Supported Grieving: Why Moving After Loss May Not Be Such a Bad Idea After All

By Lucille Rosetti


Loss is part of the human experience. However, while Scripture teaches that those who believe in the Lord “will live, even though they die” (John 11:25-26), it also recognizes the value of grieving: “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart” (Ecclesiastes 7:2).


Unfortunately, while mourning has long been a shared experience, the bereaved today are more likely to feel like they’re facing their burden alone. This leads to isolation and complicates grief, making it harder for the bereaved to accept their loss and engage positively with the world.

While it’s commonly recommended to avoid major decisions in the wake of loss, that may be the wrong advice for people facing isolation and a lack of social support in bereavement. Rather than staying put to face grief alone, the bereaved may benefit from moving closer to their support system. Unlike packing up house and moving somewhere completely new, which serves as a form of escapism, closing the distance between the bereaved and their support system allows people to confront their grief with backup. Whether that’s having someone to help with day-to-day matters or just someone to listen and be there, accessing support is key to finding comfort in grief. Of course, moving is a lot to take on in the wake of loss. These suggestions will help the bereaved make their move as stress-free as possible.


Ask loved ones for help

If there’s ever a time to lean on family, it’s after a loss. Whether that’s asking for moving help or asking for a spare room, the last thing a bereaved person should worry about is feeling like a burden. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep,” the Bible instructs in Romans 12:15. However, while family is usually willing to help, they don’t always know how. When turning to loved ones for support, it’s best to make specific requests. Many mourners are hesitant to make requests, but telling others how best to help is a kindness in itself.


Don’t Do It All Yourself

This isn’t the time to spend weeks meticulously wrapping, packing, and labeling every item in the home. Not only is it time-consuming, but it’s also another source of stress — and that’s the last thing a bereaved person needs. Instead, hire movers. While moving help has a reputation for being expensive, online tools let homeowners hire only the help they need so they don’t spend any more than they have to.


If You Don’t Need It, Put It in Storage

Every home has items that are unneeded, yet too difficult to part with. That’s never truer than after a loss when the bereaved are left to contend with their loved one’s old things. While the time will come to decide what to do with the deceased’s belongings, that time isn’t now. Rather than confront this emotionally challenging task, put items in a climate-controlled storage facility to keep them safe for the future.


Get Into a New Home with Less

Buying a home is stressful in the best of times. While mourning, it can feel utterly overwhelming. Renting is a smart alternative to buying, especially if the move may not be a permanent one. Renting avoids a rushed sale and complicated financial moves. For movers set on selling, low down payment mortgages offer a way to get into a new home without a lot of cash. Veterans can use PennyMac VA loans to purchase with zero down payment and no private mortgage insurance. VA home loans also offer more competitive rates than conventional mortgages. Buyers without veteran status may consider an FHA loan, which requires only 3.5 percent down.


Give Yourself Time to Sell

Buying a new home usually means selling the old one. However, in the wake of grief, it’s wise to avoid decisions that may be regretted later. There are a few ways to hold onto your home without carrying a second house payment, including letting family move in, turning it into a rental property, or converting the home to a short-term rental if it’s located in a popular travel destination. Homeowners can hire a property management agency to handle the labor involved in operating a rental. If the desire to sell remains after a year, it’s safe to forge ahead.


Moving while mourning isn’t the right choice for everyone. Those who are inclined to move just for a change of scenery or to escape memories associated with their grief may fare better staying put and leaning on their support system. However, for those who find themselves in mourning and alone, moving toward support could be the key to starting the healing process.

Image via Unsplash


Lucille Rosetti writes and curates information to assist those experiencing grief and loss at www.thebereaved.org She is the author of "Life After Death: A Wellness Guide for the Bereaved."

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