Monday, March 31, 2014

"Moving" Experiences

Dear Reader,
On Mondays we deal with grief issues. One of my very first readers, Annette, suggested these questions for widows: Should you move? and if so, how soon should you move out of your house?
Here are some wise words from other widows' experiences. I originally posted this in 2011, but everything they say is still timely and wise. If you've moved, or have questions about moving, please chime in with your comments.

Bridgette: Not only did I move to a new house, but I moved 700 miles away. It was and is bittersweet, but I don't regret it. We needed a fresh start where we weren't constantly reminded that Kent isn't here anymore. (Update: Bridgette is now remarried and has a new baby!)
Kelly: I moved about two months after my husband died. It was hard and I am still not sure it was right for me but it was right for my daughter

Polly: I moved 300 miles away, leaving behind everything I had ever known. My heart is still there and it will always be home. Still, it was the absolute, without a doubt, best thing I could have done. Memories are wonderful and painful at the same time ... they were everywhere I looked, in every nook and every cranny. I slowly began to see I would take those memories with me and perhaps lessen the pain a little. I miss home. My oldest son and several grandchildren still live there. Until last summer, when I went to visit, I could not bear to even look at the street with our house, nor could I go to the cemetery. Last time my son said "Mom, let's go for a little ride and look at some of the country." We drove by our house and through my tears, I saw it for the first time. I squeezed his arm tightly as he drove on to the cemetery. We both got out and it was like a healing! Now I can go and be so grateful for the time I had, take flowers and feel the joy I knew 'back in the day' once more. My son is very wise, indeed!
Annette: After two months I made a big move from Shelbyville, TN to Wisconsin to be with my children and grandchildren. I know this is where I need to be but I think if I had to do it over again I might have taken a few more months to get thru my grieving period. We had been married for thirty five years and it was really hard for me to think about life without him. Moving up here and being with my grandchildren helped me to get thru it. The most important thing for my life was that God was by me thru it all. He was there in the night when I would wake and cry out in loneliness and he gave me such peace and joy.
Myra: I became a widow 15 years ago at the age of 39; my daughters were 10 and 5. I decided to stay in the house. The kids were with their friends and we had our church family. Had I moved back to my home town, I would have had to be totally dependent on my parents. At 39, that was just not feasible. I am so glad we did stay. I have a close widow friend, whose story very closely parallels mine, but she chose to move to the town where her brother lived. She says she wishes she hadn’t. She left behind not only the memories, but her friends and her boys’ friends as well.
I would advise anyone to wait at least a year if children are involved and a couple of months if it is just the spouse. Give yourself time to make the right decision for you and your children, not for your family, even though they feel they are giving you the best advice. It’s your life and you have to live with the decisions. You must begin to make decisions on your own, as tough as it is.

MaryLou: Our house had been up for sale and when it sold I did move because that had been our plan . . . but *everything* in my life changed. I moved from Kansas City to Colorado Springs. I have a lovely, sunny, fully-equipped apartment on the lower level of my daughter and son-in-law's home, but my life was ripped out by the roots and plunked down in a "foreign" soil. I struggled to make good friendships and find a church home etc. I never liked "change". I had lived in the same house for 30 years and in the same town for all of my married life. The Lord was really stretching me.
What about you? Have you moved or thought about moving? Jump in and tell us about your experience and any advice you can pass along. Please click the comment line below and fill in the box, or email your insights to

If a move is in your near future, here's a good article from a blog called Grandmother Wren about preparing yourself and your children.

Hang on to this roller coaster ride through grief, my sister! With God, good things can still happen. Moving might be one of those good things if it's in the Lord's timing.


