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It's been 9 months since my husband suddenly passed away.  I was 33 at the time and we have a 2 year old little girl.  We just moved to FL and bought our 'forever' home.  We had only been here for 1 year before he passed.  We were not prepared at all for his passing, I don't have any life insurance to fall back on, I had to go back to work full time because I was a stay at home mom.  My sister who was recently divorced moved in with me so that is super helpful with paying the mortgage but it's not a long term fix.  She will eventually move out and walk her own path.  I know everyone's situation is different, but what have you done with your home? Did you stay or go? There are some days when my brain and my heart align and I know the financially right thing to do is sell our home.  It's a very large house that we planned to have more children in and the utilities and maintenance is a lot for me to handle alone.  Now I feel like its a house (definitely not a home since it stopped being that when he passed) of broken dreams.  I love that I am reminded of him here but I also hate it because he passed away here and on my bad days certain things trigger my PTSD.  I'm anxious to make a decision that I can't take back and am so torn as for what the right move will be.

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Dear Rosbert,
So sorry for your recent loss of your husband. It is particularly sad when it involves someone so young with a young family. My heart goes out to you and your daughter.

We are forced to make many decisions when we become a widow. Sometimes we make good ones sometimes we wish we would have done things differently. When they involve minor things, usually not a big deal. Do you feel you need to make this decision right away? Maybe you can have a chat with your sister and get an idea what her plans are just to get an idea how soon you need to decide. Has she given you any input on the subject? You might want to consider something smaller with less upkeep since you're back to work full time. You could make a list of your options and pros and cons.

Everyone's situation is different. There are some people that have to leave their homes for financial reasons right away. Some might decide a house is too much to deal with. Some move to be closer to family--there are many reasons. My house is paid for so I have decided to stay put for now. I wouldn't mind moving into a smaller place as it would be less work but like I said--there are pros and cons that need to be considered. The only real piece of advice I can offer you is if you can, wait until you feel able to make a sound decision and that you feel emotionally strong enough to move if that's what you must do.
Hi Callie2,
Thank you for your response. It has been so hard and most of the time I don't know how I'm juggling so much. I did speak with my sister about that and I know for at least this year she will stay here with us. So that does give me peace of mind. My anxiety comes into play when I think about the day that I will have to pay the bills on my own and I know I can't afford it.

Luckily we love our house because we are very close to my family, I'm about a 10 minute drive from my parents and siblings. And the neighborhood and public schools here for my daughter are very good.

I think that you are right about allowing myself the time here until I feel as comfortable with selling our house. I just don't want to have to work 2 jobs just to pay bills on a house and not enjoy any time with my baby. I realized the hard way after losing my husband that that is not how I want to spend most of my time.

I used the same phrase with the house we had together - broken dreams. I felt somewhat stagnated when I lived in that house. In the fall of 2015, I decided to sell and buy something smaller. I was lucky to find a townhouse in the community where I work. I was lucky the house sold! It's just me, no children. I made this decision after 2 years and it was the right decision for me. The townhouse I live in now shares a wall with a couple in their 40s and 50s. They don't have children. He does all of the mowing, plowing, and any maintenance I need. I pay him - it's so worth it. I just call him and he fits me in. I've already talked to him about painting my interior this fall and he says that is great. (Now I just have to choose colors!)

For me at that time it was the right decision. I too called the house a house and not a home. It just didn't feel like that anymore. This place does feel like home.

I guess I would suggest you stick it out with your sister. When that doesn't work anymore, then make a decision.

I am proof that things will work out for you! Buying and selling at the same time is a roller coaster ride and at times I didn't think it would work out. But it did. And I am very happy in this home.


DH and I moved into the home where I now live 2 years ago.  I was 62 and he was 77 with chronic health issues, so I knew I'd likely end up alone in the house  He died last November.  I love the house and have no plans to move although at some point I'm likely to hire out mowing the lawn since it's a steep slope to the back yard and a heck of a cardio workout.

You need to factor costs of moving into your decision; in addition to realtor costs, we spent far more than I would have expected fixing things in the house we sold and making changes to the one we bought.  Unhappy surprises included a $3K repair bill for a clogged drain in the basement of the one we sold, replacing the entire HVAC system in the one we bought (we knew it was 20 years old but hoped it would last a few years) and higher-than-expected costs of enclosing a porch and replacing some windows.  Oh, and the bank wouldn't lend us all we wanted because I'd retired only a year before- I suspect all they considered was DH's SS and my $900/month pension even though our net worth went to up the year after my retirement.  If you just went back to work recently you may have the same issue.  They always say you should wait a year before doing anything drastic- this is a good time to do research.

I've stayed in my home.  I used the process of changing it from "our" home to "my" home as a catalyst for my grieving; arranging the rooms the way I wanted them and going trough Sharon's possessions deciding what to keep for myself and what to pass on.  Having said that the house was in need of complete renovation and redoing every room is not far off moving to a new house.  If your life is a life of broken dreams at the moment (and after nine months that is almost certain) then no house is going to feel like home. 

It sounds like your sister has given you some breathing space so you don't have to make that decision straight away.  If you can face it you could start house hunting just to see what's out there and how you feel about moving. You might find that there's nothing out there to tempt you out of your house, you might find somewhere that feels like the right place to start building new dreams for you and your daughter.  You don't have to decide to move before you start exploring the options, you just need to feel strong enough to look around.

Interesting observation on changing things- I've been doing a little of that, too, and so has my recently-widowed father.  A month or so after Mom died he told me he'd replaced the clothes hamper ("it had a hole in it") and bought new sheets.  Those were the kinds of things Mom always did.  I've thinned out the books some more and will be changing the downstairs room I used as an office into a guest BR since I can use the main-floor BR as an office now that DH is gone- that's where his computer is.  (It's still "his" computer to me.)  That will give my son and his family a little more room when they come to visit.  I'm also dropping Comcast in favor of Google Fiber Internet plus MagicJack plus Netflix since I no longer need sports programming!

