New Life After Loss: Advice for Fresh Starts and Moving Forward

by guest blogger, Lucille Rosetti

Losing someone you love is one of the most difficult transitions in life.  Sometimes a change of scenery can help re-frame and refresh your outlook.  Here is important advice for moving forward after a major loss.

Redefining yourself

Losing someone you love changes everything.  You no longer see your life as a steady flow; there is a pivotal point, a “before” and an “after.”  Sometimes in the course of healing redefining your lifestyle can be a soothing balm.  Since everything is changed, it’s the perfect time to set your sights on new goals and a fresh start.  Psychology Today explains that a significant accomplishment can help bring back a sense of control to your life, when things feel out of control following your loss. 

With that in mind, it’s a perfect time for a change of scenery.  You might feel overwhelmed by things you didn’t need to manage before such as finances and mortgage payments.  If you’re moving as a part of rebuilding your life, give yourself some numbers to help get perspective. A sense of control and setting a path can help. Get an idea of what your home is worth using a home value estimator, so you don’t feel you’re trying to proceed blindly.  And when it comes time to find a mortgage, make sure to research your best options. If you have substantial savings, a conventional loan may be right for you. Conventional mortgages can be a good lower-cost option because if you put down 20 percent, you won’t have to pay for mortgage insurance.

Paring down

Selling your home is challenging under any circumstances.  You need to stage your home for buyers, which means de-cluttering, cleaning and showing your property to strangers.  When you experience a major loss, the thought of managing so much can leave you feeling numb.  It’s especially challenging if you need to sort through your memories.  If you are surrounded by tokens that remind you of your loved one – or even more difficult, your loved one’s things – you may feel it’s too much to bear.  After all, it’s not really the “stuff” which is hard, it’s what it all brings to mind.  How do you decide when, what and how to sift through all that?  Chances are you have friends or family members willing to help you with the task.

One recommendation is to think through what you feel OK with; you can accept as many offers of help as you wish, or as few.  No help is a completely acceptable answer if going it alone is what makes you comfortable.  Manage it in your own time, on your own schedule and in whatever way you prefer.  When it comes to specifics, Modern Loss suggests doing a whole-house sweep initially, purging the things you know you can part with and deciding what is particularly meaningful to you.  From there, you can weigh priorities.  Keep some smaller memorabilia and for large items you struggle with but aren’t practical to hang onto, consider taking photos so you can revisit them whenever you’d like.  Box “keepers” as you go so you’ll have a head start on moving.  Once you finish paring down and packing, it’s time to clean the entire house thoroughly. When it comes to this task, however, you’re better off hiring a professional service. This can give you a much-needed break and allows you to focus on other pertinent tasks.

Moving on

After you tackle de-cluttering and cleaning, you’ll be ready to list your home and start searching for a new one.  It’s also time to decide what you want in your next property. HouseLogic suggests doing a little soul searching.  What is important to you in this time of transition?  Are you looking for a particular location, nearer to hobbies or family members?  Do you want low-maintenance or a fixer-upper?  And what is your budget?  A mortgage calculator can give you a better idea of what you can afford.  When you find that perfect place, you need to decide if you are enlisting help from friends and family for the move, or if you’re ready to save some trouble and backaches by hiring movers. For budgetary reasons, note the average cost of an intrastate move runs around $1,170, whereas an interstate move is closer to $5,630.

Hiring professional movers can free you up to focus on other details such as organizing and relaying your new contact information, or you might decide being surrounded by people close to you helps you through the process.  Think through what will be best for you. 

New home, fresh start

When you lose someone you love, everything changes.  Sometimes new surroundings can be healing.  If it’s time for a change of scenery, take your time and move forward in your own way. 

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