Grief Dialogues

Moving to a New City After Loss

Editor’s note:

Losing a spouse or partner with whom you’ve shared a home is traumatic enough without dealing with the necessity to move. In addition to the grief you feel over the loss of your loved one, you must also face the loss of your home.

Some people find comfort in the familiar. Others look forward to starting fresh. Whichever situation you find yourself in, we know that packing, moving, and processing such a massive transition is profoundly difficult. The steps below are meant to help ease that transition and are not considered easy — not at all.

Knowing the enormity of the task before you, we encourage you to reach out for support from professional and personal services. The below article provides some ideas where to start.

Knowing the enormity of the task before you, we encourage you to reach out for support from professional and personal services. The below article provides some ideas where to start.

We all experience difficult times in our lives. Whether the loss involves the death of a loved one, the end of a job or career, a decline in health, a divorce, or something else, the big changes can be devastating. Sometimes in such a situation, you have to move to a different home, and sometimes, though not mandatory, moving to a new city can be a good way to make a fresh start.

Finding your new place

Not only will you be selecting a new home, but you may also need to choose a new community. The area where you’ll live may be dictated by your job. While you may want to keep your commute to work under 30 minutes, sometimes there are multiple neighborhoods that meet that requirement. Checking the average cost of homes, and the cost per square foot can help you target communities that are within your price range. You can check crime statistics, the basic cost of living, climate, proximity to health care, population demographics, and other information online. Once you’ve selected your target area, you can begin to search for a home to purchase or rent there. Many real estate companies have websites that permit you to search their listings by price, location, and/or the number of bedrooms and baths.

Moving your business

If you own your own business, you’ll need to think about moving that, too. If you stay within the same state, there will probably be fewer changes to manage.  However, if you move to a new state, the laws and regulations there may be different. If your business is a limited liability corporation (LLC), it’s easy enough to find out what the rules are in your new state. This may seem overwhelming, but with the proper guidance, it’s doable–for example, if you were to move your LLC to Washington state, these are the steps you’d follow. Since different forms and procedures may be required to register your business in a new state, you need to think about whether you will manage these changes yourself, hire an attorney to do it, or use a formation service to get everything squared away. Take the time to check on licenses, permits, and tax laws for the new area so you’ll be in compliance.

Getting established in the new community

Moving is always a challenge, and moving after a major loss or upheaval may involve a great deal of stress. Know that it will take some time before you feel at home in the new area. Patience is important. If you’re grieving the death of a loved one, be aware that the process of moving will probably need to be done in steps, as you feel ready for each.  It may not be practical to keep everything your loved one owned, so belongings will need to be sorted, donated, stored, or repurposed. Once you get unpacked in the new place, it’s time to follow up on any connections you may have. Everyone isn’t going to become a close friend, but it’s important to meet neighbors and others in your new area. Go get a library card, and visit the local coffee shop. Ask people you meet for suggestions on grocery stores, pharmacies, and anything else you’d like to know about the new community. Joining a sports league or hobby club are good ways to make new friends. Be sure to download the apps particular to your new area, such as neighborhood listservs and others customized to help you learn your way around. Say yes to as many new experiences and people as possible.

Moving to a new city and/or state after experiencing a major loss can be challenging. Use the internet and apps on your phone to do your research and be as informed as possible as you make choices about where to go. Once in your new location, say yes to as much as possible, and make an effort to learn your new neighborhood. You may want to join a local grief support group, volunteer, or reunite with old friends in the area. Offer yourself all the patience you would extend to a good friend, and with time your new place and town will feel like home.

If you’re seeking support related to death, dying, or grief, have a look at Grief Dialogues, where  visual art, the written word, theatrical productions, and music are used to provide resources and information, as well as support for those dealing with loss.

Stephanie Haywood is happy to be living her best life. Personal development and self-care gave her a boost when she needed it most, and now she works to share the gift of self-knowledge, self-care, and self-actualization with everyone who visits

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