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Lost my husband and need to vacate the house. How to?


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Dear friends,

2 months back I lost my husband.  I am grieving, though trying all positive things to remain positive.

I stay with my in-laws (in 1st floor and my house on the ground floor).  I am from India.  Because my aged in-laws are staying alone, it is better for me to vacate the house and give it for rent.

I work in a different city and used to visit this house when my husband was alive during weekends (from past 6 months this juggling, otherwise we had planned to shift to my new work city.  However, he is no more now so that plan stands still).  We stayed in that house for more than 13 years.  Now, as I need to vacate and whenever I think of that I cry and I get a heavy heart, headache, stress, sadness.  Just not able to accept the fact.  However, vacating is important to give it for rent so that some people are there in the house than living it empty and safety for my in-laws.

How to handle this situation?  I am getting too emotional of this thought.  Not able to or don't want to share this thought with anybody as I feel I might spoil their mood too.  And I am sorry to spoil your cheerful mood too here.  

If I vacate, I am planning to get rid of all the things and I won't be having a house of my own.  I have wonderful siblings and my in-laws also have given me a room to stay whenever I go there on alternate weekends.

I don't know what to do.  I am so confused about life.  Scared to take decisions on my own.  Should I search for a house of mine in the new city, I don't know.  My mind is not accepting the fact that he is no more and on top suddenly I don't have a place of my own.

Help me to overcome this



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Dear Janacki,

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your husband. It is horribly raw and painful. It is difficult to make decisions about moving or finding a new place to stay during this sad time.

I think your friends and family will understand if you share this hard decision with them.

Try to give yourself more time to work out your feelings.

I remember hearing that is better to wait at least one year before making a major decision.

Thinking of you. Sending my thoughts and prayers.

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First, I am so sorry for your loss.  I am very impressed by how you are handling things with your loss being so new.  At two months I was a mess, barely able to care for myself, let alone trying to remain positive and caring for others.  As @reader mentioned I think it is a good idea if possible to wait a year before making any major decisions.  Unfortunately finances and practical problems sometimes prevent us from waiting.

If your financial situation or the need to provide your in-laws with care demands that you rent the house you may need to make that decision.  If that is the case I can tell you that changing my living situation has been very good for me overall.  I sometimes miss being where I shared my life with my wife.  At the same time being away from some of the daily reminders of that life has helped me.  The change hasn’t made me lose the connection with my wife, and it has definitely improved my daily life.

I also agree with Reader that you may want to share the decision with your friends and family. They probably want to be there to help you if they can, just as you are trying to help them.  You may also want to look for other solutions.  As I understand it, one of your first concerns is care and safety for your in-laws.  Have you looked at the possibility of a home care nurse? You mentioned siblings, you may consider talking to them and seeing if you can work out a schedule for having them help care for your in-laws.

You may find some of the following useful.  Reviewing what I have done through my grief journey lead me to create the following list.  Everyone’s path through this is unique, but there are many things that we have in common.

1.  One day, one moment at a time. - It is ok to look at the future, particularly if you are having strong moments.  When it starts causing anxiety, panic, or discomfort it is important to stop and deal with grief in smaller, more manageable pieces.

2.  Practice self-care, particularly in the small things. – Your loved one would want you to take care of yourself.  This applies to all aspects of grief, but basic elements in particular.  Eat what you can, sleep when you can, exercise if you can, and drink plenty of water.

3.  Accept help when you need it, help others when you can. -  It is hard at times to accept help.  Grief may make you may feel that you are a burden, or that you aren’t worthy of being helped, both of which are untrue.  People who offer help do so because they want and need to.  It is often part of their grieving process.  If someone offers help without specifics, you may try to think of one small, but concrete thing they can do.  Let them pick up something from the store for you, cook you a meal, or help clean a room.  These are small things that have visible results.  Remember the "when you can" of helping others.  Helping people builds a sense of self-worth and purpose, but you have burdens of your own and don't need to overextend yourself.

4.  Establish and stick to routines. - This puts order into chaotic lives.  Try to go to and get out of bed every day at the same time.  Set schedules, with alarms in your phone if needed for the basics of life, shopping, caring for pets, eating, or cleaning.

5.  Allow time to grieve. - Ignoring grief may lead to further problems.  There are times when it is appropriate to disguise your emotions, but if you do that for too long it may lead to a setback in your grieving journey.  You may want to add this to your routines, and set one time a day to think about your emotions, loss, and how to cope with it.  Over time you may find you simply know when you need to take time to process your grief.

6.  Before making big changes take time to think them through. – This seems to go against one day, one moment, one breath at a time, but it is important.  Avoid making big changes in the first year.  Slow down and make sure what you are doing is good for you, not a reaction to your grief.

7.  Try new things. - The reverse of establish and stick to routines.  While routines bring order to the chaos, trying new things opens the door to future possibilities.  Start small, such as changing your routes to and from work or the store.  When you feel comfortable, look at trying large things such as changing long term patterns of behavior that no longer work for your situation.

 8.  Do what feels right for you. – Self-confidence is often damaged by personal loss and grief.  You may stop trusting your instincts and second guess yourself.  Often your instincts are still correct.  If you don’t feel you are ready for something, listen to that inner voice.  This journey is hard enough, on occasion it is ok to indulge yourself even if it seems selfish to others.

9.  Separate guilt from regrets. -  Regrets are natural and we all wish we had done better at times.  Guilt is feeling you have done something wrong and blaming yourself for the situation.  None of us needs blame or condemnation through this process, least of all from ourselves.

10. It is OK to not be OK. – You are going through a very difficult experience.  It is normal to feel panic, anxiety, fear, anger, and depression.  Take those moments for what they are and work through them as slowly as you need to.  If you don't get something the first, fifth, or five thousandth time, that is understandable.  Take your time, regroup and try again.  Anyone who doesn't understand doesn't matter, and anyone who matters will understand.

11.  Grief can be a part of you without controlling you. – Early in grief it is all you may feel, in ways it may define you.  As you move through this grief journey, you will come to points where you can define your grief rather than the other way around.  While you may never be rid of it, you do not have to give it power over you.  You can find ways to live with it and find purpose or happiness even though grief will still be a part of you.

 12.  When truly lost, seek out an expert, then take and follow their advice.  -  No one knows everything.  It is normal to feel isolated and abandoned in grief.  Asking for, and accepting help doesn’t make you weak in any way.  It gives you the strength of your entire community.

I already see in you the strength and courage to make difficult decisions, but wish you the peace and comfort of not being confronted by them,


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reader's advice was very good, turn to friends/family for advice and support. I'm glad you have supportive family in your in-laws.  

Me personally, with the reasons you stated, I'd probably move near my job for practical reasons, but you are not me and when it comes down to actually doing it, it'd be hard.  Is there a reason you aren't staying on the first floor of your in-laws?  Is your job a long ways away?  I had to commute 100 miles/day to my job so I know how hard commutes can be.  Just know that there isn't a right or wrong decision, only a decision that YOU feel most comfortable with.  If you could think about how your day would be like, what does that look like to you?  Do what gets you there.

I agree with Herc, you are already showing strength and courage...it is hard making these decisions on our own.

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