I know I haven’t written about my grief in awhile, mostly because I don’t have a lot to say/haven’t felt like writing about it and because I’m enjoying it being easier to get out of bed in the morning. An interested reader contacted me about submitting a guest post about something I didn’t have to do during my grief process, but I’m sure many of you have: considering moving after the loss of a loved one and sorting through your loved one’s belongings. I loved the idea and happily accepted her offer.
If any of you would like to submit a post for consideration for The Bereaved, please do so. I’d love to hear your ideas! All submissions are unpaid and subject to my edits. Once we both agree on all changes, your post will appear on the site!
Now, without further ado, I present to you a wonderfully written post by Lucille Rosetti!
Grief is a complex, complicated process, and no timeline exists for when the grieving process should end. If you’ve lost a loved one, you may have emotional reasons for wanting to move. Perhaps your loved one died at home, and finding yourself surrounded by those memories, combined with memories of happier times, may prove quite overwhelming.
Should you feel uncomfortable in your home and your quality of life is suffering as a result, it’s time to seriously consider relocating. Unoccupied rooms with too many memories, struggles to keep up with maintenance, and financial concerns are signs that you should move.
If you feel like your grief has driven you into a rut from which you can’t escape, a fresh start somewhere new may help you heal. When you’re thinking about moving, consider this advice for helping to manage the logistical and emotional challenges you’ll face.
Is Now the Time to Downsize?
As you consider your new life, think about the type of home you’re seeking. This fresh start might provide the perfect opportunity to downsize, which offers a wide range of benefits. If you sell your current home for a large profit, you can buy a smaller home without requiring a mortgage. For example, homes in Atlanta, Georgia, have sold for an average of $295,000 in the last month. What’s more, smaller homes are easier to maintain and require less energy.
Start by making a wish list of things and features you want in your new home. Then, hit the internet to begin researching homes that are in your price range. When you’ve made the decision to move, it’s never too soon to begin working with a real estate agent.
Be Patient with Yourself
Most experts caution against making drastic life changes for at least six months after a traumatic event. Sorting through your loved one’s possessions might be an activity you’re able to start within a few days or weeks; however, you may find that you’re not ready for several months to begin the process. Many survivors say that they wake up and realize they’re ready to move on. Unless you’ve got a strict timeline for moving, give yourself the time you need.
Dealing with Your Loved One’s Things
When it’s time to sort your loved one’s stuff, decide whether it’s something to tackle alone or with help. Prioritize and plan how you’ll evaluate each item. Many people choose the room-by-room method, but do what works best for you. Remember to pace yourself; this process becomes quickly overwhelming, so take breaks when you must.
Most people find themselves confronted with the challenge of how much to keep and what to donate or give away. If your “keep pile” begins to grow uncontrollably large, ask yourself these questions to help manage its size:
- Will you have space for it in your new home?
- Are there multiples?
- Can you create something meaningful from a representation of items?
Turn Meaningful Possessions Into Mementos
A closet full of clothing or a collection of crazy ties might be harder to donate than other items. Instead, create a keepsake. Take pictures and make photo vignettes to hang. Design a photo album or scrapbook to preserve 2D items, or try one of these ideas.
Keep the (Good) Old Memories Alive
Create new traditions to commemorate your loved one when you move to a new home. For example, light a scented candle in their memory each evening at dinner. Transplant flowers, small shrubs, or little trees from your old home in your new home’s yard. Display favorite photos, or set a place at the table for them during the holidays.
Decluttering, downsizing, packing, and the entire moving process is overwhelming at best and incredibly stressful at worst. Take breaks when you must. Expect tears and laughter. Healthy self-care will enable you to mourn in ways that gradually will heal your heart and soul.
Photo Credit: Pexels.com