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On Losing a Loved One: Home Is Where Your Happiness Is

posted by: John & Melissa Steele in Life

After the loss of a loved one, the home you shared together may not feel like home anymore. The thought of moving can feel as though you are not properly honoring your loved one’s memory, and you might be afraid of losing touch with the places and things that remind you of the life and love you shared. It is easy to want to avoid change, and yet life has already changed in a way that you’ll never be able to revert back to.

The Trouble With Staying

Staying in the home where you and your loved one made your life together initially seems like the best way to stay connected to him or her. The sights, sounds, smells, and general familiarity make it seem as though your loved one might come through the door at any second. But this feeling can add to your grief and may become a deep and troubling depression that is difficult to escape. As you yearn for your loved one, the same emotions are repeated endlessly until they become unhealthy for you and others in the household. Moving is difficult, but it can provide a catalyst for more positive change following a loss.

Deciding Where to Go

Whether you just need a new place that feels like home, or you are looking for a smaller, lower-maintenance property, it is important to focus on your individual needs. Creating a checklist can help keep you on track as you look for a new home, and avoid any confusions about what you actually need now and what you and your loved one may have dreamed about in the past.

Consider whether moving closer to family will be helpful for emotional support, as well as what type of home might best support your new lifestyle and financial situation.

It’s also important to resolve any potential issues or tax liabilities with selling or transferring existing real estate, if it was in any way considered part of your loved one’s estate.

Preparing for a Move

Once the decision has been made, either proactively or out of necessity, it’s time to get your life back on track.

Start by deciding which items to take with you and which to leave behind. This includes making those same decisions about your loved one’s personal items. Focus on things that provide positive sentimental value, while disposing of other items in a way that will honor your loved one’s memory and legacy. This may mean selling items to help support your move, donating things to someone in need, or simply discarding stuff that is no longer useful to anyone.

It can also be helpful to hire a professional to do a one-time move-out service, easing the emotional burden and saving you time.

Making a New Home

While the process to get here is emotionally charged, for most people, it provides fairly immediate relief. The change of scenery, circumstances and surroundings allows you to start fresh building a new life, while still honoring the fond memories of your loved one. It can be helpful to visualize how your loved one would want you to live your life. Moving on doesn't mean forgetting.

As you determine what comes next in your life following the loss of a loved one, consider the challenges that inaction will present before taking any action. Determine if you will be able to process your grief in your current home or if you need to consider relocating.

If moving is right for you, evaluate your needs and resolve any looming legal matters with your existing home. Once you are ready to move, decide which items to take and find ways to simplify the process. After you’re in your new home, you’ll be surprised to realize that you have already taken many steps toward healing.

This post is a guest post by Lucille Rosetti. Learn more about her and contact her at thebereaved.org. 

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