7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Moving Following a Loss
There is no right or wrong way to deal with grief. Different people react to loss differently and move on in different ways. This is why there is no right answer to the question of whether to move after losing a loved one. On one hand, the change of scenery can give you a fresh start in life. On the other, it’s a big overhaul to undertake during an already unstable time in your life.
Before making this decision, take your time thinking about it. Below are some of the important questions you should be asking yourself at this point.
Am I emotionally ready to make this decision?
Some experts recommend that you wait at least six months before moving following a loss; this can vary from person to person, however. The important thing is that your decision-making isn’t clouded by your grief and that you are not making a decision you will eventually regret. Don’t jump into this, especially if things still feel raw.
What help do I need?
Moving is overwhelming at the best of times, and these are certainly not the best of times. You will need both the emotional and practical support of your loved ones and professional help from an experienced moving team. Signs of a quality mover include getting a detailed inventory, doing a thorough walk-through, and providing local references when asked. You’ll also need to find an experienced realtor to see you through the buying and selling process. Before hiring an agent, ask them about their experience selling homes in your area and their fees.
How will I find support in my new community?
If you are moving away from friends and family, consider how you are going to get the emotional support you need. For example, find a grief support group in your new neighborhood using the GriefShare search tool or look for activities and events that will allow you to make new friends.
What kind of home is right for me?
A move is a chance to re-evaluate your living arrangements. If you are approaching retirement (or already retired), you should consider looking for a home where you can age in place. This can be a ready-made senior-friendly home or one that only needs some modifications — changes such as step-free access, good lighting, and easy-to-use kitchen appliances.
What will I do with my loved one’s possessions?
This is one of the hardest parts of dealing with grief, and moving after a loss is only going to accelerate it. What’s Your Grief recommends devising a strategy, identifying who you want to help you through the process, any items that should go to people who aren’t there, what order you want to tackle things in, and how long you want to spend on each decluttering session. Remember to take your time, and don’t take on more than you can emotionally handle.
What else can I do?
Before you settle on a move, consider whether there is anything else you can do to get what you need. If, for example, you can’t sleep in a room you used to share with a spouse, a renovation might be an easier change than an outright move. Similarly, if you are desperate for a change of scene, consider going on an extended vacation. This compilation of stories from people who have done this shows that it can be a great way to process your pain away from everyday triggers and start the healing process.
How can I make this easier for those who survive me?
Finally, it might be worthwhile to think about how you can make these stages of grief easier for others when they lose you. For example, you could consider purchasing burial insurance to help your family cover your final arrangements and any remaining debt, or you could start establishing concrete plans for your end-of-life care.
It may feel like nothing makes sense right now, but this feeling will become fainter with time. A move is an irreversible decision, one that should be undertaken with a lot of thought and consideration. By stopping to ask yourself these questions, you can ensure you are taking the best step for your long-term well-being, instead of seeking a short-term solution to your grief.
PHOTO CREDIT: JAMES MILLS
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