    p.s. another plug for Thomasville’s Victorian Christmas: next Thursday and Friday, December 12 &13! You’ll LOVE it!!

  14. Brenda,

    I’m sure you know my first choice for your Florida house was Sunset Inlet, even though I’ve never seen it. However, my prayer was that everything would work out as God wanted it to work out, and I’m sure it has.

    I’ll have to admit that when I started reading the Mackinac Island Blog, you were just the lady who wrote the words and posted the pictures, but even then I thought it was the best blog on the internet (and I still do). As time went by I grew to “know” you, Ted, Maddie and Bear. Then Faye & I were privileged to really meet you and get to know all of you and Jill too, so you see, we think of all of you as close friends, if not family. (Still can’t figure why Maddie and Bear wouldn’t talk to me.)

    I will be glad when you’re able to sell the Lake Blackshear house, and move on with your plans to spend time on the Island, although I’m not so sure all your Lake friends are so sure about that. In the meantime I’ll be looking forward to the new blog, “Bree’s Sunset Inlet Blog.”

    Some advice: I’m sure you will be getting visitors in Florida, so be sure to make up a nice sign to put on the wall. It should say something like, “We’re glad to have you visit, but this is not a hotel, so make sure that when you leave everything is exactly as you found it.” You could even put it in a nice frame.

  15. May God bless you and Ted as you take a new path in life. And I wish you lots of happiness in your new home on the beach. I pray that your lake house will soon sell and that your transition will be smooth. Thank you for continuing to blog because I love it no matter where you live.

  16. Congratulations!!! I’m so glad that you were able to find your home. The best choice was made – being close to the grandkids. You can always visit Lake Blackshear and Mackinac, but the time with the grandkids is more precious.

    I will follow the Hortons wherever they go.

  17. Oh my goodness what great news! I am so happy for you and Ted, and your grand kids the time with them is defiantly worth all of the prayers! .. Ditto to everything said above. As you so eloquently said yourself, your home is within you ❤ As we have taught our children faith, family, and friends have always equaled our true home.

    I like all of your blog buddies follow you, what you have chosen to share of yourself over the years has given all of us a prospective that with out this community would possibly not exist. Thank you for that:) We look forward to following "Bree by the beautiful beach" aka " The Horton clan chronicle". Just a few thoughts…

    Take a breath and know every prayer large or small is always answered…not always with the answer we want, but definitely with the answer we need. Relax in your decision … Your family time and the beach, plain and simple fun! Prayers to move the lake house to a prompt sale and closure. Relax for the holidays just a bit to enjoy your time together.

    God bless and keep you,
    P.S. Thanks for the top 10, and the return of December 2nd: )

  18. Lose me because you’re moving to Florida? Oh please! You’re like a cousin I didn’t know I had that I finally got in touch with two or three years ago when I found your Mackinac Blog while looking for pictures and stories about the horses leaving the Island in the fall. I’ve followed you on both blogs ever since and will continue to follow you wherever you go.

    You’re family now.

  19. Thank you for writing from your heart through the years, I look forward to your new blog and following your new adventure!! I am so happy that I got to meet you and Jill the last two summers and look forward to seeing Jill each summer at the bookstore!! God’s plans are always perfect and He hears and answers the prayers of His children. Praying for you as you begin another chapter in your journey!!

  20. Like others above have said, we don’t care where you write from, we just want to read your words! Very glad things have fallen into place and I can’t wait to hear all about the new adventures!

  21. Wow! The new house looks beautiful and location is wonderful. I am sure that you and Ted will be happy wherever God puts you. And the grandchildren will be a treasure to be with. Know how you feel about leaving Mackinac Island. But life changes and we need to change with it. Memories of the Island will always be with us. God Bless you both. Love Maryellen

  22. Brenda, I started reading your blog because we were headed to Mackinac Island and you are a great resource for all things Mackinac! Because of your love of life, family, people and the Lord I will read your blog wherever you write from. Your blogs bring warmth, fun and, sometimes, tears (happy and sad tears) to many lives and I am thankful you write the way you do! Thanks for sharing your life with us!

  23. Mackinac Isalnd is a wonderful place to visit, but my love for activities in the water would put me near the ocean. Now to figure out how to get my kids to move out of the land locked Midwest so I can be near them and near a ‘water activity fun’ body of water. So glad this is going to work out for you.
    I have been following you since the second year of your blog and will follow as long as you are willing to write. Just love your writing style, your openness, and your family’s willingness to be shared with all of us. Barb

  24. Congratulations! The house looks beautiful, and the location couldn’t be better. My wife and I love Mackinac Island more than anything, but we dream of someday retiring down south near a beach. It doesn’t get any better than the Beach! God bless and good luck!

