Pack the Grief Away: Moving Tips for the Bereaved

Stephanie Oliver
Stephanie Oliver
Published on February 1, 2018

No matter if you are mourning the loss of a spouse, child, family member, or close friend, the grief you are currently experiencing is universal. It takes a toll on you mentally and physically, and it is a process that is foreign and strange. You are likely familiar with the stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance); but the truth is, you will carry the memories of your loved one with you forever. Which begs the question, do you ever truly stop grieving? The short answer is yes, but it might take a change of scenery – a move – to jumpstart the process.

Everything Reminds You

If your loved one lived in the home with you, you will find that you are reminded of them with every corner you turn – their clothes, shoes, hair brush, or favorite coffee mug. Even if your loved one lived nearby, the reminders don’t stop with the stuff. It’s the vivid memory of them laughing with you at the kitchen table as you tried yet another recipe, or the near run-in with an angry goose at the park. It’s the indentation left in their recliner or passing by their favorite restaurant. There is absolutely nothing wrong with cherishing the memories of your loved one, but it simply doesn’t make sense to put yourself through unnecessary pain. It may be hard to fathom the idea of packing up and moving, but a change of scenery could be the ticket.

However, simply loading up the house and moving to another won’t do. Take some time and go through your loved one’s personal items, and sort them into a keep and give away pile. Perhaps there are family members that have expressed interest in a particular item, or you know someone who would provide it with the perfect home. Taking the time to purge (and declutter) will not only serve as an emotional release, but it will make the move itself much easier. It will be difficult to see the place you call home slowly grow emptier, so consider hiring a packing/moving service and check out estimates in your area to take some of the stress and pressure off. A move is a new start, so make sure it’s a good one and all your belongings arrive safely in one piece to your new location. Speaking of a new location…

Change is Good

Most information pertaining to grief will advise that you hold off on major life changes until you have had a chance to come to terms with the loss of your loved one. Moving is a big life change, and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly, so give yourself some time to experience those raw emotions before taking the next step. Once you’ve taken some time to yourself, remember that change is good, especially one that you are doing for you. A big part of moving on is moving forward, and you are in control of what that looks like. Plus, a change of scenery offers many positive benefits aside from a new location.

Think about what makes you happy – is it the ocean waves and endless sun? The California coast could be calling your name, and research agrees. According to The Washington Post, various studies “have looked at the correlation between health and coastal living and have found an uptick in mental health among people who live by the water.” Having a close proximity to a body of water, and nature in general, are enough to reduce stress and feelings of depression. Moving to a new place, no matter where it is, is also a great way to regroup, refocus, and regain your independence without memory triggers lurking around every corner.

Whether you move permanently or rent a place for a few months or a year, the time away will be beneficial. The death of a loved one is a great loss, but it is up to you to find the silver lining. This could be the push you need to make the move and spend some quality time with yourself.


Article generously contributed by Lucile Rosetti. 

Lucile is currently writing a book on the topic Life After Death: A Wellness Guide for the Bereaved, and you can find more info about her and the project at:


Photo By: Pixabay

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