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How To Move When You're Grieving A Loss

Vicki L. Thiessen

Vicki found her start in real estate in 2005...

Vicki found her start in real estate in 2005...

Sep 30 5 minutes read

Guest Blog written by Lucille Rosetti

Buying and Selling

If possible, aim to sell your house before buying a new one. You’ll know exactly what you can afford to spend, and if you’re downsizing, you can put the extra money toward end-of-life expenses—which, at nearly $9,000 for a funeral, according to the National Funeral Directors Association, can add up quickly. It also makes it easier to qualify for a home loan, which may be important if the death meant a loss of income.

Consider staying with family while you house hunt to avoid the expense of temporary housing while gaining the benefit of an on-site support system. Grief makes everything harder, and having someone else who can cook dinner when you can’t muster the energy is invaluable.

Managing the Move

Moving is never easy. Add grief into the mix, and it can feel like an insurmountable feat. It’s important to be patient with yourself and give yourself extra time to get things done.

Since you’ll have to sort through your loved one’s belongings anyway, save money on your move by doing your own packing and only hire help to load and unload the moving truck. Spread out the packing over several weeks so you can make decisions about what to keep and discard without emotionally overwhelming yourself. Get your kids involved by asking them to pack up their own bedrooms and toys; pre-labeling boxes makes the task straightforward for younger children.

Helping Kids Adjust

As difficult as grief is for adults, it’s equally confusing and scary for children. If your move falls in the middle of the school year, you’ll need to take extra care to ease your kids through the transition. Break the news of your move early in the process so they have time to come to terms with the change, and focus on the positives of a new home. Maybe their new school offers more extracurriculars, your house is next door to a great park, or you’ll be living closer to their favorite cousins.

 Before they start school, inform your children’s teachers about the recent loss. According to Scholastic, it’s normal for grieving children to experience regression or behavior problems. If their teachers understand the cause, they’ll be more sensitive to your children’s needs. Teachers can also be an ally in helping your kids transition socially. Find out who your children are mingling with at school and contact their parents to set up playdates. Being the new kid is intimidating, and your children may need some extra help fitting in.

Taking Care of Yourself

In the midst of everything, make sure you find time to care for yourself. Ask family and friends to share the burden so you don’t have to manage everything alone. Maybe a sibling can deep-clean the house for you, a friend with an eye for design can direct the home staging, or your parents can babysit during showings and open houses. Asking for help isn’t easy, but most people are eager to assist if you just tell them how.

There’s nothing like the pain of losing someone you love. For many families, a new home represents an opportunity to move forward from that pain, to carve out a life where memories are things to be unpacked and cherished, not painful reminders encountered at every turn. While finding your way back to normal won’t be easy, the relief you’ll feel at the end of it all will be worth it.


Lucille created as a means of sharing tools to help people through the grief process. Having lost some of the people closest to her, she understands what it’s like, and how it can be an emotional roller coaster that doesn’t always seem to make sense.

Image via Unsplash

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