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The Mortality Club

Death and Clutter

As I relate in Widow’s Walk: A Personal Journey through Loss, Fear, Anger and Love, I was widowed at the age of thirty-four when my husband’s damanged heart stopped beating. For the next year, I fluctuated on an almost daily basis between being certain I could deal with the immense challenges that my young family, and a castaway caught in a bog of despair. My emotions were raw, shifting from fear to anger to grief. One moment I was confident; the next, despairing. I tried to bolster my confidence and stay out of the grips of despair by reasserting control over an otherwise chaotic life. That took the form of creating endless to do lists, and then foricng myself to complete them even when, or especially when, the natural flow of events suggested I should put my attention elsewhere. Central on those lists was the de-cluttering of my spaces. Read More 
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Easing the Fear of Dying: Imagining the Good Death

I have just finished reading a remarkable book; so remarkable that I gave it a five star review on Amazon and Goodreads. I rarely give five star ratings to anything. I believe if we have to be stuck in this morass of peer review (as opposed to expert review), then at least we can maintain high standards. Katie Roiphe’s exploration of great writers at the end of their lives deserves all five stars. The Violet Hour evokes and provokes. It disturbs even as it soothes. It talks about the author’s decades-long attempt to get comfortable with the thought of dying. She concludes that the best we can do is to “get along with the fear.” 1

I believe it helps to “get along with the fear” by imaging a good death. My idea of a good death is lying in my bed, closing my eyes, and imagining myself on a white raft that is slowly moving further out onto an immense body of deep blue, calm water. I imagine myself floating forever. In short, my vision of a good death is dying in my sleep.  Read More 
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