Wednesday, 27 February 2013

The Move

I clearly remember the first time I seriously thought about selling our house. I remember it because it was Harri's birthday and I thought it would be a good opportunity to tell my whole family, as they were all coming in for his party.  I hadn't made any decisions, but was hoping to see what they all thought. It turned out that there was never an opportunity to talk to everyone together, and now I'm so glad I didn't, because I can see that it was a decision that I had to make on my own.

I know that if I had asked people what they thought about me selling our house I would've gotten lots of different opinions.  I didn't need lots of different opinions to confuse me. I just needed to think as clearly as possible about what to do, and decide for myself and for my boys.  

I had so many thoughts running around in my head for months:

Would I regret it?

Was I just trying to run away from the grief?  

Would moving actually make things easier to cope with?

What about my beautiful garden that the lovely landscapers just did for us? How could I leave it? The garden was actually the one thing that almost made me stay, because I loved it so much and was so grateful for what they did for us.

What about the cubby house that the kids from Aaron's school built?   I knew that if we left I would want to take it with us.

Could I afford to buy something I would be happy in?  I was so blessed to be able to pay off our mortgage because of Aaron's insurance money and the fundraising money.  It was such a blessing to have no mortgage for a year.  I knew I would probably have to have a mortgage again if I bought a new house, and was so worried about how I could cope with that financially.

How could I leave our beautiful new house which we built to suit Noah?  We loved our new home and we chose everything for it. It would break my heart to have to walk away from it. 

How would the boys cope? I knew they would be upset about it and didn't want to put them through more stress after what they had already been through.

Could I handle selling and buying a house on my own?  How could I cope with the stress of that, and would it be worth all the stress?

Should I just rent out my house and rent somewhere else, until I really knew what I wanted to do?

I had these thoughts running around in my head for about three months.  At first I just thought it was a silly idea and thought the idea of selling would pass, but the more and more I thought about moving, the better I felt about it.   I finally made the very hard decision that I really had to sell our house and it broke my heart, but at the same time I was looking forward to having a change and hoped that it would help all of us. It's an awful thing to dread going home and to hate being there. I used to love being home, but home was just a sad place to be.  

The nights and weekends were the worst because they were so long. I would usually only sleep for a few hours, and would then wake up and lie in the dark just thinking about how different things were, and wishing the sun would just come up.

I knew that I just had to have a clean break from it and knew that it wouldn't be a place I wanted to go back to, so selling was my only option as it would be cheaper to pay a small mortgage than to rent.  When I finally decided to sell I told my boys, family and a few close friends.  I was so worried about how the boys would take it and just casually mentioned it in the car one day that I was thinking that it would be a good idea to move.  As soon as I said it they all burst into tears and said they didn't want to move.  I knew that is how they would take it and we talked about all the good things and the bad things about moving.  They then started to see that although it would be sad, that it may be a good thing to move. 

I was so worried about starting the process, because it would mean that it was really happening, but I had been looking at houses on the Internet for a few months, just to see what prices houses were.  I knew which areas I would like to live in, and one house kept standing out to me.  I told my friend Lisa that I had my eye on a house on the net,but didn't seriously think it would be one that I would be able to buy, but she said there was no harm in just having a look and rang the real estate agent.  

The next day Lisa and I went through the house and I liked it even more in real life.  Lisa had told the real estate agent why I was wanting to sell my house, and had arranged for him to come and have a look at my house.  I was planning on meeting a few different agents, but when I met Dave (Hernyk) he seemed lovely and expained things really well, so I thought straight away that I would probably just choose him to sell my house. 

Two days later he came back to my house and told me how much he thought it was worth and explained the process of selling a home including all the costs involved.  He told me that Harcourts recommend that you get professional photos and even a video made as it looks a lot better on the internet.  As he was telling me that and the costs involved for getting them done, I was thinking that I could just take the photos myself and was about to tell him, when he said that he realised I was into photography. 

I was surprised but he explained that he was actually at the landscaping awards dinner and saw me there, and hoped that I didn't mind, but he had read my blog before.  He then told me that he had spoken to the company that did their professional photos and video and explained my situation to them and said that they agreed to do the photos and video for free for me! I couldn't believe it and was blown away that strangers would do something so nice for me again.  I feel like so many people have done so much for us, and couldn't believe that almost a year after Aaron passed away, that people were still helping us so much. 