    • Come on down, Dave! Maybe we could all start a Mackinac Island Beach! Hmmmm. . . Florida might not be ready for that!

      Sent from my iPhone


      • Lol. My only problem is I have another 15+ yrs before I retire. Unless I win the lotto, of course.

  25. Wow Brenda, what a great and heart felt story. Only God knows the master plan since he created it but i will be his vehicle in making sure that your new home construction experience at Sunset Inlet is your best experience by far. Always know that you can reach out to me for anything:) I hope your day is filled with many great moments.

  26. So the decision is in! Congrats guys! Of course I’ll still tag along at the new blog. I’ll archive this site in favorites and I look forward to the new blog site. I’ll shoot ya an email soon. Very happy you and Ted are now moving forward.

    • BTW I have a cousin in the Keys, and a sister in Tampa, and I own an airplane. A little gulf coast tour is in store one day.

      • Flagler County Airport is the closest to Beverly Beach, FL. (I got curious and looked) Nice Class D airport. Next year (work schedule permitting) Sirena and I want to fly our plane to see the sis and down to the Keys to see how my cousins new home build went. He and his wife are retired completely at 47. We’ll add that to our destination list for sure.

      • Awesome, Jason! We should be in by June, and y’all are welcome to stay with us!

        Sent from my iPhone


  27. I told you this summer that even if we didn’t have Mackinac in common, I would want you for a friend. You are a gracious lady with many talents and I so enjoy sharing your world. How about “Home is Where the Heart Is” for your blog title.

  28. Many have said the things I’ve been thinking. I started following because I love Mackinac Island. But then it began to feel that you were a friend. Now it’s just a new step in life for you and Ted. And I want to come along for the ride. You will love being close to the grandchildren. God Bless you and Ted during your transitition period.

  29. Congrats on your new home! Keep on writing, Brenda. You have a gift and that’s why we all love your blog. You can introduce us to a new area in the country. (But still, I have this feeling Mackinac hasn’t seen the last of you!) :)))

  30. Brenda, I am so happy for you & Ted, I know that was a very hard decision to make, loved your quotes, they are so true. I am excited for you both, so much going on in your lives. You both are Blessed to be able to do this, I have enjoyed so much hearing about your travels, I will continue, looking forward to hearing about your life in Fla. God Bless you & your family & have a very Blessed Merry Christmas…Much love, your friend in Sylvester

    • Was in Sylvester today, Peggy, out at the cemetery putting poinsettias on Mama and Daddy’s graves. Thanks for being such a loyal reader.

      Sent from my iPhone


  31. So much to look forward to. While I’m sorry to see your two lovely homes pass into memory, I need to remind myself that life and change are different sides of the same coin. I am thrilled you will be so close to your grandchildren and have such beautiful amenities at the same time. I love the idea that I will still be able to live vicariously through you and your blog. There is a reason that you and Ted have made this prayerful decision at this time in your life. Change is never painless but there are so many pluses in this decision. Be happy and trust.

  32. I think you have made a wonderful decision! You will get more excited and enthusiastic when you begin to see the boards going up, the windows hung and shingles layed. And 30 minutes away from the kids is not so bad. Sending holiday greetings to you and Ted.

  33. So happy for you both on the decision and I have to say it’s looks like a wonderful home and wonderful place and I for one will follow your blog (whatever you call it) and can’t wait to hear of your new adventures on the beach!! And who doesn’t love the beach?! I think about moving sometimes too, but then think about our family and friends and then I change my mind.

  34. So many comments! It’s plain to see that we all love you, Bree, and will follow wherever you go. You just happened to be writing about something we all had in common – the love of Mackinac. I’m excited to read about your new adventures! Seriously, the fact that your grandkids are 30 minutes away – a no-brainer. They grow so quickly and I’m guessing they’d love to accompany you to Mackinac in the summer – what fun! Prayers and good thoughts for the path you’re taking. I know you will bloom where you are planted!!

  35. Brenda, so happy you and Ted have finally made a decision on where to start your next chapter in life. Your new home looks beautiful and the location you have chosen, sounds incredible. I look forward to reading your blog from your new home in Florida. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas Holiday!

  36. So glad to hear about your plans for Florida. It seems to be so difficult when it’s happening, but so easy after all is done and we look back. You will only be about 30-40 miles from our river place. We’ll have to get Ronnie & Claire down for some fishing and play. Would be nice to see y’all again.
    I actually had a call out of the blue yesterday from one of my former teachers–while we were out fishing, no less! Was great to hear from her, and we both agreed we are in a better place now!
    Keep on blogging!

