The death of a loved one is never easy and can be one of the most painful events in your life. Each person grieves in his or her own way. Grief can look sad, it can look happy, it can look angry -- it can look like any emotion felt by the loss of a family member or close friend. Whatever faces bereavement wears, it almost always propels the grieving person forward — sometimes quickly, sometimes a bit more slowly -- into the future.

Making decisions and plans for the future is an important part of the grieving process and can be  healing: What do we do now? Where should we live? How much do we have in our savings account?

Some people want to remain in their homes and feel no reason to move, but others feel that making a fresh start by moving to a new location is what they need or want to do.

If you’re in a similar situation and are thinking about selling your home, relocating and buying a new home, there are some things you can do to make this life-changing transition as easy, affordable and stress-free as possible.

THE BENEFITS OF MOVING

1. Financial stability Perhaps the death of your loved one has left you and your children in a financial bind. If he or she has been the sole breadwinner, you may have to find work and downsize to a more affordable home. Buying a cheaper home will give you peace of mind and be a help to your budget.

2. Lifting your spirits Doing something as practical as buying and selling a home and relocating can help you move positively through your grief. If you’re the type of person who handles bereavement by staying busy and proactive, then this can be healthy for you.

3. Change of scenery. Starting over after the death of a loved one by moving can be a little scary for some, but others find it necessary to the grieving process. Moving can help put the past and the pain behind you and can give you reasons to become active and excited again.

MANAGING THE MOVE

To help make the move easier, it helps to be open to help. This could mean family, friends or moving professionals to help you pack. It could mean hiring a real estate agent to make the selling/buying process easier. It could mean joining a support group for parents in bereavement who have undertaken the same tasks. It could mean accepting financial assistance for home loans.

When it comes to your children (especially if moving during the school year), you’ll want to make the change as smoothly as you can by:

--Checking out the schools with your child to see if they meet your expectations and meeting teachers and principal, if possible.

-- Visiting the neighborhood with your child beforehand to preview playgrounds, places of entertainment and shopping.

-- Taking your child on tours of the homes you’re interested in buying.

--Involving your child in the home buying/selling process by doing things together such as placing ads in the local paper and social media, browsing real estate sites to look at homes, choosing a new look for a new bedroom, etc.

MANAGING THE TOUGH STUFF

During the moving process, you may find that buying and selling a home is the easiest part.

The hard part may be involve things such as packing up belongings, letting go of cherished items that belonged to your loved one, moving during the middle of the school year and saying goodbye to a home that held so many memories.

You can’t keep everything that belonged to your departed loved one, so base your decisions on the things that meant the most. You can donate or sell the rest. Involving your child in these decisions will help him or her move forward, too.

Losing a spouse or loved one is difficult, but preparation, good advice from others and a willingness to accept change and move forward helps make the loss easier to manage.

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