When you lose someone close to you, such as a spouse, partner or other immediate family member, it can be devastating. It’s even harder to pick up the pieces and move on with your life. In fact, it may even seem callous or dishonorable to your lost loved one. But moving after a loved one dies is a huge step, one that should not be rushed even though sometimes it has to be done. You just have to do it at your own pace.
When we lose someone close to us, we go through five stages of grief, coined by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Everyone goes through these stages in different ways, different speeds and even different order. There is no right or wrong way to grieve.
Moving After a Loved One Dies
Some people, soon after a loss, want to get rid of all their loved one’s items, such as clothing, books, shoes, jewelry, etc. Others hold on to little things for a lot longer, even years.
For some, a move to a new home is a good idea to help him or her make a new start. This can be difficult, but it can also be healing. While you’d like to stay in the place where you made your home together, sometimes the memories are too strong, and possibly, too difficult to move on if you stay.
If you need to be moving after a loved one dies, take your time going through his or her items. Choose the most important trinkets, such as photos and a few precious mementos to hold on to. Try to let go of everyday stuff, such as clothes and shoes, so that those things can be donated to help someone else. With a new family, those items will find life by clothing someone less-fortunate.
If possible, try to pare down to only about 5 to 10 percent of his or her items. That way, the clutter doesn’t build up in your new place. You can prominently display photos and some smaller tokens of your love, while modeling a more open decor in your new place. While going through your things, ask yourself if the items bring your joy or would get some use in your new home. If not, you might decide to toss it out or give them to someone who might want them.
When it’s time to be actually moving after a loved one dies, consider hiring movers to do the extra work. While you may feel strong enough to do the work, when you’re still grieving, lugging around boxes and furniture is more hassle than it’s worth. Moving can be strenuous, and you don’t want to make it even harder. You can hire movers to pack for you, though it’s best if you get your stuff clean and organized first.
Seek healing friendships, too. Moving after a loved one dies often means moving to a new city; consider joining a support group for those who are recently bereaved. It can help to talk to other people who are suffering like you, and you can possibly make some new friends.
Most importantly, don’t make any rash decisions. Making a big move very soon after a major life event isn’t always a good idea, though sometimes it can’t be helped. Whatever you do, don’t do it because you are running away from the grief because it will find you. The “Moving after a loved one dies” decision really does need to be made because you want to move on and forge ahead with a new life while honoring your lost family member. Your new life, though saddened by a loss, awaits. With time and distance, you’ll slowly heal and move on.
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