2019 has not been kind to me in terms of losing loved ones and friends. It’s been a hard couple of months, but it’s also been an incredible time of growth and discovery.
With all of this discovery, I wanted to share some of the lessons I’ve learned about death cleaning and how important it really can be based on the experiences of some of my friends and family.
Cleaning out can be therapeutic…
It’s not always good to throw out everything before you pass away. It’s important to keep the emotions of friends and family before you toss things that you assume they don’t want. One of my friends who lost her dad told me that cleaning out his desk was one of the most emotionally cleansing times after his passing. The memories connected to the items inside, from the sentimental things such as pictures she used to draw him, to the more “every day”, like CD-ROMS of games he used to play, were all helpful in the grieving process. A key point I forgot to highlight in my initial article was the importance of communicating with your loved ones; don’t just throw away without talking about things first.
…but also tedious.
Another friend I chatted with mentioned that cleaning out her loved one’s old documents was boring and actually made her grief more present. This part of the Death Cleaning method is more important than many might think, and I think this example shows that clearly; don’t leave burdens, or secrets to be uncovered behind, and documents like outdated tax info and old medical records can lead to those things.
Live before you die.
Swedish death cleaning is supposed to be done by everyone, regardless of age, health or precaution. Because of this, it’s easy to fall into a trap of not living in fear of being overwhelming when you pass away. Swedish Death Cleaning is an imperfect method; it doesn’t work for everyone in every aspect. Things happen, and life needs to happen for things TO happen! One thing that has struck me in all of the losses experienced is that each loved one lived a life that was worth the hassle of cleaning out the monotonous aftermath. Swedish Death Cleaning shouldn’t stop you from collecting memories, even in the form of items – it should just make it so your life well lived is in sharper focus.