My neighbor is dying and ‘death decluttering’

Our neighbor is dying. She has stage 4 Ovarian cancer and has survived for almost 4 years but now things have taken a turn for the worst. She’s 2 years older than me or B’s age 67.  She was a kindergarten teacher and hadn’t planned to retire but once diagnosed she did. After a rigorous regimen of chemotherapy, she was in a partial remission and the tumors had shrunk. Then she took a year of alternative therapy with juicing, became vegan and gluten-free. She maintained that till just this year. Then she got into a clinical trial at Stanford and it was really working, of course, until it stops working and then you have to leave the trial.  She didn’t want to do any more chemo as the quality of life over quantity was so important.  So she has had this past year chemo free and started to enjoy all foods again even coffee.

Our neighbor was an avid horsewoman and sports enthusiastic. But with this last year, she started the ‘death decluttering’.  She sold her horse, trailer, truck, all horse equipment, and even his shelter. She sold her kayak, canoe, bikes, and so much more.  She has understood the ‘death decluttering’  very well. She doesn’t want to burden her husband or her two adult children. It’s a brave thing she is doing.  She has a large support group( whereas I have no ‘girlfriends’ as such) and they are rallying around her. It’s a wonderful thing.

Death comes to us all one way or another so we must really look to each day as an opportunity to live fully but also, realizing NOW is the time to do the’death decluttering’.

Take some time in your life to get rid of things that are burdensome, so those left behind don’t have to wade thru piles of stuff.

Recently, I gave away some old family books that I had put in a bin. These books were over a hundred years old and belonged to B’s grandmother.  He never knew her and they were just musty old books his mother sent to him one year. B did not have a good relationship with his mother(overall), and she certainly didn’t like me and only met her granddaughter a few times and never met her grandson. One year when my son was about 1, she said she had the choice to go to Iceland or visit with us to see Z and our daughter. Well, she chose Iceland and died never meeting her grandson.  So recently, I was thinking about these connections and books and thought, ‘why am I keeping these books out of some obligation”?  So after taking them to the ASPCA bookstore, I felt a huge relief. It was freeing.

So try it. Start the ‘death decluttering’.

The link is for the new book coming out in January on this” The Gentle art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter”

2 thoughts on “My neighbor is dying and ‘death decluttering’

  1. I recently read an article on my Facebook feed about Death Decluttering. I’m into decluttering just because I like open spaces and want things to be easy to clean. I have written down many book ideas from your blog, now I’ll give you one, “Year of No Clutter” by Eve Schaub. I think she is hilarious and insightful as she spends a year cleaning out her “hell room”.

    • I can’t wait to check it out. I love getting inspired by other peoples stories. I love open space too:) well as much as our under 900 sq ft house can give us:)

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