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 🙂

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!

Rambles and Dying.

Happy Monday!

I am just catching up with everyone and everything! I was at a very intensive course in End-of- Life- Care, all last week. I enjoyed every minute of it but it was absolutely exhausting!

Every night I went home just brain dead. The topic is heavy as it is, and I was hyper focussed on taking it all in. Absorbing as much as I could. There was a huge variety of different people there and I wanted to get to know them all as best I could.

I made my friends straight away, and it’s like we’ve known each other for YEARS! How beautiful is that? There was a flip side to that too, which I find hilarious! There are always a few in every crowd! People are so queer. Myself included, of course.

The course was good and I’ve got so much to do but I’m happy and content and confident with the direction my life is heading. Plus I got to try something out!

Roomy!

We did an exercise with a cardboard coffin. It was awesome! How many people get to try out such a thing while they’re still alive?!

Here are our Monday Memes!

HA! @ Me. I try. OH how I try but I just can’t keep indoor plants alive.

*snort! It must be so annoying…

Right?! Ya don’t have to tell me twice ;P

Enjoy the heck out of your week! Love and Squishy Hugs.

Aging Boy Milk

Boy 30529 by Felix Weinberg was a quick, concise read about the author’s experience before, during and after the Holocaust. I enjoyed reading it. This is a book that feels more like it was written for his family than a wider audience and there is a real different feel here, because of that.

Aging for Beginners by Ezra Bayda is a victim of my expectations. I was anticipating this would be a book about aging. It was … kind of. The author talks about things that happen as we age but the topics were not unlike things that happen as we live! Anxiety, depression, pain, etc. and so to me, if felt like reading over the same old ground. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good read. I bookmarked several pages with interesting quotes or valuable information. I was expecting something a little more specific and that is a ME problem 🙂

Milkman by Anna Burns pissed me off. 1. It betrayed me by starting out strong and interesting if not unusual and unique in style and structure. I thought I had a good one here but as the pages went on and the characters were introduced I lost all train of thought and found myself unable to follow the story. I completely lost interest in the end. 2. This was a Hits to Go! book at my library. I went to another library after choosing this book and found another Hits to Go! book and tried to take it out only to learn, one may only have one Hits to Go! book at a time. I wasted my weekly Hits to Go! quota on a disappointing book. Boooo! Anyway, this book gets mixed reviews all over the place. Some people love it, some people hate it. I don’t have such strong feelings either way. It was just hard for me to read and did not hold my interest after awhile. Too much work for this old brain! 😉

These three books mark six books read in February. I’m off to a slow start this month, it seems. BUT I’ve read twenty-five of my 2019 goal of one hundred and twenty-five so I still feel pretty good about that.

How is your reading going this month? Join me on Goodreads!

Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver, prize winning poet, died this past Thursday, January 17, 2019. She was 83 years old.

I adored her work. I often wondered how she got into my head and pulled out the very thing I needed to hear. The very thing that would make my heart sing. It was like she wrote poems just for me.


Holiday Traditions- Advent

I write about candy A LOT, don’t I? Sorry, not sorry.

As a child I don’t remember having an Advent calendar. We weren’t religious and advent is a religious thing, I do believe, so that’d be why. Plus, I grew up mostly financially poor. There would have been no moola for such things.

I got them periodically for my own kids, as a cultural/countdown thing and ya know how THAT goes! Eaten all within a day or forgotten about and left to go stale. Gross by any account because the chocolates were those cheap waxy ones, yuck!

Now you can get much better quality not to mention there are countdown calendars with more then jst chocolate! A person could get beer, or make up, ties or lego. The possibilities are probably limitless.

I like to stick with chocolate:

Roger’s  Chocolates is a Canadian company and their customer service is MOST excellent. There was an issue with my locked gate and the delivery service but it wasn’t an issue for long, thanks to Betty Ann. She called me personally to solve the problem- before I was even aware that there may be a problem – and was sincere and lovely in all our encounters. Not only was Betty Ann a gem, I got the feeling the entire chain of command cared about me too. The whole experience was such a treat, especially in today’s world. 

