Memoir

The Feeling of Losing Your Home

home

My childhood home in Falkenau, Silesia, Germany

How can someone handle the feeling of losing the home you grow up in? How will you feel if you lose the home where many of your most cherished memories took place?

When you lose your home, it feels like you are losing someone you love. In a way, you also go through the five stages of grief: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Denial

This is always our first reaction when we lose something or someone important to us. When we lost our home to the Russians after the war, I kept on hoping that we will get it back. I hoped that it was only temporary. Of course, my hopes were dashed when we were forced to move. I wondered how we could go on, and I felt overwhelmed. Thankfully, my mother was always there for us to guide us.

Anger

“Why is this happening? This is not fair!” Yes, those were exactly the words that formed in my head when I realized what was happening. The anger that I felt was an indication of the intensity of my longing to get back the home I grew up in. I didn’t want to move around and stay in temporary places for a few months. I wanted my home back.

Bargaining

During this stage I struggled to find meaning for what has happened. I would plead to God and ask for the pain to be taken away; for us to find a place to stay during those hard times. But no amount of bargaining or negotiating with a higher power or one’s self was going to give us our home back. No matter how hard I wished it’s just not going to happen.

Depression

Then the reality sinks in. I realized that I’m not getting my childhood home back. I became withdrawn. I didn’t know if I can ever find a place where I can call home again. Yes, my family moved around and we lived in different houses. However, I could never call those houses my home.

Acceptance

The last stage is acceptance. After a while I finally accepted that I’m not going to go back to my home, so it’s time to move on. I told myself that someday I would find myself a place I can call home. And I believed that I’ve found that place.

Anneros Valensi was born in Falkenau, Silesia, East Germany in 1938. She was just six years old when the war and its fallout struck her and her family. Valensi became a registered nurse and in 1961 she moved to London, England working for Standard Telephone & Cables as stewardess on the company plane. While living there, she was hired by Trans World Airlines to train as flight attendant and in 1966 she immigrated to America. She has two children and three grandchildren and currently lives in New York.

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