  1. I was told not to make any major decisions my first year as a widow. I bought a house and moved into it 4 months to the day after my husband passed away - I couldn't stay in the house where we lived and he died. 3 month's later I started the first of three trips to Oregon (I live in central New York) to move my mom into assisted living after some health issues. All of this kept my mind busy and I believe now stunted the grieve process somewhat, but it caught up to me in the second year. - Karen

  2. I sold our house 2 years before my husband died. When he first became ill, I knew that if God didn't do a miracle, I would certainly be a widow. I could not afford the mortgage on my salary. He was no longer working. His medical bills and mine from having had cancer were depleting our savings. We moved in the basement of the home of my daughter, son inlaw, and 2 grandsons. After he passed away, I drove by my house and I cried over the memories that would never be. I went to his old job to see if there was anyone there that remembered him. I drove to all our favorite places. I made myself do these things to mourn over our loss. I quit my teaching job and am now working with autistic children. God is making me over again. The memories are good. Crying is good for me. That's how I feel our love again. God is showing me how to be content in every circumstance.

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  4. I'm getting some comments by email today so I'm pasting them here. They are so great! Everyone's decisions and experiences are a little different and will really be helpful for other widows to see all the options. Thank you all so much!

  5. Our plan was to retire to our beach condo and live there 8 months of the year. We planned to put an addition on our too-large family home and live in the addition during the winter months when not at the beach. My daughter's family would rent the large part of the home from us. When Larry got sick we sold the beach condo because we knew I couldn't handle two properties on my own. After he died I hated living alone in that big house so I decided to go with our original plan. With the help of a neighbor, I hired a reliable Amish contractor and had the addition built. I now have a comfortable one bedroom apartment and large deck for myself and my daughter's family lives within shouting distance. I can clean the place in 30 minutes! My son-in-law takes care of outdoor chores on the 2+ acres and I help with the toddler and baby.

    I am 63 have been told that I might regret this living situation in the future because I won't be living "among others my age" (aka senior citizen community). So far I like living among family and feel that the kids will keep me young. I had the addition built handicap accessible hoping not to have to use that option. I am 18 months out and am starting to feel content. My memories are still here, as are my friends and church family. - Marcia

  6. My husband died in June 2011 and I moved in October 2012, from Rockford, Il to Indianapolis. I now live one mile from my son and his family (boy 10 and girl 7). I do carpool and "kidcare" a couple times a week and this gives me a reason for living.

    I miss my (our) friends greatly as we had been in the same church for 40 years. But I drive back occasionally to renew those friendships. For me, this was the right decision.


  7. My husband and I had just moved back to our "home" city 10 months before he died. So the house we lived in really was only a home because he was there with me. I tried to stay there two or three times after he passed and I just hated being there. So at 5 months out I decided to sell and move to another part of town. My mom and my friends were all 30 minutes to an hour away from where we were living and so I moved closer to them and to a side of town I really like. I have NO doubts that moving was the right thing for me. I have a lovely house that is not yet a home but I have confidence that it will be someday. We lost my dad 17 months before my is different for my mom. She and daddy had been in that house for several years together and she does not want to leave...I get that too. Everyone's situation is different and there is no solution that fits 100% of the people. My biggest piece of advice is to not rush into a decision. Take your time and you will know in your gut what the right thing is for you. God bless.

  8. I guess I have always thought of myself as having not left the home I was living in when my husband died. Technically that is true. However, when my husband was diagnosed with his neurological disease in 2006, we knew we needed to leave our home in the country of 27 years. We first lived in an apartment for 3 1/2 years and then moved to a condo (duplex). We moved there in February 2010. My husband passed away in early January 2011. These have all been within a two mile radius or so of each other, however.

  9. Thank you for sharing your valuable stories today, I know that we find them all so interesting, and that you've shared a lot of wisdom we can gain. The decisions you've made and the hope you've passed on to the readers here will be a big help for the choices they have to make.

  10. Karen - I can identify with your statement the grieving process didn't hit me either until my second year. I moved across town within 45 days of his death. Getting adjusted into a new apartment and neighborhood kept me occupied until about the second year and then I realized "it's real".
    If I were to offer any advice it would be to wait if at all possible at least 6 months or a year. I had to downsize so much and gave so many things away that I regret. But under duress, and trying to be strong you just have poor judgement.
    God is teaching me too (still learning) of how to be content in every circumstance. Dodi


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