It may be a tired old cliche, but there is some truth to it: You can never go home again.

Following my late husband’s death, trying to desperately connect with his memory, I considered relocating back to one of the places in which we had lived.

There had been the lovely Central Coast of California, where I had uprooted my entire life to move, back in 2006. Our casual beach wedding in Shell Beach on a Tuesday in October was certainly among the top of my memories.

But he would not be there.

There had been his hometown of Austin, TX where we had also lived. There were certainly magical times there, as well. The birth of our daughter in the Summer of 2007 has always been a welcoming memory. Everything had been perfect.

But he would not be there, either.

Life changed drastically after he died. His own father passed the same year and now there would never be any hope of revisiting those fun day trips to San Antonio, where we’d all gather for some stellar Mexican food and a “tour” of all of my Father-in-Law’s favorite haunts from his youth.

I could go to San Antonio myself. But neither of them would be there.

This woefully nostalgic feeling is not exclusive to widows either.

I could go to the adorable little eastern Oregon town in which I was born, right now, and would not see my grandmother working in her garden.

I will never again attend huge, festive holiday dinners with all of my aunts, uncles and cousins. It seems like when people begin to make their final transitions, everything changes.

You can visit home. You can even move back home. But you can never truly go home again.

I returned to the state of Oregon almost exactly ten years to the day, after I left it to go live with Bret in sunny California.

I returned to my former hometown just over two years later, and even though I was happy to be home, it was a different place than it had been, and I was a different me.

It will never be the home I left sixteen years ago, but it is home now.

All we really have is now. And if we are lucky, we have bittersweet memories of times that can never be again, but at one time were precious beyond words.

That’s why it is so important to appreciate the here and now. Because someday this will all be just a memory too.

Photo: My daughter and me, 2008 Pismo Beach, CA – taken by my LH, Bret. 

About 

Layla Beth Munk is a blogger & author who was thrust into this widowhood journey abruptly and tragically on February 11, 2018. Her husband of 12 years had ended his pain once and for all. She soon made the decision that she would not let his final decision define the rest of her life or their daughter’s life, so with her sense of humor at the helm, she started writing about her newfound station in life. Grief waves still get to her, and probably always will, but with the help of her fellow widows as well as my friends and family, she has been able to realize her dream of becoming a published author! Layla is so grateful to Hope For Widows Foundation for providing this level of support to her, and so many others! Layla has two amazing children, one who is grown and one who is almost grown. She lives in eastern Oregon and has a wellness & beauty background. Layla enjoys writing poetry, watching anime, and homeschooling her daughter.

Her blog can be found at laylabethmunk.medium.com and her debut novella, 24 Hours in Vegas, is available on Amazon.