The Heartbreak of Selling My San Francisco Home

Mia Hayes
5 min readFeb 20, 2022

After five generations, our family is saying good-bye

Photo by Belle Co from Pexels

It’s a short, uphill walk from where I’m staying on 17th Avenue to my home on 11th. Park Presidio and speeding cars headed toward the Golden Gate Bridge punctuate my progress with a pause, but soon enough the crosswalk turns green, and a robotic voice startles me. “Cross now,” it says.

That’s new, I think, remembering when we had to dodge cars to cross the busy thoroughfare.

The fog hasn’t retreated to the coastline yet, but it’s only 1:30. If the Richmond District ever sees sun, it’s usually from 2:57–3:26, although, I’ve heard the previous two days were sunny and Spring-like.

I’m happy I missed those.

I’ve flown in for the day to meet our real estate agent, Meredith. After being in the family for over 100 years, we are selling our family home and my father-in-law, Joe, is moving to DC to be near us. James and I are thrilled with Joe’s decision. We’ve been begging him to come since Molly passed two years earlier.

The fog and a brisk ocean breeze makes the air fresh and light, and after living in the humid DC metro area, I’ve forgotten how stepping outside can be invigorating as opposed to suffocating. At the top of the hill I turn left on 11th. From up here, I can see where my street collides into the lush, green Presidio, but closer to me cars rush down Geary, and Clement Street’s pedestrian traffic meanders through its intersection. Once, I pushed strollers up and down this hill and shouted at my son, Ryan, to not go too fast on his bike, but now I walk alone.

When I left ten years ago, my house was painted olive green and trimmed in a subdue orange to coordinate with the garage’s orange-brick front. It stayed that way for years until the salty ocean air peeled the paint from the wood siding and Joe had the house repainted a light blue with darker blue trim.

Even with its altered appearance, I recognize my house and stop on the sidewalk. My breath hitches as I gaze up the terrazzo stairs to the portico-covered landing. I don’t know why, but I expected to see Molly waiting for me, but she was stolen from us by dementia.

Mia Hayes

40-something who 💯 doesn’t have it all figured out, but long story short, I survived. Love big. Love hard. Love you.