Moving After a Loss: How a Change of Scenery Could Ease Your Grief
The death of a loved one brings indescribable loss. During intense mourning, you might wonder how you’ll carry on without them. Memories with the departed can provide comfort or pain. As SBS writer Sheree Joseph notes, you might feel like your world has exploded and you must now pick up the pieces. If you shared a home with your loved one, moving could provide a fresh start and change of scenery to ease the pain of grief. Whether you’re longing for the soothing sounds of nature, a new chapter in life, or a reliable support system, relocation can be just what you need after a loss.
Should You Move?
The death of a spouse or close loved one is one of life’s most stressful experiences. Moving can help you learn to live without them. However, relocation is a profoundly personal, major decision. Rather than rushing into it, pause to consider what’s best for your unique situation. Experts recommend waiting six to twelve months after a loss before deciding to move.
In the meantime, you can deal with burdens like funeral expenses before moving. To help ease your stress surrounding burial and funeral arrangements, you might purchase burial insurance or final expense insurance. These policies save you money by helping cover funeral costs and lingering medical bills. Although it’s painful to think about, planning for funeral expenses can ease your mind and help your loved ones’ financial futures.
HomeBuying and Selling
If you determine that a move is in your best interest, know what you can afford to pay for a new home, start saving money for it, and begin planning for moving day. Before buying a home, find a trustworthy, highly-recommended realtor who can help you buy a new home or sell your current home. According to US News, a reliable real estate agent should have experience, be responsive, and be able to cover a large territory while “maintaining intimate knowledge of local markets.”
If you rent, you’ll need to give your current landlord notice before moving. Advance notice requirements vary, so when in doubt, either check your lease or ask your landlord. Regardless of whether you’re a homeowner or renter, you’ll want to clean your current home before you leave. That way, you’ll get back more of your security deposit as a renter and stand a better chance of receiving higher offers as a seller.
The Tough Stuff
You’ll also have the difficult task of going through your loved one’s belongings and deciding what to keep or discard. To remove some of the stress and confusion from this process, LifeHacker recommends using your loved one’s will as a guide. You can also hire an estate lawyer and accountant to help you navigate estate taxes and a property inventory.
Starting one room at a time, sort through your loved one’s belongings. Most people find it easiest to start with a garage, basement, or attic before moving on to more sentimental rooms, like your loved one’s bedroom. Remember, you don’t have to do this alone. You can call friends, relatives, or even hire a professional organizer who specializes in bereavement cleanouts.
You might also honor your loved one with a shadowbox of their belongings and photographs. These handmade memorials are a thoughtful way to maintain a connection with your departed loved one while moving forward with your life.
Where to Seek Help
If this process feels painful, know that you’re not alone. “Your tragedy is Option A. Your plan is Option B,” says Byron Auguste, who experienced personal tragedy when his brother suddenly died. By finding new ways to bring meaning to his life after tragedy, Auguste was able to work through his grief.
For additional support during this challenging time, the Compassionate Friends, hospice centers, and local bereavement counselors can help you. You might also search the internet for a local nonprofit or licensed grief counselor. Loss is devastating, but it’s possible to honor your loved one’s memory while continuing to live your life. With a support system and some careful planning, you’ll get through this.
Lucille Rosetti 💚