FAMILY ROOM - This bright living room in a Bella Rosa Developments Ltd. show home in Laredo shows how a large window can help bring a space to life.

Dealing with renovations following a loved one’s death

The passing of a family member has an impact on the function and feel of a home

I am sitting in front of my computer facing a writing deadline after a death in our immediate family and to be honest, it’s difficult to come up with a any tips or design inspiration at this point.

Normally my head is buzzing with ideas and recent projects I have been working on but today my heart is solely with my family as we move forward in the next days to prepare a funeral for a well-loved man.

Regardless of the family member who passes, it has a significant impact on the function and feel of any home.

I have met people who have renovation projects in mind to clients wanting to sell everything and start over. How long do you wait? What do you need to accomplish in the process of mourning that will make your house feel like home again? For some people, there can be a considerable length of time before any memorabilia will be touched while others get right to changing the space the departed lived in to rid themselves of some of the memories.

Changing your home space after a death is a delicate and very personal decision and it can be an emotionally draining time if it is done too soon.

In our situation, the paraphernalia of home care looms large in the family room and I know that the move to clean out that equipment will be sudden and the restoration of the room will be swift as the memories of illness are swept out the door.

The memorabilia of this lovely man’s life will be given to grandchildren and stored lovingly in boxes in the coming months but many things will never be forgotten.

My recommendation is that you truly evaluate how you feel when you look at your loved one’s possessions or the space they used to inhabit.

If going into that space or being surrounded by their things brings you comfort and allows you to fondly remember a life well lived, then it is appropriate to leave that space at peace for a time. If you have fear of going past that door or of too much sadness seeing that space as it was it may be cathartic to re-create that space for a new purpose and to sweep the cobwebs of memories away from this space.

Be proactive in doing what is necessary for your healing in a time of grief.

It can be easy to let others influence you to leave everything as it is for THEIR comfort yet you are the one who has to live there every day and is it completely appropriate to decide what is best for your peace of mind.

Others may judge you redecorating a space so soon after but it may be what you need to heal. Gone but not forgotten is a wonderful thing to embrace in a time of need.

Sometimes spaces need to be changed for a variety of unforeseen reasons and we never know what life will hand us or when we will be called upon to make changes in our living environment.

I hope that every change you make in your home is joyful and with purpose and is always a step forward on the path of your life.

Kim Wyse is a Central Alberta freelance designer. Find her on facebook at ‘Ask a Designer/Ask a Realtor’.

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