Their products are good too but honestly, even if they were crap I’d still buy them. Just to do my part to keep places and people as delightful as Betty Ann and her team, in business. Ha Ha. ( Try their Victoria Creams! )

My new morning routine is as such:

Get Up. Take blood pressure. Drink coffee. Melt one delicious chocolate in my eager mouth. Eat breakfast.

What am I ever going to do when this is all over? Somebody please invent a reason to eat chocolate every day?

Oh wait! I’m alive.

That’s reason enough for me! 

What’s something you do unapologetically? (Who would we apologize to anyway? The whole idea of that seems so silly, doesn’t it? ) How often do you think about death? 

The Awesome Impact Award

I’ve been given my VERY FIRST AWARD by the ever lovely Victoria at Tashnee V. Mavee. Isn’t that so nice? I thought so 🙂 Thanks so much!

The Awesome Impact Award relates to sharing an incident that impacted your life in a really positive way. This is so my jam!

The rules of this award are as follows:

  • Tag the person who nominated you. Tashnee V. Mavee!
  • Take “The Awesome Impact Award “image and add that to your post:

awesomeimpact-award1

  • Talk about an incident that impacted your life in a really positive way.

See below 🙂

  • Nominate other awesome bloggers for this award.

Stacee

Richa

Suzanne

So.

A recent conversation about trains brings to mind something that had a MOST positive affect on my life.

I grew up in the suburbs outside of Port Moody, BC amongst two other cities. The three cities, known collectively as the Tri-Cities were all stretched out between the Fraser RIver and various mountain ranges with many miles of interconnecting rail throughout. We didn’t have light rail transit back in my day and bus service cost money, was unreliable and was most definitely NOT COOL. So, we did what any asshole teenager would do, something dangerous! We hopped trains to get around.

Well, my peers did. I was a. not cool. and b. smart. Not at first. Initially I did try to hop a train. It was an impromptu event. We were all near the tracks in the process of making our way to “the bush” which was an hour walk away. The boys saw the train, grabbed the girls and started running. My boyfriend at the time ( Jim.  A decent guy from what I remember, and VERY adventures for a teen age boy 😉 ) hopped up first and I quickly followed. Now, I’m not the most graceful of humans, so when I ran-hopped I was not in time with the train and missed. Jim grabbed me by my shirt collar just in the nick of time and up I went, gasping with exertion and shock. I would have died. He saved my life.

I think its safe to say that, that was an incident that had a rather positive effect on my life. I’ve gone on to live 30 more years, all thanks to Jim.

Heart-Child

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My first Heart-Child turns four today. The days are long but the years are short. I don’t know how this kid got to be four, but here she is.

I adore being a Grammy. It’s the best role I’ve found myself in yet. A million times better than being a parent. I’d even go so far as to say, grandparenting is the only reason one should have children. Ha.

All the love and none of the angst. What a marvellous thing. 10/10 would recommend.

This little girl, besides being a gift, gave me a gift.

The gift of my own mortality.

When we first met, I was instantly struck by these thoughts:

Here is someone who is going to miss me when I die. She’s going to know my death and its going to be a loss. I am going to die, in her lifetime.

I never ever thought about this with my own kids because I was too damn terrified of their deaths, never mind my own. I spent 18 years of their lives doing my best to keep them alive. (And I did it, go me!)

I think being released from that job, symbolically with the birth of my girl allowed me to wake up to my own death. And that’s pretty fucking cool. Because when we acknowledge we’re going to die every day, the days that we live get that much better. We’re free to filter out the nonsense and focus on the things that really matter to us. Enabling us to live a full, rich life. While we still have one!

I don’t want my life to be like my Summers. Lollygagging around as if its going to last forever and then get to the end and have regrets.

So endless thanks to my favourite four-year old!

What are your thoughts on death? Are you afraid of it? Curious about it? Tell me in the comments.