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A New Home and a Fresh Start Amid Grief
It goes without saying that losing a spouse or partner turns your life upside-down. But one thing that doesn't change is your physical surroundings. The route you once walked to the corner store, the kitchen where they cooked your favorite meals, the herb garden you planted together — they're all still there. The same environment that once felt like home can feel disorienting without your partner.
If you and your partner lived in the same house for a long time, reminders of the loss can feel ever-present in your space. While some memories of your loved one can bring comfort, constant or intrusive thoughts can take a toll on your mental health.
It's okay to consider leaving the home you once shared. In fact, doing so can be an act of self-care. Of course, relocating doesn't eliminate feelings of grief completely, but it may be the fresh start you need to eventually arrive at a "new normal" in your life.
Choosing a New Neighborhood
You don't have to travel a long distance to experience a completely different neighborhood. You might want to live in the bustle of a city or in the tranquility of the countryside. You may find that you have more flexibility to move closer to work or family now. Rather than frequenting the same local haunts you used to visit with your loved one, you have the chance to find new places to make yourself a "regular." Remember, you can always venture back to your old neighborhood for a visit when the mood strikes.
Be gentle with yourself. Moving allows you to begin sorting through your loved one's belongings. Maybe you can discard some non-sentimental items as you're decluttering your own possessions for the move. It might be a good time to donate most of their clothing and shoes if you haven't done so already.
When it comes to sentimental items, pack them up, and don't force yourself to make any decisions right now. You can store the boxes at your new place and revisit the items inside whenever you're ready.
Getting Ready to Sell
Moving is always a stressful experience, even when you're not dealing with grief. Make sure to get extra support from friends, family, and professionals. Even if you're usually the do-it-yourself type, consider hiring pros to get your home market-ready. They can quickly address any glaring maintenance issues, such as damaged plumbing, a finicky heating system, cracked windows, or chipped paint. Hiring a house cleaning service to deep-clean your home for real estate photos can be more affordable than you might think. These investments pay off when you place your house on the market.
Buying a Home
When you're ready to buy a new home, there are a few key steps you'll need to take in order to ensure things go smoothly. First, it's important to get your finances in order. This means creating a budget and saving up for a down payment. You'll also need to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Once you've done all of this, you can start the search for your new home. When you find the right one, be sure to have a professional home inspector take a look before making an offer. Once everything is finalized, you can move in and start enjoying your new home!
Once you’ve purchased a home, it’s time to purchase home insurance and consider a home warranty. Are home warranties really worth it? If you’re in a new home with all-new appliances, you could pass on a home warranty. But if the home inspection revealed some issues, it may be wise to purchase a policy.
Losing a spouse or partner will require a lengthy healing process. Use the tips above to find a new home and get a fresh start. If you need help processing your feelings of grief, reach out to My Grief Connection to find hope and support.
Thank you to our guest blogger Catherine Workman!
Catherine loves seeing the world and believes travel contributes to our overall wellness. She believes we should
all leave our comfort zones once in a while and uses travel to boost her physical and mental health. Ms. Workman
is part of a great team at Wellness Voyager and enjoys sharing her thoughts on travel and wellness.
Sara J. Cobb
Founder, My Grief Connection
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Updated 11 September 2023
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