DH died in a hospital bed that was placed beside the one we shared for so many years.  It will be difficult to leave that space when I move out but I hope that will be a long time from now.

Hi Rosbert,

I am new here and I am so very sorry for your loss. I lost my husband and soul mate of 24 years March 2 so I am in the early stages of the grieving process. But I too have already begun to think about the decisions I need to make along these lines. Our house was just that..."ours"... and I don't think I can stand to be here long term. Everyone is different and while some may feel comfort at the memories the shared home brings, it is too hard for me to enjoy the things we enjoyed together. One of our favorite things to do from spring through fall was to sit on our deck with a cocktail or cup of coffee and enjoy the view of the lake. We felt so blessed to have our life and one another. Now I can barely walk out onto the deck without coming unglued and while I expect the severity of that to subside with time, I just don't see it going away. Of course I am going to put that decision off at least sseveral months if not a year to see how the emotional dust settles on the issue. I am so glad you have an option to delay a bit longer thanks to your sister. I have heard too many stories of regret after hasty decisions were made. Even if you feel that selling is the financially sound thing to do, you may feel stronger and better equipped to deal with it after a little additional time has passed.

While I am fairly certain I will sell the house, I have no idea where I want to go next. I don't mean the type of home but the location. I'm not certain I want to stay where "we" were together. We were a beautifully blended family and I have children and grandchildren in 4 separate ares in 2 states who would all love to have me closer. I think about that as well as just picking up and moving to some location without all the painful memories. But...I recognize this is not the time to make that call. I am in too much pain and the loss is still too new and raw.

God bless you and I hope and pray you find the answers and solutions you need in time.
Sorry for your loss. I thought I definitely would not want to stay in our home. I thought it would be too painful, too difficult to maintain and too big for myself and two young children. I am fortunate that we had some savings so I do not have to make a decision for a few more months. Surprisingly, I am 5 months out since his passing, and the house is be
full of happy memories of him playing with our children. I feel him all around me and it gives me a strange sense of comfort and safety. There are parts of the house that send a wave of grief my way...his closet, his workbench, anything in this house that was built by him....very painful, but, I also feel it is helping me feel the pain of loss, the reality that he is gone and not coming back, the loss. I think it is forcing me to live thru the grief. I am learning to cope. I have already encountered nuisance maintenance....garage door would not close all the way ...started during illness, kept telling myself to call someone to fix, that an animal was going to get in....sure enough, last month I spotted one, disappear into hole in ceiling. So now I have had to deal with the expense of extermination and fixing garage door, which ended up needing to be replaced. Expensive, but I am telling myself not to worry. I had researched downsizing just before he became ill, went hunting for smaller house, researched rentals, and spoke with accountant. After calculating, I would be spending the same amount unless I were renting a studio or 1 bedroom, which is too small for myelf and my two children. So, we are staying until we can longer stay. I am going to try to manage for two years. There ages will be right for downsize and by then I know I will have encountered more expense/maintenance of the house, so it will be decision making time. I was shocked to ,earn that it actually would not be a savings to downsize to an apartment. So, I will do my best to enjoy the house with the children, until no more. I have been offloading stuff/clean out attic and basement so we are prepared to go should a change occur sooner than anticipated.
My wife and I talked about this very topic. She asked, would I stay in our home if sometsomething was to happen. I told her I would stay, it's where we were married. To many happy memories here. She smiled and was happy with my decision..
We both have put a lot of work into our home. Fixing, remodeling, getting it the way we both wanted it. There is more work that hasn't been done, but I'm planning on doing those things later on. I know this might sound silly to so.e, but I feel Asha is still her in the house with me. I speak to her in my mind and I get a responce.We have a very large yard for Mollie (her baby bloodhound). And plan on getting the majority of it fenced for her.
Let me know your thoughts.

It's not silly to feel that she's still there, anymore than it would have been silly to feel like she was around when she was alive but out of sight in a different room. 

I chose to use reorganising and renovating my house so that it didn't feel like it was Sharon's house any more, it was the right thing for me at that particular time, but it was a brutal, painful process and I came out of it a different person (which was the point of doing it really). I'm remarried with a son now and if I was widowed again I could see myself making the same choice as you, keeping the feeling that my wife is in the next room.

You sound like you made your choice with your eye's open, and as far as your wellbeing goes that's what really matters.

Hi Danin, 

I think it's wonderful that you are able to stay in your home.  If I could stay here I would but I know in my heart it would not be long term.  We never had the opportunity to speak about it since the thought never crossed my mind that I would suddenly lose my husband at 33 years old.  I feel like he will follow me where ever we go, I'm just going to tell him come on honey let's go.  I feel my husband in our home but I've traveled and I've felt him with me as well.  I truly believe that at the end of the day our partners are happy with whatever decisions we make that bring us happiness if that makes sense.

We never talked about it. But I felt very strongly after a couple of years that I could not stay in the house. It seemed to be full of his ghosts and unfinished dreams. All my enthusiasm about gardening and planning other outdoor things vanished.

I started to look in fall of 2015 for a place. I was very very very lucky to find the townhouse I did. It is in the town I work in, 1 minute drive from where I work. The couple on the other side of the wall are fantastic. He takes care of all the grounds and he has done numerous tasks for me (like replacing the toilets).

I have been enjoying putting together this home of mine. I just recently inherited some of my parents' furniture so have had to figure that out.

I do feel he is with me and he often very often said - Do what you gotta do. So I know he would have blessed this move.

Everyone's path is different - this was the right choice for me and I feel very blessed.


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