Dave then said that he felt so much for us because of what had happened, and said that if I chose him to sell my house, that he would like to offer his time to sell it. I had no idea what that even meant, but he then continued to say that he had gone to the director of Harcourts and told him of my situation and said that Harcourts wanted to sell my house for me for free - charging NO commission!  I felt like crying and could've hugged him, but didn't want to scare him! I could not believe what I was hearing and was so, so grateful that such a big company and that Dave would do something so amazing to help me.  

I knew straight away that things were really meant to be and was so grateful for the blessings that were starting to come my way.  Things started happening within days and photos and video were taken and my house was listed on the internet and in the newspaper. 
I had looked at a couple more houses to compare them to the one I really liked, but I didn't like any as much as the first one I looked at. I made an offer on the house and a couple of days later I was signing a contract to buy the house I liked, but it was subject to sale of my house. Dave told me to be prepared to wait around four months for my house to sell, as that's how long on average that houses were taking to sell right now.  Two weeks later Dave rang me to tell me that he had two offers on my house!

At the end of December our house sold.  I was so grateful to know that I could relax during the summer holidays and not have to stress about whether or not our house had sold, and didn't have to worry about keeping it clean all the time. 

I was so happy that it had sold, but so sad at the same time. It's such an awful situation to be in, to have to sell a home that you love, because you now hate being there.  The boys were excited when I told them that our house had sold, because they knew that the house we were moving to was going to be nice and it was also close to their schools which meant they could all walk to school. It was nice that they could see that it was going to be a good thing to move.

The last few weeks I have been coming home from work and packing boxes all night and doing the bigger cleaning jobs.  
It was a good chance to do lots of sorting and tossing out things we didn't need anymore, and it was easy to get rid of a lot of the boys and my stuff, but I couldn't get rid of any of Aaron's things.  I told him I was sorry as I threw away a lot of his old sports magazines, but I kept a few for the boys that had a label on them with his name and address on them. I just didn't think I needed to take hundreds of magazines with us.  I had moved his clothes to the top of our wardrobe, and couldn't bear to part with any of them, so I just packed them into boxes to move to the new house.
I left the pictures and wall stickers up as long as possible and hated having to take them down. 
The week before we moved was really hard.  Jay was so sad to know that we would be leaving soon and was so upset.  Kobe also started crying a lot more than usual and kept saying that he didn't want to go to 'the new house'.  Although I knew that moving was the right thing, I was also feeling really sad about leaving and started wondering whether I was doing the right thing. I knew deep down that I was, and that things wouldn't have worked out how they did, if it wasn't right, but it was still so hard. 

As soon as I decided to sell, I wrote to the lovely landscapers who did our garden for us, and told them what I was planning.  I told them what a hard decision it was, and how I had planned on staying at the house and enjoying the garden for many, many years but how it just became too hard to stay there.  I was so glad to get a letter back from them, letting me know how glad they were that they could do our garden for us and to know that we loved it so much, and wished us well as we moved and said they hoped that it helped us. I know that without having the garden done it would've been so much harder to sell the house, as it wasn't finished off.  I felt so sad having to leave our beautiful garden that meant so much to us. 
I had considered taking the Japanese maple tree that was given to us by a friend, and the buyer said it would be okay to take it, but when I thought about taking it away from the garden at the front of the house, I felt sad that it mean that the garden wouldn't mean the same thing.  The tree had represented Noah and the rocks the boys, and I and the other tree was Aaron, so I felt like it all needed to stay together.  I thought it would be nice to drive past now and then and to see how much it has grown as time goes on.  On Saturday the boys sat on their rocks one last time.  Harri was too sad to come back up to the empty house with us.

The buyer of our house was happy for us to take a couple of special things from our garden which Aaron had planted, which I was so grateful for.  Our lovely friends Nettie and Kelvin are awesome gardeners so when they offered to help, I put them on transplanting duty.  It's not a great time to be moving trees but hopefully they will survive in my new garden.
 Last Friday night my Mum came and stayed and helped me finish off the packing and then on Saturday about twenty friends from church and family turned up with trucks, utes and trailers and had moved everything by lunch time.  It was incredible to have so much help, and I was so grateful that people could help so much.  While the guys were doing most of the heavy lifting, the girls were inside cleaning. 

