It’s Best to Avoid Making Major Decisions Amid Grief. Here are Four of the Biggies.

Disposal of keepsakes and mementos

The passing of a loved one is among life’s most stressful events.

The grief that ensues negatively impacts our mental, emotional, and physical health. During this period, even small tasks and minor decision-making may seem impossible. Given the severe emotional and physical toll that loss can have on those left behind, the mourning period is not the time to make major decisions or significant changes. At the same time, loss tends to introduce situations that require adjustment.  


Here are four important decisions that are best postponed during bereavement.


Disposal of keepsakes and mementos

Even if photographs, letters, and other fond reminders of your loved one intensify your sadness right now, these sentimental items should not be discarded. If you toss them out, these irreplaceable articles will be lost forever and you are likely to regret the decision down the road. In time, perhaps six months or a year, you might feel differently as you begin adjusting to life after loss. At the very least, you will probably feel better equipped to determine what you wish to dispose of and what you want to keep. If you cannot tolerate having physical reminders nearby right now, consider stowing them away in a spare room, garage, or storage unit. When you are in a better frame of mind and are feeling up to it, you can sort through these treasured memories.



It might be tempting to relocate in order to escape household reminders of your loved one, but moving right away may not be in your best interest. It is best to delay this decision for at least six months, if possible. Even in the best of situations, moving is a major undertaking—finding a new place to live, selling your existing home, packing, etc. It’s an exhausting process and you are likely already depleted on many levels. It is also possible that you could view your living situation differently in a few months, so avoid making a hasty decision. If you feel that you cannot live in your home right now, explore ways to make a temporary, reversible move. For instance, instead of selling your house, could you live somewhere else for a while, such as in an apartment or with a relative?


Financial upheaval

The loss of a loved one can bring about a host of new responsibilities to the surviving spouse, including financial matters. If your partner always handled the money matters in your household, it can leave you feeling frazzled and uncertain. You may also have to contend with credit card accounts, loans, insurance policies, and investments that belonged to your partner. While you may feel a desire to simplify your financial situation, it is unwise to do so without professional guidance. It is best to put off making any major financial decisions for at least six months after the death of a spouse or close family member. Be sure to consult with a qualified financial advisor in advance of any changes you are considering, as well. 


Career changes

Returning to work after the loss of a loved one is a difficult transition for many people. As a result, it can trigger the desire to make significant changes in employment. You may be tempted to leave your current job or even seek a new vocation altogether. While the thought of a major life change like this can be attractive, having a familiar routine is usually helpful for those who are grieving. It’s best to keep this aspect of your life the same in the wake of loss. If you feel your job is too taxing right now, consider asking your employer for a temporary leave of absence or a reduced schedule.

If delaying a major life decision is not feasible, discuss the situation with a trusted friend, relative, or confidant. Having a conversation with someone who has your best interest at heart can help you gain a better perspective on the situation.  


Please keep in mind that grief is an ongoing process. If you have questions or need additional support during your bereavement, our compassionate professionals are here for you.  Please reach out to our caring team.


About Evan W. Smith Funeral Services: Since 2009, residents of Wilmington, Dover, and the surrounding Delaware community have relied on the caring staff at Evan W. Smith Funeral Services to help them through their darkest hours. Family-owned and operated, the company offers an array of elite funeral care services, including traditional funerals, cremations, memorials, pre-planning, and more. With decades of experience in caring for families from all cultural backgrounds and diverse walks of life, Evan W. Smith Funeral Services is committed to creating memorable, uplifting experiences that always exceed expectations. For more information, please visit

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