Should I move from my home?

i am considering selling my home and moving to a different town. We raised our children here and it holds many good memories. But my husband died at home and now my home has so many memories of his last months, his suffering, his final weeks ,days and hours. I can barely walk into the room where he passed. I feel like I need a fresh start. I have no family here, my closest friends have moved away. I am retired. So there is very little holding me here. It has been 17 months since my dear ones death and it seems so many things are worse not better. I am so torn and really don’t know what to do. I’m wondering if any of you have sold your homes and moved. Is it a decision you are happy with? Do you regret it? I am going round and round. I know I am probably focusing on this because I am so consumed with grief and this is something tangible I can deal with. Am I wrong to think that if I move away from these memories it will help in my grief journey? I know this is something that only I can ultimately decide, but I am having such a hard time making a decision, I am hoping hearing about others experiences might help.

Dear @jane2
I am so sorry you have lost your dear husband. As you say, your home holds many good memories, it would be sad if you moved and lost that connection, even though you carry those memories close to your heart.
I lost my husband to covid in January this year & am left here alone with a large house, huge garden & garages. Even when it was both of us, we used to say we rattled about in this big house but we both worked really hard to get it & loved it so much, with no thoughts of ever moving.
When I mentioned moving, the advice I got was don’t do anything in the first year of your loss as your brain may be mush. Mines certainly is, so was good advice for me.
I know you are now 17 months since your loss, but if it sounds as if you have doubts if this is right thing to do.

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Dear Maigret,
Thank you for your reply. I’m of two minds, so making this decision is very hard. I too have heard to wait at least a year, but I am no less foggy brained 17 months on. I guess this means that it is not the time to make any decisions and when it is time, the answer will be clear. Or clearer in any case. I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved husband. Sending you good thoughts and best wishes.

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Jane2. That’s a very, very hard thing to decide. For me I couldn’t leave this house as like most have so many memories here. It’s been 4 years but still wouldn’t move. It would have to be something major to get me to move. Some of June’s friends suggested it just after she died but that was never happening. Now I’m as happy as I’m going to be in our house. I also have a couple of great neighbours that I know I can “lean” on if needed. It is like so many other things you just need to take time and really think it through. Anyway at 63 I’m too old to be moving and all the hassle, but that again is just me. It must be difficult to decide. Maybe once you are ready you could sit down (even with somebody who would be objective) and wayup the pro’s and con’s and see if that makes it clearer, though I’d give a few days after that just to make sure it’s been the right decision .

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Thank you for your reply Ken1. I appreciate the support. You are right it is a very, very hard thing to decide. And right now there is no clear cut answer. The one person who would help make a big choice like this, who was my rock and love and best friend, the one I could lean on most, is no longer here.
I am so sorry for your loss and for being in this place that none of us would like to be. Please take good care. Sending you good thoughts and best wishes.

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Jane2. Thanks. It is horrendous making big decisions especialy if you are so used to talking it through with your loved one. This is probably why I won’t move, as well as all the shared memories in the house, I’d really regret it if I did move and then thought “no that was the wrong thing to do”. There again we are all different and for some living in the house by youself makes them want to move as it’s too painfull. Although I miss June so much I kind of feel part of her is still here, know that would be lost if I moved somewhere else but that is just me. Everybody needs to weigh it up for what they think. Think people are right to say leave it a year as the pain is far to raw too make sensible judgements. I must say coming on this forum has helped. Wasn’t one for seeing a councilor also had our dog and stepson (even though he’s in his 40’s) to look after. I do feel a bit “calmer” ( not really the right word) coming on here as we are all in the same boat and can understand the pain, although friends are supportive they don’t really understand what has happened in our life. Though I do have a friend who also lost his wife so it was easier to talk to him as he knew exactly where I was coming from. Take care and rember we’re all here to supprt each other.

Dear @jane2
Since you posted your dilemma I’ve come to realise that, for me, every part of every room in our home & garden & garage just holds so many reminders and memories of my husband. I can never leave here, it would be like losing him all over again.
He loved our home, we loved our home. I’m very fortunate I can continue to live here, & so thankful too especially since reading some of the issues faced by bereaved on this forum.

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That’s so true. Never thought about it that way of feeling like you’d lost the person twice.

