Losing a loved one is at the top of the most stressful events you’ll ever experience, according to the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory. Moving to a new home is another stressor, but some find it to be a constructive way to move toward healing. While there is no escaping from the grieving process, moving can offer a sense of renewal along the way.
Below are some of the benefits of moving, along with tips to manage the actual move itself.
An unknown author once said, “Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” Moving to a new home can offer a key to your own growth. While you will always honor the memory of your loved one, moving can be a way to honor yourself by saying “yes” to your future.
Deciding to Downsize
If you choose to downsize, there will not only be financial benefits, but by simplifying your life, you’ll also be able to focus more on your future. Also, moving closer to friends or family you grew up with can be very comforting. There is something to be said for not having to face painful places on a daily basis. What’s more, a change of scenery can bring with it a fresh new perspective and the hope of reinventing yourself.
Managing the Move
Relocating can be a very difficult process, even when you’re not faced with grief. With that in mind, it’s important to develop a game plan before you get started.
- Identify your goal. Is it to move closer to family? Is it to downsize for financial reasons? Grief counselors recommend that it’s best not to make any major decisions for at least six to 12 months after your loss.
- Get an idea of how much your home is worth by using a home cost calculator or consulting free websites that list your home’s value. While these websites offer great estimates, you’ll need to consult with realtors in your area for the best accuracy.
- Find a realtor you feel comfortable with who will market your home to get the most bang for your buck. You’ll also need to find a realtor in the area where you’re moving. Talk with several until you find one who clicks with you and understands your needs.
- One of the best gifts you can give yourself is to hire help. You can start by hiring a cleaning service to give your home a deep cleaning before you move out. In the St. Paul area, a maid service charges $121 to $219 on average. Next, hire a professional moving service. What would take you weeks will take them only a few days, and your beloved belongings are much less apt to break due to insufficient packaging. Check online reviews before signing a contract (it’ll usually cost your around $25 an hour for each mover). Moving.com offers tips on hiring a moving company.
- One of the most difficult challenges you’ll face is deciding what to do with your loved one’s belongings. Releasing some of these items is all part of the grieving process towards healing. If doing this on your own feels too overwhelming, enlist the help of your most supportive friend. This is a time to be extra gentle and patient with yourself. Unless there is a strict timeline for your move, go at your own pace.
Consider giving a few friends and family members some of your loved one’s treasures. Giving some items to your loved one’s favorite charity or one you feel he or she would like is another option. Some find the act of repurposing objects very comforting. For example, you could make a memorial quilt from your loved one’s clothes.
Whether your reasons for moving are for emotional, practical, or financial purposes, kudos to you for taking this important next step. Grief is a process; it is not a place where we are to stay forever. Just as God allowed the children of Israel a time of mourning but then eventually told them to get up and move on, He will guide you as well. In your journey through grief, remember that “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5 NIV) Right now, you may feel like you’ll never be happy again, but as a believer, you can have hope even in the midst of sorrow. While you will always carry your loved one in your heart, may you begin to create beautiful new memories in your new home.