New Home, New You - Moving After the Loss of a Loved One

Guest Blog Written by: Lucille Rosetti

After the loss of a loved one, everyone responds differently. While there are different stages of grief, not everyone goes through all of them or in a prescribed order. In nearly all cases, though, there comes a time when you’re ready to live your own life again. For some, the best way to move forward with a fresh start is by relocating to a new home. Below are some of the benefits of downsizing and moving, along with tips for managing the move.

Benefits of Downsizing and Moving

  • Downsizing brings not only financial benefits, but by simplifying your life, you’ll be able to focus more on your future. You’ll have less to clean and maintain and less things to worry about. This means more time to pursue activities that bring you joy. HGTV has great tips for downsizing, and if massive clutter is holding you back, perhaps the best tip is this famous quote from William Morris: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
  • Moving is a positive way to create your “new normal.” According to Edward T. Creagan, M.D. from the Mayo Clinic, "Time has the ability to make that acute, searing pain of loss less intense and to make your red-hot emotions less painful — but your feelings of loss and emptiness might never completely go away. Accepting and embracing your new 'normal' might help you reconcile your losses."
  • Moving can help you address your new needs. If you live on five acres that your loved one used to maintain while you worked in the city, you will not be able to tend to both your job, your health and keeping up with your property. Part of moving forward is figuring out what you need to do to take care of your physical, mental and emotional self. For some, this might be downsizing to a condo; for others, it might mean moving back to the town where extended family resides.
  • Moving for a change of scenery can bring with it a fresh new perspective and the hope of reinventing yourself. There’s something to be said for not having to face the places you associate with your loved one on a daily basis.

Managing the Move

  1. After identifying your needs, you’ll need to figure out what you can afford. Start by researching what your current house is worth, either online or by consulting with a realtor in your area. Then research homes in your price range or where you want to relocate. For example, the average cost for a home in Kansas City, Missouri, is $103,000. 
  2. Find realtors you feel comfortable with -- one who will market your current home and one where you’re moving if you’re leaving the area. Talk with as many as it takes until you find one who clicks with you and understands your needs.
  3. Be kind to yourself and hire a professional moving service. What might take you weeks will take them only a few days, and your beloved belongings are much less apt to break.  
  4. The ultimate challenge is deciding what to do with your loved ones’ belongings. In grief circles, this is known as the “go through.” Only you will know when the time is right to begin this process. Be extra gentle and patient with yourself. When you are able, consider giving some items to special friends and family members or a favorite charity. Remember that the most valuable things are the memories you shared with this person.  Those you’ll have forever.

No matter how long ago you lost your loved one, moving is still going to be an emotional process. You may feel like you’re leaving a part of your soul behind. This is completely natural and part of the healing journey. Once you’re in your new home, there is hope and healing ahead. You have given yourself an opportunity to make beautiful new memories. Congratulations on your new home and your new life.

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