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Hi!
Unlike you, I have no special memories in this house. We rented it a few years ago as a stopgap while we waited for the apartment we wanted to be available. Unfortunately, that fell through, so as nothing suitable was available, and this house came on the market, we decided to buy it and see what happened. Then my husband confessed he didn’t really want to go to an apartment and lose the garden, so we stayed here.
Now that it won’t affect Tony, bless him, I have decided to follow my dream and hopefully will be moving to an apartment like the one we lost in the next few weeks. I am glad I didn’t persuade Tony to move before - I could have done, but didn’t want to do that to him.
He will always be with me, in my heart, wherever I am, so the location is of no importance.
I think it is important that we continue to have some sort of a good life after losing our husband/wife. They would want that for us and although I shall never be truly happy again, it would be lovely to look out over the harbour and think of him. That would be the nearest thing to happiness I can expect.

Dear AnnR,
Thank you for your reply. Your post really resonated with me. Although I understand those who have a strong attachment to their house, I feel as you do that my dear husband “will always be with me, in my heart, wherever I am.” For me, right now, the good memories in my present house are being outweighed by the very sad memories of my husband’s illness and death. We too also talked of moving from here because it was never our dream home. And now without him in it, it seems like just a house and not a home. Your new place by the sea sounds lovely and I wish you peace and contentment there.
Best wishes, Jane2

Dear Jane,

It is seven years since my husband of 47 years died. We also raised our children in our home and there are so many memories. Common sense tells me the house is much too large for me, detached with large gardens but my heart tells me to stay. As Ken stated, I am as happy as I can be without my husband in the home we shared together for so many wonderful years. The pictures my husband hung are still hanging on the wall. If there was somewhere closer to where I now live that overlooked a lake or the sea I think I may be tempted but to move to another built up area near the city seems such a silly thing to do, especially when I am nearing 80 years of age and the thought of packing everything away gives me the collywobbles.

I have even thought about renting an apartment, overlooking the sea, for a few months of the summer each year in different parts of the country and then spend winters at home. So many scenarios have crossed my mind but the thought of selling my home breaks my heart. As I get older things may be taken out of my hands as no-one knows what tomorrow may bring.

I think I am too old now to be thinking of starting a new life elsewhere and moving away from our family but the silly thing is, I am still 21 in my head and still yearn for my husbands arms around me, yearn for his hugs and kisses, what to do, what to do.

Take care, I am sure you will do what is the right thing for you, let your heart lead you.

Love
Sheila.

Dear Sheila,

“Let your heart lead you”—that’s such good advice. Thank you. I hope I will recognize the right thing to do when the time comes. It is no surprise that I am struggling with such a big decision. There are days even deciding what to have for dinner is really hard. I am not rushing to do anything major at this moment. I don’t really have the energy yet. I am still recovering my strength from the trauma of my husband’s illness and death. And I forgot the cardinal rule of this grief journey—take one day at a time. When I try to think too far into the future I set myself up for major panic and overwhelm.
Right now I am going to stop thinking too much about it and just go back to taking one day at a time. I’m hoping that the solution will become clear to me eventually.
I think your idea of renting an apartment by the sea for part of the year is a great one. Especially picking different locations each year. Do you think you would do it?

Yes, I too miss my husband’s arms around me and his wisdom and support. And his funny jokes and his laugh and the way he could make things better just because. That is really the core of it and nothing can fix that.

I am so grateful for this forum and for all the wonderful people on it.

Wishing you the best,
Love, Jane2

Dear Jane,

After seven years without my husband I still take one day at a time, the only thing I have to plan for is when I need jobs doing around the house and have to find a contractor (which at the moment is absolutely a waste of time.)

I’ve found it hard to find reliable people for jobs around the house. Sometimes they don’t even answer their phones or keep their appointments! I hope you are having better luck at this.
I so understand feeling 21 inside. I feel it too. I can’t believe where all the years have gone and how seemingly fast. Wasn’t it just a few years ago that we were young with all the promise ahead of us. I never even considered my husband would be the first to go. I was sure it would be me. My parents died relatively young and his family was filled with people in their nineties.

