My house is much too big for one person and the maintenance is difficult for me, but I am so undecided if I want to sell it and, if I did, where would I go? So many folks advise to wait a year. Well, I'm 5 months into this journey and feel that I need to start looking at the possibilities. Given that my Jim's death was sudden and unexpected, I had NEVER considered anything other than staying here till we were both gone.
I'm 63 which is relatively young, but old enough to not feel that I have the energy or interest to start a whole new life. Maybe things will change as this grief process unfolds, but it is hard for me to want to think about all the changes required to sell this house and then move elsewhere. On the other hand, I just cannot bear the thought of living out the rest of my life here in the old 6 bedroom house with the original 1968 furnace. My hubby was very good at doing a bit of maintenance here and there; he knew when and who to call in to fix things before they broke it seems. My cash flow is not as good as ours was before our nest egg became an "estate" that had to be divided.
I'm wondering what others are thinking. What are the pitfallls? Did anyone have some success with staying? Or with moving?
Thanks so much to all of you out there who share so much of yourselves here. Hugs!
It's been a year for me, and I'm still living in the marital home. The counselors said not to make life changing decisions while grieving as your mind is not right. I being a typical guy thought "bullcrap, I got this". I thought wrong. I did make what I feel was the right decision and listen to the counselors because they were spot on. I know I would have messed it up, and that's the last thing we need when we're still hurting. As I said, it's been a year since that awful day and I'm not sure that I want to leave now. Individual results may vary, my best to everyone here. We didn't choose it, it chose us and everyone's situation is distinctly and uniquely different.
Some folks move because of the memories. Some move for financial reasons. Some move to be closer to their adult children or other family members for support.
The counselors are right, one should not make any major changes or decisions in the first year. In that first year we are consumed with the tragedy, legal mubo jumble, and other stuff.
I chose to stay in our home after my wife of 35 years passed in her sleep one Sunday night. My children thought that I was going to sell the home and move down into Denver. But, we chose to move here to get out of the noise, smog, crime, and the increasing population. We bought the land in '92, built in '93 and used it as a vacation and weekend getaway. Neither of us dragged the other up here. We both loved the peace and quiet. So when she passed, I decided I would stay in the place I loved. My decision to stay hurt my youngest. Four weeks after she passed and was buried, he called to tell me that he could not come up here any more because he expected to see his mother coming down the hallway. It was too painful. A year later he visited and 5 years later he came up with his soon to be wife and enjoyed his time here. My oldest wants me to leave the home to him when I fall off my perch! I'm glad I stayed. I am where I wanted to be. I feel very comfortable in my home, and it's gonna take the county sheriff and a team of oxen to get me out of here.
I also decided to stay in my home after Bob passed almost 6 years ago. It is a large home in a young community, average age here is 43. I have been fortunate in hiring people for maintenance. I have good neighbors. After Bob passed I had 3 lists, one was keep the house, another buy a condo and the third was rent an apartment. I wrote pros and cons on the lists. After about a month I made the decision to stay in my home. I have advised friends to do the same when trying to decide about housing. We all are different and we have to decide what is right for ourselves. Money situations and health conditions are important considerations. I will be 80 next month and my health is good. Peace to all.
I was so glad to read your reply. My darling husband passed away a year ago April 29th. I have decided to stay in our home. Its a large home for one person but this is where I feel most comfortable. I too have great neighbors. Fortunately, my husband had already put things in place as far as the yard maintenance and inside maintenance. I have seven grandchildren who visit periodically and love to play in the backyard and climb on the deck. I am 71 and in good health. My husband and I had planned on staying in our home until we were at least 80 so for now I'm sticking with our original plan, As you said everyone is different. I am fortunate that I can stay put for now. Be blessed.
MY wife-Maxine- picked out this house and put her love into it so I will stay here and do my best to maintain it. It's not easy because she did so much that I cannot do anymore. But; I shall tough it out as best I can.
My feeling is that it’s not the house, a certain place or a song that’s the memory. It’s still your loved one and the other things spark the memory of them. Yeah there are a lot of memories there but would you rather move and lose those memories over time? Think it over. If a place is too big and expensive to maintain then moving is a good idea but don’t move because of the memories. Just as you retain the memories for your youth, it’s ok to hold close memories that will never be again. It’s part of who you are. Don’t lose that. As we get older some don’t get that chance aging takes their memories. Don’t give them up before you have to. Just my opinion.
