Going through the loss of a loved one is a life-changing event for you. Deciding to move, whether for a change of scenery to start fresh or out of necessity, is a decision that brings about another big change. A lot of different factors go into this decision from practical matters like the process of selling and packing to the emotional matters of deciding where to move and handling your loved one’s belongings.
How do you know if moving is the right thing to do?
For some people, moving after loss is the most practical thing to do, especially choosing to downsize to a smaller place that’s more manageable. You may also consider your social network and whether moving to be closer to friends and family could help you get through this emotional time. Your home is more than just a house, and you naturally have an emotional attachment to where you spent the most time with your loved one.
At the same time, it can be healthy to keep those memories in your heart while moving to a new place where you can start fresh. Considering all of these factors, make sure you do what’s right for you because well-meaning friends and family members will probably give you conflicting advice.
What should you consider when selling and buying a new home?
If you’re selling the home you owned with your spouse, there may be legal and tax considerations, like the tax deduction for a jointly owned property. You also will want to consider the value of the home you’re selling when budgeting for your new home, especially if your loss means finances will be tighter. An experienced real estate agent can be valuable in helping you navigate these complex legal and financial considerations.
You may also need to make some changes to get your home ready to sell. The Balance recommends making necessary changes as practically as possible, even if it’s hard. You may need to paint, remove dated window coverings and replace old flooring to get your home in the best condition for selling.
When looking for a new home, start by thinking about where you see yourself in the future. For many people, going “home” to be closer to family gives them a sense of comfort and normalcy following a death. For others, this is an opportunity to branch out to a spot they’ve always dreamed of. Whichever is best for you, don’t let your emotions keep you from finding a home that truly suits your needs, now and for the future. You may want a home that’s on a single level and that will require minimal maintenance. Downsizing to a smaller home also has the added benefit of reduced energy costs. Make sure to research home prices in the areas where you want to live. The median listing price for a home in Grapevine, TX, is $408,000.
How do you navigate packing and sorting your loved one’s belongings?
Once you sell your home, the time will come to pack up and get ready for the move. This is naturally going to be a highly emotional process, so it’s important to have a plan and do your best to make decisions wisely. What’s Your Grief recommends sorting belongings based on the 4Ps — participants, people, prioritize and plan — and pace yourself. Approaching sorting items with this plan won’t take away your grief, but it can make the process easier.
The “participants” part of this plan is about whether you do this alone or get help and support from others. Even if there are some parts you feel you need to do alone, don’t try to take on everything by yourself. You may even benefit from hiring professional movers who offer a packing service. Having this help relieves a lot of pressure from your shoulders, and hiring a professional allows you to take a step back. Just be sure to take the time to shop around.
Whatever your reasons are for moving after your loss, this isn’t a decision to be made lightly. Leaning on the support of professionals and those who are close to you can make it easier, though. They can help you navigate this process so you’re able to start over in a space where you can honor your loved one while also making it your own.
Article by Lucille Rosetti
Lucille created TheBereaved.org as a means of sharing tools to help people through the grief process. Having lost some of the people closest to her, she understands what it’s like, and how it can be an emotional roller coaster that doesn’t always seem to make sense. She’s currently writing a book, Life After Death: A Wellness
Guide for the Bereaved