My brother Jared pulled the cubby house apart (as there was no way we could get it to the new house whole) and put it back together at our new house. I was so glad that I could bring it with us.

Once everything was in our new house, Jay, Kobe and I went back to our old house to have a look and to meet the carpet cleaner. Harri didn't want to come and see it empty as he said it would make him too sad.  As we drove there Jay had tears streaming down his face and he told me he didn't want to leave because he felt Dad and Noah there. I told him that I don't think that they were there because of the house - they were there because of us, and I said that I really thought that they would be with us wherever we go.

When we got to the house Kobe and Jay went straight to their empty rooms and just sat in them. It was so sad and made me cry. 

It was really sad to see the house empty.  Jay and I sat outside and had a good cry together and talked about how hard it was to leave, but how our new house would hopefully be a happier place to be.

I felt so sad for the boys and wondered whether I had done the right thing.  Jay was so heart broken and I just wished that I could fix everything for him, but I told him that this was the start of a new chapter and we weren't leaving Dad and Noah behind. They were still a part of our lives and would always be with us.

We left the keys behind and walked out and shut the door.

We were both so sad when we shut the door for the last time and had a good cry out the front, and laughed as we took a photo together because we were a wreck.  We knew it would be a time that we would want to look back at, later on.

As I drove away I felt at peace about the decision and knew that the move would be a good thing for us. I stopped at the supermarket and left Jay and Kobe in the car, and when I came back Jay said 'I've just been thinking that I am silly to be upset. It's just a house and Dad and Noah will always be with us'.   I told him it's not silly to be upset and it's okay to be sad about it, but that he was right.  We were only there for a couple of years together as a family and it was a lovely house, but it wasn't lovely to be there anymore and hopefully our new house will be a happier place to be. 

The morning after our first night in our new house, I opened up my bedroom curtains and saw this....two rainbows! It would've been amazing to wake up to one rainbow, but two!? Surely it is more than a coincidence!?  I really believe that Aaron and Noah were letting me know that they were happy with my decision and were letting me know they were still watching over us.

Thank you so much Harcourts, Dave Hernyk and S Group for being so kind and generous, and helping the boys and I to have such a positive experience with selling our home and buying our new house. If anyone is looking for an awesome agent then I know who you should call :)

Thank you also to everyone who helped me move and clean on Saturday.  I am so grateful to have such amazing family and friends. 

We are already feeling at home and happy in our new house.  Jay said yesterday 'it's official! I love this house!' which is a huge change to how he was feeling on Saturday.   Photos of the new house will come once everything is unpacked and it doesn't look like a bomb has gone off :)


  1. You're an awesome Mum, Lisa. I'm excited to see the new house! xxxxxxx

  2. This made me so teary. I totally believe you've made an awesome decision for you and your boys but I'm not surprised because you always do.

    I'll always remember how much I enjoyed caring for Noah in both of your homes, but especially how easy everything became in the new house, being able to hoist and wheel him by myself without having to get you or Aaron to help me carry him. And how he'd wince and squirm when I would accidentally not flip the dial on the shower over and would end up spraying him with cold water. Poor monkey. (Sorry Noah!) And I remember having cuddles with him on the floor when you guys had me and Makayla over to watch the sad episode of Rafters. How much has changed since then... This is such a great move and you're absolutely right; they're with you wherever you go.

    Love you heaps. xo

  3. oh I was crying all the way through that and then the rainbow picture tipped me right over the edge. I can't imagine how hard it was but gosh you're amazing to have done all of that. I love how everyone came to help you move.
    enjoy your new home, I need to go and get a tissue now

  4. Oh Lisa I was crying through that entire post too!! I'm so happy for you that everything worked out so well (and I'm amazed and delighted that the real estate didn't charge you any fees - wow!!!!)

    Sending you lots of love and happiness in your new home!! You amaze me!!!!

  5. I hope you realize that people help you not just because of your losses, but because you are such a kind woman. You are so appreciative of all the help that you've received, and that makes people want to help you even more! I hope that you and the boys are happy in your new home. <3

  6. Sometimes you just need a fresh start and to start over again. I think the new house will be good for you and part of the healing process and a new beginning.

