When you lose a loved one, especially one who was a constant part of your everyday life, it can
be difficult to see the world around you go on without them. Your environment and your routine
feel off, and this can make it harder for you to process your grief and move on from it. For some,
moving and finding a fresh start somewhere new can be exactly what is needed.
Of course, moving is a complicated process at the best of times, so moving in this particular
situation can be incredibly daunting and often overwhelming. This guide will attempt to give you
some useful tips and advice to make the transition easier.
Finding a New Home
The first decision you have to make is where to go. You don’t have to move across the country
— some people just downsize to a smaller house in a different neighborhood. It’s entirely up to
you to decide how much of a change you want.
That said, you should move somewhere with friends or family nearby, especially if you are a
senior who has lost a spouse. According to Psychology Today, loneliness in widows can lead to
a reduced life expectancy and an increased risk of dementia. You need people around you
during this difficult time to help you grieve.
If you are an older adult, you also want to focus on finding a house that is appropriate for aging
in place. This usually means something smaller, with step-free access throughout the home and
wide doorways and corridors. Even if you are in perfect health at the moment, you need to be
prepared for the eventuality of limited mobility and ensure that your new home will be one you
can age in comfortably and safely.
Sorting a Loved One’s Possessions
Most people use a move as an opportunity to declutter, but this is, of course, a more emotionally
taxing process if you have just lost someone. That said, you should still take this chance to sort
through your loved one’s possessions. It has to be done at some point, and there’s no point
packing loads of stuff you ultimately can’t keep.
There is no “right” way to do this, but there are methods to make it easier. What’s Your Grief
recommends starting with the four Ps: participants (Who do you want to be there with you?),
people (Who else may want some of this stuff?), prioritize (Where should you start?), and
pacing (How long to spend on each decluttering “session”?) Approaching such an emotive
subject in such a structured way may seem odd, but it is helpful for many.
Remember that much of the stuff — especially clothes — can be donated to charity, where they
will help others. If you enjoy crafting, there are plenty of ways to memorialize your loved one
using their clothes or other items.
It’s important to stay organized in order to make the move a success. Some people find that
focusing on the practicalities of the move helps them get their mind off things, while others need
help from an organized love one. Either way, a moving checklist like this one by Real Simple
can help you stay on top of things.
You probably want to keep costs to a minimum, so make sure you think about details like
picking the best moving date in order to avoid peak season charges.
Once you are settled, you may still want or need support. Use this grief support group directory
to find it. If grief persists, you may be dealing with complicated grief, which can be harder to
overcome and lead to depression. Get in touch with a mental health professional to get the
support you need as soon as possible.
Finally, don’t expect the move to completely change the way you feel. If you have lost someone
who was important to you, only time will be able to heal that. But you will find that, with a change
of scene, everything around you won’t remind you of them so much, and that can be a relief.
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