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Dear Annie: Will moving house heal my grief pain?

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Dear Annie: My husband of 13 years died almost two years ago. The past couple of years have been the hardest of my entire life. It pains me to be surrounded by all our precious memories. I have recently had the opportunity to relocate. Would this be good for me? – SB

Annie says: I’m so sorry to hear about your husband. What a lot of memories you must have made together over those 13 or more years. I can understand that being around things you bought together, in a home you shared would really evoke lots of memories and stir up painful feelings about your husband’s death.

It’s very hard to say with any certainty whether relocating will be good for you, mainly because grief is so unpredictable. It doesn’t follow rules. What you feel now is probably not what you felt in the early days and won’t necessarily be what you feel in a year or two.

So you might move and temporarily feel relieved of these painful feelings, but then find yourself in a year or two longing to be surrounded by familiar things and signs of your shared life.

Moving house is a big decision, and its often wise not to make big decisions too soon after the death of a loved one. Two years is not a huge amount of time. So what I would say is don’t rush. And keep reflecting on this decision and consider how it might serve you to relocate, but not in terms of protecting you from difficult emotions.

The grieving process is personal and grief comes in waves, and these don’t really ever stop coming. They just come more infrequently. If the decision to move comes with benefits other than simply to keep the painful memories at bay, it’s likely to be a good idea.

If you’ve lost someone close to you, or been affected by a bereavement, psychotherapist Annie Broadbent is here to help. If you have a question for her to answer in this column, write to her at

About Annie

Annie Broadbent is a trained psychosynthesis counsellor, with specialist experience working with the bereaved. As a therapist she explores the mind, body, feelings and spirit, working with individuals in a way that is most appropriate for them.

She is the author of bestselling book Speaking of Death (What the Bereaved Really Need), inspired by personal experiences of living through bereavement, including her own. Whilst writing her book, Annie volunteered at St Christopher's Hospice and has given a number of talks on issues around grief, bereavement and mental health.

Regretfully, Annie cannot enter into personal correspondence

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