Dear Jane,

I know what you mean but it was the opposite for us, Peters parents died before he was 18 years old, my dad died when I was 25, and then my younger sister died of cancer and then my mum, I am the only one left standing from our family of the past. I seem to spend so much time in the past that it seems more real to me than the present. I remember getting off the bus in the 1960’s and my 18 year old boyfriend (who became my husband of 47 years) was waiting for me, looking like someone out of the Liverpool bands, dark suit, white shirt, dark tie and Chelsea boots, my stomach used to flip with the sight of him and he would take me in his arms and kiss me. I absolutely ache for those days again. I still cannot get it through my head why, when we were so young, pretty and handsome we ended up like this, I expected us to be together forever, I never once thought about one of us dying until Peter started being ill when he was 60 years old, I must have been living in cloud cuckoo land thinking it happened to everyone else but it would never happen to us.

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Oh Sheila, your post conjures up such a wonderful picture of love. Beautiful memories. I was just a little girl in the sixties but I have older brothers and I can remember how smart young men dressed back then. My own husband nearly always wore a tie. He could still make me swoon…:wink:

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Dear Kate,

Yes, they were precious times in the 1960’s for me, your brothers would remember that even going to Blackpool, they would always be dressed up, we girls, (well, even now, the young women of today get glammed up to the nines (albeit they show a little too much of their bodies) but the men don’t seem to take as much care in their appearance.

I remember going dancing at the Mecca ballrooms, all the men in suits, shirts and ties and the girls in their cocktail dresses, I had lurex, velvet, chiffon dresses you name it I had it, with 4 ins heels, so many fantastic memories.

I was once asked by a young woman why when I was 18 year old did I like the boy bands from the 60’s, I told her in the 60’s, they were NOT boy bands, the Beatles, Searchers, Mersey Beats etc. were all young men in their early 20’s, much older than we were so we were attracted to them.

I remember the very first moment I set eyes on my Peter at the Mecca in 1964, he was 6 ft 4 ins tall, head and shoulders above everyone else and dressed like a member of the Searchers band and I said to my sister that I liked the look of him, I was like a heat seeking missile, I dragged my sister over to where he was talking with his friends and we danced in front of him, it took a few jives with my sister as we kept being interrupted by other boys asking us to dance and I had just about given up of Peter asking me to dance and was ready to walk off the dance floor so I bent down, picked up my handbag and when I stood up, Peter was standing in front of me asking me to dance. That was it, love at first sight. Gosh, I would give anything to do it all again.

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I am like you, lost my husband over a year ago, in our home. Now, i do not have a clue if having such a negative tragedy, loosing Simon at home, made it harder, i would be interested to know how many find their home a comfort, but did not loose their loved one at home. It may have some baring.
I find the trigger, of the house, not a comfort, almost like torture. I fight the urge all the time of moving, but try and take heed of what every one says, and that is give yourself time.
My fear i suppose is finding i feel the same in a strange new home. And i would have jumped the guns.
Let me know what you decide, i am still dithering.
Also the loneliness is very destroying, but thats because of the obvious. And that won’t change if i move. I have good family and friends, its a different kind of loneliness, its for my husband.
Good luck.

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I lost my wife 4 years ago. She passed away in hospital though she had been back here a few times after her diagnosis was made. It was only our 2nd house together and there are a lot of good memories in the house, so for me personally I couldn’t sell the house but can understand why people whose partner died at home would maybe want to sell. As I’ve seen from a few people, wait at least a year so it’s not a rash decision you might regret.
Ken

Dear Jane2
Thank you for your good wishes. Moving without him will be hard, but not as hard as staying here. I feel that it will be good for me in so many ways. I shall be able to walk to the shops instead of having to drive, for one thing, and it is on all my family’s way home from work and they can pop in more easily, One of my daughters has decided that on her way home from her late shift some evenings, she is going to pop in and have a coffee and watch the harbour at night. The lights are lovely then, especially if there is a cruise ship here, which there often is.
In the light of what you said, I think perhaps you should give moving some thought. To me, it sounds just what you need. Find somewhere you can see people passing, preferably with a nice view, like I am doing. The last thing you want is a country lane! If it doesn’t matter where you go, find somewhere you can safely walk and where you are not stranded if it snows.
With love,
Ann x

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