Of course everyone is different, but my view is that our memories are inside of us, not in a house or in things. I hear my husband in some of the things that I saw, in the kinds of music he introduced me to, and in so many other ways. He is kept alive in the way he changed me and in my memories of the life we had together.
I may live in a new house that he did not live in, but my living room reflects both the life I live now, and the life I had with him. I have photos of our Jamaican vacations in photo collages, Grateful Dead concert posters, the Egyptian cloth paintings that reflect his interest in ancient Egypt, and many of his spiritual books.
No one can take my memories away from me because they are a part of me and always will be. The rest is just stuff.
There are those who find comfort in being around those familiar things. And that is perfectly OK. My father's wife lives in the house that they shared and she loves it, but she also is living contentedly on her own. It's not about whether we stay or go, but whether it keeps us stuck in a past we can never get back. Because when we live in the past, we live in endless grief and frustration that we cannot go back in time. And there IS no going back. So we try to find a balance between the then and the now.
I'm in a state of relief that I have the choice for now. I'm on the younger side, and we didn't own our home. After months of searching, I was just able to sign a new lease with a roommate, which lets me stay here. I was worried I would have ti burn through my savings or move... It's nice just having the occasional background of "someone else lives here" now and then. And this makes me feel I can take my time deciding on what to do with his things, which are mostly tucked up in the basement now.
So I think my situation is backwards. After I lost my wife I wanted to stay in my marital home, especially because my wife came back from hospice and then died in the home with familiar surroundings in Florida. I was advised by a grief counselor not to make major changes, but a few months later my son and daughter in law both took jobs in Ohio. So my choice was to stay in a Florida and essentially be alone, or move to Ohio to be with the kids and grandkids. So I moved. Yes, I have regrets. I miss what my wife and I planned for our retirement. I miss all the places we used to go and all the things we did. But the need to stay near family made the difference at the time. Now have been in Ohio for 1.5 years and have a strong desire to go back to Florida. But I am afraid of what I will find there - all the the restaurants, places and things we did together will seem empty without her. My heart wants to go back just to find her, with a faint flicker of hope that somehow she is miraculously still there. But my head tells me she will not be there. I am afraid that major depression will set in. On top of that, there will be the guilt of now leaving my kids and grandkids. I am so torn. My miss my life before, but it is not the same without my wife. Even though being in Ohio with family helps, I realize It is just a distraction so that my mind stays occupied. There is no perfect answer - pain will persist with either decision. Just moving away from everything and everyone, like finding an island I can live on by myself, will result in major depression.
So I stumble forward every day, hoping for some enlightenment that never comes. I think the only thing that gives me hope is knowing that when it is my turn, I will be with her again. In between, it is just filling the time. I guess I am being selfish - this whole thing is about me, me, me. I am grateful she no longer is in the grip of cancer, that she is free again. I need to think more about her and her happiness. I just never imagined the day would come so soon, and even that she would go before me. But this is the hand I have been dealt. Now it’s just day by day and hour by hour. Totally crushing ...
Please do not beat yourself up over your decision. I, too, sold my house before I should have. I was in such pain and felt that the pain of hearing the voices from our previous life was going to be too much to handle and that I would be better off somewhere else. This was a decision you made and I firmly believe that if you had stayed you would have regretted that too. The fact is we are in pain and doing the best we can. There is no perfect place where we can be that does not involve pain. Wherever we go ...our pain follows. Just know that there are people out there hurting...like you...trying to find their way...like you...hang onto your family and those around you
My grandparents bought this property back in 1951, gave to my parents in 1957 and gave it to me in 1978. Raw wooded land with a very small cabin. I started dating Janet in 1981 and we would come out here every weekend. Planned on what we were going to build and the layout. Got married, built the house she wanted, we built the sheep house and garden shed and did all the plantings. When she was at the hospital she wanted to come home, which she did and passed away in the home we built together.
A few weeks before I asked her what I should do with the property. She said "Never sell it, I love it here" Fortunately I am able to keep the place. I had a small graveyard on the property where I spread my parents ashes, my nephews ashes and Janets. Official looking with headstones, brick and antique metal fencing on the perimeter. I can see it (about 300 feet) from the kitchen. So I'm keeping the place, my next move will be about 300 feet from the kitchen.
That is so perfect. Thanks for sharing.