  7. I'm crying. You made such a difficult decision. Your strength is inspiring. I think you and the boys will have fun and make some beautiful memories in your new home. And Aaron and Noah are still with you.

  8. Oh what a sad decision but really the best for everyone. The two rainbows are definitely a sign.

  9. I believe it's possible for you to continue in your life in the path you feel best without leaving Aaron and Noah behind. Like you said, where YOU are, THEY will be. I'm happy you found a home you like (the view, BTW is amazing) and that you are already feeling peace and seeing blessings from following your heart. You're a great mom making hard decisions - wonderful job! Congrats on the new home!

  10. What a great post! SOOO sorry that you and the boys have been so upset - BUT - am also so proud that you made the very difficult decision all by yourself. Just know that moving is hard, regardless of the situation, and you are past that point now. Can't wait to see pictures of your new home. I am one total stranger that believes you did the right thing for yourself and the boys. Enjoy it!

  11. man I got tears in my eyes as I read this. I'm so glad though that things worked out perfectly for the move, that your house was able to get people's interest so quickly and that you found the perfect new place to live. So happy for you guys

  12. Everything fell into place for you right away. There should be a warning because I read this post while I was at work and it made me cry. Rainbows where definatly a good sign!

  13. As like everyone else, this post brought me to tears. The picture of you outside the front door one last time really made my heart ache for all of you. Change is never easy but it sounds like this is the best decision for all. Best wishes to all of you! You truly are an inspiration for women everywhere.

  14. Oh you are amazing! I know you will continue to make meaningful memories in your new home!

  15. Wishing you joy, peace, and much happiness in your new home.

    A house is just a building.
    It's the people inside that make it special, and the love and memories you bring to your new home, will make is a beautiful place to live.

  16. Like everyone else I am crying. What a difficult decision, but it sounds like it is right in your heart. I hope that you can fill your new home with love and gorgeous memories. xx Eleise

  17. Well done on selling your house you beautiful and brave lady :-) What an emotional post, I had tears streaming down my face as I can only imagine how hard it would have been leaving your old house. I think you've done the right thing though and hopefully it will bring you some more peace xo

  18. Nothing more to add, just wanted to wish you all the best in your new home

  19. I was crying the whole time reading you're post. You're such a strong woman that you made this difficult decision on you're own. I wish you a lot of happiness in you're new home! Lots of love, Dineke

  20. What a hard decision to have to make, but one that will help you all I'm sure.
    If it helps your boys to hear it, home is where love is and I know there will be an abundance of that in yours.

  21. You definately are a strong lady and made the right decision for your family. When your boys are grown they will be so proud of you and appreciate even more everything you are doing for them now.

  22. I can't imagine how hard it was for you to leave your home and buy a new one, but as you said, it just didn't feel like your home anymore and you weren't happy there anymore without Noah and Aaron. Sometimes we need to make big changes in our lives to help us and our family move on. I know this is something I have to do as well. I've lived in my family home for 74 years--my grandfather built the house, my Dad was born in it, and I've lived here with my parents. When I met David and we got married, he moved in. Now everyone is gone, and it is just me. It is a very lonely place to be and I know I have to make a big decision. I have tenants, but it is wearing on me to be a landlord with all of the expenses that come up. If I didn't have tenants, I could never afford to live here. But the situation is is overwhelming for me and I don't know where to begin. David has been gone for two years, and it has been very difficult. And, the weather certainly doesn't help. I'm waiting for spring to come, and the sooner the better!! Bless you Lisa for the choice you made for you and your boys, and may you have lots of happiness in your new home and make new memories. And as you say, Noah and Aaron will always be with you. Much love from Massachusetts! I see that Christian is still in NH with Becky and family. They went bowling for Stevie's 14th birthday. I'll bet he is having a wonderful time.

  23. Well done to Harcourts for doing something so nice for you. It is always good to hear when a big company like that will help someone, especially in today's hard ecomonic times. All the very best to you and your family in your new home. Karen

  24. Lisa,

    I guess that is what Kermit the Frog meant when he sang of the "Rainbow Connection". You're a smart lady and a great mum !

  25. Beautiful heartbreak. Good on you...all of you for doing something so hard to make things more bearable. I just can't get over those rainbows. I imagine Aaron and Noah both doing a little sidestepping as they cheer you all on. :)

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