Here's a spot where those who are moving out of their home post-loss or those who are thinking about moving ... or those who have actually accomplished the move ... can share their experiences and ask/respond to questions.
Hello everyone. I haven't been here in awhile because I've been moving. I've been widowed for about 10 months now and have made some changes for the better. Four months ago I was very deeply depressed, alone in a bigger house out in the country and at one time it was my dream home. Without Jim, it was just a very solitary, lonely place and without him, frankly, all I wanted to do was stay inside and sit on the couch and cry. I got help through GriefShare, here at WV, and with a therapist and I began to see a little light. I was driving about 30 miles whenever I had a doctor appointment, visited my kids and grandkids, and went to meetings at GriefShare. After about six weeks, I realized that I had a choice, did I want to live, or did I want to spiral downward? After a lot of thought and prayer, I chose life. At that point, decision making got a lot easier. I knew that I'm naturally a quiet person who loves to be home, but I also need people. I was tired, literally, of driving everywhere and I needed to be closer to activities that I might some day enjoy. I also realized that just having neighbors with kids, teens and other retirees would be uplifting, even if I only met them and waved across the street occasionally. It all had to do with seeing life happening around me. I also needed family support nearby, but not to lean on. SO, I decided to sell and move to a great little community near my son. I tried to be smart about it. I found a smaller home in a really good neighborhood with high ranking schools. It's close to everything I do. No more driving to another town for anything. I'm a five minute drive from the kids, so we don't run into each other all the time, but close enough to be available. As soon as I made this decision to move and felt that my reasons were sound, I felt like someone had lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. I was excited, not anxious, and felt that it was positively the right thing for me. No doubts. I listed my house at top price and the agent had a buyer that night. Sure, I had a few things to repair, but that process went smoothly. I found another agent right away in the new neighborhood, and we found the house for me on our second day of looking. She wrote up an offer and the next day, they had an open house. That day the owner received six offers, including mine. Two days later my agent called to tell me that the seller chose me. This house was perfect for me. I moved in about a month ago and my expectations were right on the money. My spirits are lifted everyday when I see people walking their dogs, children riding bikes, neighbors waving (and inviting me to a pumpkin carving party!), seniors jogging and now I'm beginning to walk my dog and stop to introduce myself to others. This small thing is HUGE for me. I did not worry about what to do with Jim's things. I gave away a few things before the move and brought the rest with me. I hung up his cowboy hat and put out photos and his signed Red Sox baseball. I realized that I didn't need to worry about doing it all before I moved. Jim will always be with me, but I still have a lot of grieving to get through and issues to deal with surrounding his death, living alone, and everything else. But now, I believe I will have the energy to do it. My world is just beginning to make a little sense. I hope that sharing this today will encourage some of you considering a move. I know that we are not all ready to do this at the same time, and that moving is not best for some people. But for me, it's been a blessing.
When my husband and I moved into our house, nothing had been updated since the 1970s. I stupidly created a three-year-plan and a five-year-plan, and I believed that in five years we could do all the updates the house needed.
Well, over the years we had new siding put on, replaced the windows and roof, painted, and did a few other things. We put on a deck finally the winter before he got sick. Then he died and I had life insurance money, so I decided to finally get the kitchen redone and the upstairs bath that had tile falling off the walls and an olive green tub remodeled, and new floors put upstairs. I re-did his man cave which had so much bad energy in it that I could not stand to go in it. I was going to make this house MINE and stay in it till retirement.
Then my job got even more crazy and life-consuming than it had been for the last seven years, and a new kitchen was not enough to compensate. My husband never wanted a house. He saw having a mortgage as a burden even though I was the primary breadwinner. Having a house stood in the way of his goal to be the world's oldest living adolescent (his phrase, not mine). So it's not like I've had so many happy memories of our lives here. He was happier when we were renting a one-bedroom apartment (though I think some of that was that he was starting to have mini-strokes around then, which we didn't know about.
I'd been wanting to retire to the Research Triangle area for years. In 2005 I dodged a layoff at my then-job, and I'd told my husband that if I did get laid off, it would be a good time to move because he was unemployed. So last summer I started house-hunting in the Triangle in earnest. My sister is a realtor there, and a couple of months ago a great house in move-in condition came on the market, and it just happened to be her listing. I close on the house on 10/28 and I'm hoping to be moved in by Christmas, then put my house here on the market.
I am excited to do this. I was not ready two years ago, or even a year ago. But I am ready now. I will work the same job remotely for a while and then decide what I want to do. I need change. I feel stuck. I don't need another man. I need a place that isn't NJ.
I was widowed in 2008 and chose to stay in our home. It is a big house but it was home. Everyone keeps saying, "Are you still in that big house?" I always said I would move when I retired. I wasn't capable of packing a lunch let alone a house. Well, that time is arriving. I am attempting to go through things and am surprised at the anxiety. I pulled things off a book case to go through it and what a shock. I thought I was ready... I know that if the house is sold I will have many options. that is some ways staying here has been an excuse. I had a friend come over to help but that was a bad idea. I know she meant well, but she had no idea that I needed to take my time. She just wanted to run and gun and get it out the door. I had emotions to deal with. We won't do that again although she keeps offering to come back. Anyone else have this problem? What worked?
Everyone has his/her own timetable for "readiness". I came home from the hospital after my husband passed and cleaned out his underwear drawer, had my brother-in-law go through what I always called "the scary drawer" (the drawer with stuff he didn't want me to see) and started sorting out "memory shirts" to keep, stuff to donate, etc. My husband was such a packrat that I think I feared if I didn't start immediately, I would end up never doing it. I have three storage bins of clothes, shoes, tech certifications, etc...and some other assorted stuff -- books, memorabilia, etc...and six shirts and one blazer in the closet that I simply cannot part with. Why I don't know, but I don't have to know.
In those early days, my father and his wife came up and she is a neat freak. And I had to tell her to stop, that I had to go through things slowly and let them speak to me. Here is what I will tell you: This is a solitary job. It is something you have to do alone, because no matter how good your friends are, to them it's just STUFF. They can't possibly understand what the STUFF means.
That said, I think that purging STUFF is not a bad thing. I think about my husband every day. I talk to him every day. I have told him where I am moving and that I expect him to follow me there and not haunt this house when I move. For me it is two years and I am ready. My new house is in move-in condition, so no need for five-year plans that never happen. I am so looking forward to this move. I hope that when you are 100% ready that you find the right home and that you are as excited about this new start as I am. It does not mean we no longer care. But we are still here, our continued life IS a gift, and it's up to us to make the most of it.
I agree, going through the "stuff" is a solitary job for me. I need to decide keep or let go. Most of it I am letting go, there is too much! I only need a few things, and I don't need any reminders. Tom will be in my heart forever. WE had such great memories. I am so thankful!
Just Me-loved reading your post about moving and finding a new home and not being so concerned about clearing his things! I am at a year and 10 months and I feel now that I have/need to sell my home we lived in for 28 years and move. I have no problem clearing or donating my things but am not able to relinquish much of my husband's things. We were married 34 years, soul mates, no children and did everything together. I will not pressure myself about this now....when I feel it's time, then it will be!