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As the summer draws to a close, many families will find themselves facing a time of transition and adjustment. Grown children will be leaving for college or possibly moving into an apartment of their own. Families may be facing work related moves before the start of a new school year. Other families may be downsizing and entering a new phase of their lives.

As families face changes, they also must deal with a series of mixed emotions. There is the excitement of new adventure. There may be a sadness in leaving an old neighborhood with good friends. With downsizing one inevitably faces purging of belongings.

As one leaves friends and neighbors, not only does the person feel a sense of loss, but there may also be a bit of apprehension about what lies ahead. “Will I find new friends?” “Will I fit in?” “Will my old friends forget me?” So many thoughts race through the brain as the car pulls away and heads into uncharted territory.

When a couple makes the decision to downsize and leave the family home it can be liberating in many respects. There will likely be less cleaning and maintenance.

There may be more time and freedom to enjoy travel and leisure activities.

There is, however, quite a lot of emotional turmoil when one “dismantles” the family home. After all, this is the place where one’s children were raised. This may be the home where a couple started out as young newlyweds and grew together. There are many memories attached with one’s home.

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At times it is difficult to separate the “house” from the “home.”

People accumulate so much “stuff” over the years. In the process of purging we run across possessions that trigger a multitude of memories.

They make us laugh and cry or just sit back and reflect. It is not easy to toss out possessions that hold so many wonderful memories for us. In a way it feels like we are dismantling our lives.

What we had, may be gone. There are many different points of view related to managing possessions. One person may feel, “It’s just a cheap plastic cup. Toss the cup and save the memory.” Another person may feel, “It is the cup that triggers the memory. If I don’t have that trigger, the memory may be lost.”

Whatever changes one must face and whatever point of view one holds, it is important that the family and the “home” remain intact. Share your thoughts and feelings with friends and loved ones.

Talk through the situation together. Maintain a loving relationship in the home and go forth to make new memories together.

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Kaye Frataccia is the program manager for Around the Table. This column solely represents the writer’s opinion.


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