Moving Forward Sometimes Means Changing Spaces

Written by: Lucille Rosetti

They say you never fully get over the loss of someone you love. This is true in many respects, but you do go on. And sometimes, the best thing you can do to honor the memory of a love lost set out on a new adventure by giving yourself a change of address.

Don’t Go Just Yet

Most grief experts recommend waiting a year before moving after you lose a spouse, partner, or child. While there is no timeline for grief, this should give you time to realize a new sense of normalcy and decide if leaving the home you shared together is truly what your heart desires.

Once you’ve made your choice, you can start thinking about where you would like to live. Perhaps you’d like to be closer to the beach. Maybe you crave the excitement of the city. You might even want to move to be closer to friends and family. Next, decide how much you can afford. You can come up with this number by first knowing how much of your income you can use for a mortgage and how much you can afford to put down. If you own your current home, you can use Redfin’s online home value estimate tool to get an idea of your equity.

Other money matters to take into account are your own final wishes and medical expenses you leave behind when you die. Now that you understand the emotional turmoil of planning a funeral, do your surviving family a favor and invest in burial or final expenses insurance. This act of love can’t keep them from grieving over you, but it can also reduce their financial burden.


Say Goodbye

Now that you know where you want to go, you have your finances sorted out, and your loved ones are protected, it’s time to do the hands-on work. The hardest challenges are those to tackle first. Usually, this is sorting and purging your loved one’s belongings. Modern Loss recommends having a friend sit with you while you do it, which can bring comfort and provide an objective opinion. As tough as this is, it is a necessary step. Not only does it reduce the number of items that you have to pack, ship, and rearrange in your new home, but it can also serve as a jumping-off point that triggers the start of your new life.


A Change Is Good for You

There are many reasons why moving to a new city — or even state — is good for you during this trying time. Once you have learned to move through your emotions, having a new place to call home can help you focus on you. Chances are, your life goals have also changed, and moving into a new area can help you realize new goals. There might be practical reasons to go as well. If you work in the tech industry, for example, and the job market is better elsewhere, moving makes sense when you’re ready to chase better career opportunities. And in the case of a lost spouse, if you’re only living where you are now because it’s where they wanted to be, you are in a position to make a move just for you.

A final thought: You don’t have to make this decision alone. Talk it through with your friends and family. If you are unsure of what to do, their advice and listening ears might be just what you need to work up the courage to go or to stay. Remember, however, moving is never easy, but what waits for you on the other end of change may be worth the struggles to get there.


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