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This is definitely not about cleaning bodies though it certainly could be applied to bodies of "work". Perhaps thinking about end of life issues is something that you occasionally do.

This book has been recommended to me many times and now I'd like to recommend it to you. You most certainly don't need to be an elder to read this.

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning book is a very useful journey to explore no matter what stage of life you are at. Written in an engaging voice by Margareta Magnusson who when it was published in 2018, was somewhere between 80 and 100 years old.

We have all accumulated “stuff” over the course of our lives and this book reminds us that it’s important to be kind and considerate of our loved ones who will be there for us during our final days. If we take care of sorting through even a portion of our things, at the end of the day, we will leave less of a burden for our family and friends to sort through. A kind gesture for sure.

This book is laid out in such a way that you tackle the easy stuff first (things in storage that haven’t been looked at or used in years for instance) and you continue toward the more emotionally challenging items like photographs, letters, or journals.

I’ve always tried to keep on top of sorting through my personal things as well as my family’s things, but I know that I still have much to deal with. Maybe you do too. Let me make it easy for you, here is a link to order this inspiring and at times quite funny book. Spring cleaning, death cleaning, what's the difference?

Grandmothers are often smart and insightful women. For Dr. Robert McDermid, an ICU doc and hospital administrator, it was his grandmother who taught him what being a doctor truly meant. It was her last lesson of life. As she lay on her death bed, she opened her eyes, and couldn’t understand why she was still alive. She was ready to go onto the next realm.

Unfortunately, medical science typically views death as a failure but as Dr. Rob reminds us - despite advances in medical science the death rate is still - one per person. Having challenging conversations about end-of-life takes courage, whether it’s with your doctor, your loved ones or yourself.

For the past few years, I have been supporting the TEDx Surrey team by creating sketchnotes of presentations. Dr. Rob McDermid’s presentation is amongst some of the sketchnotes on my website.

A key insight that Dr. McDermid shared was that talking to people about dying helps them get more of what they need while they are living.

I enjoy being part of the VEOLI community (Visualizing End-of-life Issues). We are a collection of individuals from across the continent, who help visualize and facilitate end-of-life discussions.

One area of focus is helping people to visualize what their final days might look like. Where they are? Who is with them? What is the look and feel of their environment during those final days and hours? At the end of the discussion a Final Days Visual is created.

Of course, you can’t control the future AND just because you’ve articulated what you would like, doesn’t mean it will be exactly as you envisioned. However, we believe that by exploring this important topic, and having a visual record, your end-of-life wishes becomes easier to discuss with loved ones and with your doctor.

I encourage you to watch Dr. Rob’s TEDx talk. Make discussions about end-of-life an important part of life rather than something to fear. I'm here if you want to talk.

Opening to Grief

finding your way from loss to peace

Claire B. Willis

Marnie Crawford Samuelson

I just finished reading this slim volume this morning. I’ve been reading it for weeks, just a few pages a day because I am savoring each time I enter the world created by this writing.

Honestly, I can’t remember how I found this book. While one of the authors is a sister sangha member, that is not how I came to it. My best guess is that I found it browsing in a bookstore in a small town in western Massachusetts or the Hudson Valley of New York.

What do I love about the book and my experience with it? I enjoy sinking into the poetry at the beginning of each chapter, the real and relatable stories, references to other sources, and the great variety of suggestions and practices shared to work with our grief and loss, in essence, the tangible support on our individual journeys of healing.

While I have finished the body of the book, I have a few early mornings ahead of me to discover the resources listed in part four/for inspiration and the notes—I can’t wait until tomorrow to begin!

This book has inspired me to reach out to Claire and suggest that we become partners… I will begin to offer workshops to bereavement groups in which I teach people to draw and use their new skills to share where they are, what they’re thinking and feeling, what they hope for, or any subject that will bring them comfort.

If you have used writing, drawing, or other forms of expression (songwriting, dance, or more), I would love to talk with you. Please reach out to me.

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