When I’m leading a support group for grieving spouses, I always include time for a “check in.” I invite the participants to share what has recently happened: did they have a question, was there a good/bad experience during the week or a hopeful/hurtful encounter with a friend? Whatever they want to talk about, we talk about it. Their needs always trump my plans.
This week, the moment I invited them to share, one said, “Why do people tell me to sell the house?” It was a few months after a beloved spouse had died and several well-intentioned friends were pushing this person to downsize. The house was too big. It’s too much responsibility. It’s now only you rattling around in a bunch of empty rooms.
In the group, heads started nodding. A few members muttered in sympathy. Everyone appeared alert.
Next, a member shared a horror story about selling the house too soon. And then a third explained, because of a disability, how frustrating it would be to leave a home’s familiar, comfortable surroundings for a strange new place. Around the circle, heads kept nodding. They understood. Another member voiced a “rule of thumb” about changes (like selling a house): don’t do anything major for at least a year after death.
Though all advice is suspect, the one-year “rule” has merit. Read More →by