  37. Must admit too, that I was drawn to the stories and pics of Mackinac Island. Of course I became attached to you and your lovely family on the way.
    I’m happy that you guys made a decision.I too will still be following you, wether you are north or south. Best wishes to all.

  38. So glad you made a decision, and so soon! The hard part is over – now you can relax for the holidays. (Ha! A woman relax for the holidays? Right!) There’s plenty of work for the new year – and what a wonderful year it will be!

    Best of everything to you and Ted and Bear and Maddie and all the rest of your family. Sure wish we were only 1/2 hour from our grands!

    I’ve known several people who spent time living on Mackinac and no longer do. I don’t think it ever leaves your heart. Visits will just be that much sweeter. And I’m not going to miss all the adventures of building a new house on the beach! Can’t get rid of us that easily!

  39. I’m so happy for you that everything has come together before the end of this year. You/Ted have to be very relieved and thankful to know which direction you are going now. You have had enough uncertainty for this year. The dogs will love the ocean if allowed. I don’t know…will the salt water be bad for their skin???? Poor Bear with his allergy. Place looks lovely and so glad they have to build them to withstand the high winds/water now. God bless you both. Nothing like being close to the children and grandchildren. I’m so very happy for you. Glad you will be blogging from Fl and keep us informed on what you are seeing and doing down there. Merry Christmas and a VERY, VERY HAPPY AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR TO YOU BOTH AND ALL OF YOUR FAMILY !

    • Merry, Merry Christmas to you, Judy! Yes, it’s a pet-friendly beach. No idea how Bear’s skin will react to salt water, but we’ll see soon enough. Maybe it will even be good for him!

      Sent from my iPhone


  40. Sorry I was so late in cking Blog. You two moved faster than I thought you would considering the holidays coming up! I doubt you will lose many viewers. Relax and stay healthy and keep doing things that make you both happy!

  41. Thank you for your many blogs in the past about Mackinac. I have greatly enjoyed them and I will look forward to your future blogs to see where God leads you and how He will continue to use you to bless so many others.

    Unsure how to put this into just a few words, but 2 of your paragraphs spoke to me in a place I really needed it right now: (portions from those 2 paragraphs) “Home isn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. Home is wherever the people who love you are,…” by Sarah Dessen, and “Never make your home in a place…” by Tad Williams. And, “I know that’s what I have to do now. I have to take all the memories from all the places I’ve loved and called home and put them together inside my head so I’ll always have them all. To those, I’ll add what will be our Florida home at the beach..”

    My journey in life right now is emptying out my parents home of over 50 yrs. I have lived in this area for over 50 years and their home has always been “home” to all of us in many ways. My dad passed away a year ago and Mom moved to Assisted Living a month ago. She has (early) dementia and it has affected her emotional attachment to things and people, in that she is completely detached. She has no emotional response to any of this, nor did she when Dad died. She packed up a few small boxes and walked out of the house a month ago and has no desire to go back to her home of over 50 years for any reason. I have asked her if she is ever home-sick since moving, “no”.

    While in some ways this is good because we don’t have to contend with her fighting the family on this move or being miserable or depressed, I seem to be the one who is FEELING all the emotions…for everyone. I have spent many hours in the past month emptying out the kitchen cupboards, going through desk drawers and file cabinets, filling a trash bin and recycling bin each week. I live within a few miles of the home so I have to drive past it often, which makes my heart ache even more as I acknowledge each time that the house is now empty. No dog to greet me when I open the door. Mom is not standing at the kitchen window. Dad is not sitting in the living room watching sports, calling out to me as I walk in the door. Just Cold. Emptiness. Sadness.

    BUT, your posting has reinforced to me that “home” should not be a “place”…a building. Home needs to be with PEOPLE. Home will be where we make it! My husband said the sweetest thing to me a few years ago, something he heard in the movie, “Finding Nemo”: “… when I look at you, … I’m home.” My mom is still alive! I can still visit her! I can help her have new adventures! Maybe she won’t be able to actually remember them from day to day, but I can make “happy moments” for her…moments in time, because that is all she has left now. But those happy moments in time will become happy MEMORIES for me and my children to cherish in the years to come.

    I, too, am embarking on a major permanent change in my life that involves a home…the FAMILY home. So much in my life has changed permanently over the past year. I never would have guessed a year ago that one year later, my parents would both be “gone” and their house empty. Losing Dad to death, but losing Mom to a brain disease. And now saying good-bye to a house. Definitely time to refocus…to regroup….to make new traditions for the sake of my family and myself!

    Thank you for your honesty and for the long, difficult road you have been on in making this decision. Being willing to share from your heart has helped people in ways you probably had no idea it even could. I thank God for leading me to your blog today so He could give me words I really needed. God bless…

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