Dream Your Own Death.

One of the possible side effects of taking melatonin are vivid dreams. Since I started micro-dosing myself I’ve had a few but because I knew to expect them AND because I know that vivid dreams mean I’m in that lovely restorative REM state, this is A-OK with me! I’m not overly bothered by them.

Well, except this one.

On the very first night of micro dosing, I dreamt I was in a room full of people, perhaps 15 of us all together.

The room was white and sterile, with overhead lights that flickered and buzzed. The general mood was somber. There was a woman and she was not having a time! She was really carrying on, crying and wailing. Pulling at her hair…a staff member sat beside her and was trying to calm and console the poor dear. My curiosity got the better of me and I rudely interrupted them to ask”What’s her problem!?” in the snottiest voice ever!

“Oh, she’s just learned how she’s about to die” the staff member says, nonchalantly.

I openly scoff at this poor women’s distress but quickly realize that I have also been collected and made to gather in this room… I’m starting to catch on but still, I’m full of cheek ” How am I going to die?”

Staff lady turns to me, looks me dead straight in the eyes and says with a steely glint ” YOU, are going to have a medical event.”

My heart pounds! Pressure in my head builds and builds as I stare at her in horror. I start to hyperventilate as my head explodes in pain and then I wake up.

In.a.panic!

“I’m dying! I’m dying! ” are the most coherent of the many jumbled thoughts racing through my head. “What about my grandbabies? What about my garden!? MY JOURNALS!!” I’m sputtering. Actually sputtering! ” I haven’t done all the things I want to do!” I wail in my head.

That last thought clears the fog because I actually have done the things I want to do…this must be a dream…Holy crap! Some dream!

Gradually my heart stops racing and the stroke pain in my head clears. I get up to pee and have a laugh.

I am an end of life care doula! I read about death every single day. I live and breathe death and help people with theirs…and yet here I am, dreaming about my own and freaking out! Too bloody funny.

I know it’s just a dream and dreams aren’t reality but the whole thing made me wonder this- If I’m not lucky enough to die in my sleep, if I am made aware of the details of my death, is this how I’m going to react? Goddess, I hope not. Who wants to spend their last moments in a panic?!

This is just like the time I dreamed of spiders and had to remind myself that I wasn’t actually afraid of spiders. And I’m not, under most circumstances, ha ha. I’m only afraid of them when they move quickly.

It seems I’m only afraid of death when it moves quickly too.

Death Cleaning

One of the services a death doula can offer is Death Cleaning.

What the heck is Death Cleaning?!

Well, death cleaning is the act of organizing, giving away, donating and trashing the mountains of things you’ve collected in your lifetime, before you die, with love and intention. It can be a big job, which is why some doulas offer it as a service. Aside from the practicalities of cleaning, a death doula can help you make the experience rich and meaningful.

( If you’re with me and you’re keen on the idea, it can also be silly and fun. Actually I pretty much guarantee it’ll be silly and fun if you’re with me. That’s kind of my jam.)

You may have seen this before marketed as Swedish Death Cleaning based on the book of a similar name. It is a lovely, lovely idea and I am fond of it madly.

I’ve since learned that this isn’t really a thing like the press would have you believe. It’s more like minimalism- live simply and practically- that the lifestyle types have repackaged and turned into a trend and brought to the masses. This lovely book has been turned into a movement of sorts which is very cool. And whether is a “thing” or not, I love that it gets people thinking, and talking and acting. It’s a thing now, ha ha.

( My need for authenticity is fighting with my love of talking about death)

Whatever you want to call it, at its core Death Cleaning is just the act of taking care of your shit so your loved ones don’t have to. It’s done in the later years as one thinks about such things.

This can all also be done before your later years because hey, let’s face it: You could be 21 years old and this very day is a day in your “later years” because you get killed by a crazy Edmonton driver! One never knows.

With that in mind, if you happen to still be ALIVE , a good Death Clean or even just thinking about good Death Clean might inspire you to live a more simplistic lifestyle and that my friends is called minimalism.

I suck at minimalism.

I suck at cleaning.

I love it. I appreciate it. I crave it.

It’s all very Zen.

But I suck at it.

I can’t suck at something if I’m going to offer it as a service! And the thought of leaving piles of junky stuff for my kids to clean makes me shudder so…

I’m going to death clean myself first!

And document it here of course πŸ™‚

I have a feeling this is going to be a difficult task but I think that by doing this I’ll have a better understanding of what the process is like for my dear clients and that’s a win for everyone.

I feel great anxiety and trepidation in my chest just thinking about it. The task is very overwhelming.

I have so much stuff!

All over the place!


Which is why I’m going to start small with the easiest items:

Clothing!

Let’s tackle the dresser first.

The whole task took me about an hour from beginning to end. I approached it as if I were working with a client so I was a. nice to myself about the mess. b. detached emotionally from my belongings c. invested in being efficient.

Here is what I learned:

  1. Doing the task quickly and intentionally is crucial to not getting stuck in the emotions of it.
  2. Have a garbage bag and containers for each of the following right there before you begin. The containers, boxes, bags, whatever are for things you give to family and friends, things you are donating/selling, things you need to move to another area of your home, and trash.
  3. Do any task that will only take 5 mins, right away. For instance, I had a pile of sunglasses that needed to go somewhere. I found an old makeup bag, tossed them in it and then put them away. Completing these small tasks right away prevents you from moving one mess to another area and gives you a feeling of completion in the original one.
  4. If the task is something that requires more work and time, write it down and then do it. You’ll forget and it wont get done or you’ll remember and it’ll hang over you and make you anxious. I can’t put all my things away because I need a jewellery box, and I need one of those file folder thingies and I need a Rubbermaid. So I wrote myself a list and on payday I’ll get what I need to put it all away, in a proper place. Now I know those real minimalist types say things like “Oh, if you need to buy more things to put your stuff in, you need to get rid of more stuff!” Well, I’m sorry DIANE, I’m not tossing out my fucking jewellery just because I don’t have a jewellery box to put it in. Gee Willikers!
  5. Be kind to yourself. Take breaks if you need them. Ask for help. Work through your heart lens. It will all be OK in the end no matter what you do.

It was an interesting task to complete because I could really see the way my mind operates, laid out within my stuff. According to a bunch of studies that are easily Googleable, if one lives in a scattered, cluttered mess, one’s mind is an scattered, cluttered mess BUT the opposite of that is true too!

Cleaning it and organizing it and living simply has a calming effect on your entire life. I can benefit from that and if I die from a stroke today, my drawers are one less thing my family has to take care of. That brings me peace and comfort, however small.

Until next time, when I tackle the closet, love and squishy hugs!