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Blog: Clutter-Free Forever

SEPTEMBER -- PROACTIVE ORGANIZING As Americans we do not like to talk about death especially our own. I contrast that attitude with one of my Grandmother who died in 1971 after living a long and very happy life till she was 84. I had just come back to the US from Beirut, Lebanon where I had been teaching at the American University. I loved being there and absorbing the culture but when Israeli jets started flying over Beirut and we were told to pack two suitcases that we could carry. My thoughts of returning home seemed more attractive. I have always been very close to my Grandparents, so I went to spend time with my Grandmother. I didn't know that she had sold her home to my cousin with the understanding that she was going to live in the house till she died but when she did my cousin's family could take over the house and pay a sum each month to each of my Grandmother's four children. She told me that we had an important task to accomplish. I wasn't sure what she meant. So I asked what she wanted me to do? She gave me a yellow legal pad and opened the china closet. See this hand painted tea set; your Mom always loved drinking tea with me using this. So I want you to write her name on one sheet and begin listing the teapot. We continued with a page for each of her children my Aunts and Uncle. For my Uncle Phil it was all my grandfather's tools, For my Aunt Sophia a ruby ring. For My Aunt Catherine the silver and so it went we listed almost all the things of value in each room. I resisted at first. The thought of being alive with out my grandmother to go and see made me cry. She wisely said, " Don't cry. I have had a very good life, and now my job is done so I want to pack my bags for my last trip. She told me my Grandfather had come to her often in her dreams asking her to come join him in Heaven. He died in 1964, and she said she kept telling him she wasn't ready yet. However, now she was looking forward to another phase of her life. One where her aging body and arthritic knees wouldn't bother her; one where she could once again be free of the limitations of earth, and be able to sore. I slowly changed my mind about the possibility of loosing her. So each day we added more to the list. After two weeks we were finished. We also cleared out old letters and papers. I took clothes to Good Will along with excess pot and pans. Then one Friday she said, " Perhaps it is time for you to go to your Mom's house. I'm sure she'll want to spend time with you before you begin to work again. I reluctantly did as she said. That Saturday morning at 5AM she called her tow oldest children: My Aunt Catherine and my Uncle Phil. They called our family doctor and the priest. The doctor said, I think we shouldn't put her in a hospital; she's ready for death. The priest administered the sacraments. She was pleased. She said now I'm ready to join your father and closed her eyes and slowly stopped breathing. Of course her will had been carefully drawn and the list I had prepared made the task of dividing up her treasured possessions easy. All the rest of the furniture was given to the Salvation Army and my cousin and her growing family brought laughter to the home once more. I hope this story gives you some idea of how to approach your own death. Recently, I made my own list before going in for major surgery. It was a comfort to me to know that my family members would have the treasure I feel they would most enjoy. If you haven't drawn up your will please do it today. ccfld9/11/08

posted on: 9/17/2008 8:00:00 AM by Frances D'Amato
category: Clutter

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Clutter-Free Forever

by Frances D'Amato

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About Frances:

Frances L. D'Amato, M.A. M.Ed. is an Organizational Psychologist as well as a working artist. She founded the Tree Group in 1981 and has been helping Organizations reduce clutter and streamline systems for more efficient management. About ten years ago she expanded her focus to include individuals who work at home and then individuals who need help decluttering their homes. Frances works with the individual to discover the meaning of clutter and develops a process to allow people to let go and live in a more clutter and stress free environment.

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