Moving on after the death of a loved one isn’t easy. Psychologists will tell you there are five stages of grief, but no one can say in which order you’ll experience them or even how much time you’ll spend in each stage. In other words, there is no manual for mourning; you have to move through the pain and move on from the loss in your own way and time.
For some people moving on is literal — looking for a fresh start after a painful death, they move to a new house, city or even state. Managing a move while mourning can be complex, but not impossible. Here are three tips that can help you with a major move after a major loss.
Moving into a new house after the loss of a partner, spouse or loved one can be a bittersweet process. While the blank slate can help people feel freed from painful memories, especially if the deceased was in home hospice care, the move can also feel like another loss. One way to manage this emotional tug-of-war is to decide which of your loved one’s belongings to take with you to your new home and what you can sell, donate or give away. If you aren’t ready to make this decision, don’t worry — you’re not alone. Many people opt to put certain belongings in storage to wait and sort when they’re ready. There’s no timeline to adhere to — it’s a personal choice. You’ll know when it’s time…and when it isn’t. If you’re considering this option, it’s helpful to budget accordingly. Note that in the last 180 days, the average cost for self-storage unit in New York, NY was roughly $94.
If you are selling your current home and looking to buy another, you might feel overwhelmed by emotion. By hoping for a change of scenery, you may feel guilty, like leaving your current home is a betrayal to your departed loved one. It’s OK — and fairly common— to feel this way. Home selling and buying is a full-time job, and will require your attention, focus and patience. When moving, consider how your new place will play a role in your grieving process. Think about the memories you want to take with you and know that it’s OK if there are some you want to leave behind. Examine your lifestyle now and choose a home that fits into this new picture.
Organizing a home move without the person who helped you make that home is going to be tough. Packing comes with emotional highs and lows. Try to keep it manageable by concentrating on one room at a time. Pack what you want from each room and purge what you no longer need. Categorize the boxes from each room with different colors, so you— or the movers— can easily know where to place boxes in your new home. Be sure to mark boxes with breakables as fragile.
When you’re packing, be mindful of how this will help or hinder unpacking. For example, when packing toiletries, no one wants to open a box where a lotion or shampoo bottle ruptured. And don’t forget the first in, last out rule. Load boxes with your most important items last to ensure they are unloaded first. That way you have unobstructed access to them in your new place right away.
If this all feels like too much to handle, that’s perfectly understandable. It may help to begin the packing process by hiring a professional home organizer to help you first get a handle on your belongings. Once things are more organized and sorted, then perhaps it will be easier for you to step in and take over the packing process.
Grief is not a cut and dried emotion. It’s not something you or anyone can predict. A change of scenery and a fresh start may be too intimidating for some, but it can also be a huge relief to others. The most important thing is to trust your instincts — do what’s best for you.
Need Legal Guidance for Your Recent Loss?
As difficult as it is to lose a loved one, having a plan in place can certainly help with the entire process. If you wish to speak with a NYC wills and estate lawyer for compassionate legal guidance at Pollack, Pollack, Isaac & DeCicco, LLP, please contact us online or call us at 212-203-4795 today.