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Archive for September, 2008

Take your time with the belongings of the deceased. do not pressure yourself to “handle things” and do not let anyone else pressure you to “handle things”.
Touch everything you want to touch.
Acknowledge everything you want to acknowledge.
Remember everything you want to remember.
Treat it all with love and respect.
You are not just cleaning out a house, or a closet. You are being given the opportunity to walk through a life. Treat it with respect and love.
One friend of mine has yet to clean out her mother’s clothing and belongings a couple of years after-the-fact. She said she’ll go visit her dad and see a scarf or sweater or something else of her mother’s and take it home with her. She said she can feel her mother’s energy when she wears those things and it’s a little piece of her mother with her.
How beautiful.
Taking home little pieces like that has made the change smoother and a little easier for her.

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The hard-copy of “Do You Still Laugh? Do You Still Sing?” is currently being re-designed for e-book distribution and new hard copy.

If you would like to receive notification of publication, leave a comment in the comments section below. Or you can contact the author by email and she will put you on the list for advance notification. Email address: melindaaugustina AT yahoo DOT com

Thanks for your interest – we wish you peace in all of your relationships. 🙂
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Mother,
     We go through your things too quickly.  Thousands of objects in this house – big ones, little ones, your hands have touched them all.
     I learned recently that our hands and arms are part of the energy circuitry of our hearts.  That means your heart has also touched each of these objects.
     Everything feels so soft when I touch it.  It seems to have your love on it.  Everything and everywhere.  How do you do that?
     Everyone thinks I cry because you are gone – and that’s not it.  I cry because our expression of love seems so meager compared to yours.  Ours is so hard compared to your softness.  How will we ever learn?

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Elisabeth Kubler Ross gave the world a great gift in her life’s work.
I will repeat her five stages of grief here and I recommend you purchase her classic book
“On Death and Dying”
The Stages:
1) Denial – This isn’t happening.
2) Anger –  Why me/us?  It’s not fair.
3) Bargaining – Just a little more time.
4) Depression – Why bother with anything?
5) Acceptance – It’s going to be OK.
You may experience only 2 of these, or you may experience all 5.  They may go in order, and they may not.  You can read more about Elizabeth Kubler Ross’ work here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%BCbler-Ross_model
And you can purchase seriously discounted versions of the book here:
http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?an=Elizabeth+kubler+ross&sts=t&tn=on+death+and+dying&x=82&y=6
Or on Amazon her books are listed here:
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_b?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=elisabeth+kubler+ross&x=0&y=0

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Leave the bedroom and perhaps the desk of the deceased undisturbed for as long as you can.  You can feel their presence among those things for quite a while. 
     We invaded Mother’s room probably a little too early.  This was brought to my attention by my sister, Theresa.  She was right.  Mother’s shoes were where she had left them – some clothing, her hairbrush.  These things become very precious when you know they are exactly where your loved one left them.
     One friend left her husband’s clothes in his closet for almost 2 years, and didn’t move them until for practical reasons, she needed the closet for the way her new life was growing.

My mother, though, while trying to put on a brave face for her children, wanted to begin discarding things after less than 2 weeks. It was clear to me from the tones in her voice and the way her body language and words did not match what I saw on her face, that this was not what she wanted to do. It seemed rather to be what she “thought” she should do to show us her strength and how to carry on.

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When death arrives, do not be too strong.
There are many people who want to do things for you at this time.  Let them.
Let them do every little thing they desire to do.
And ask for assistance.
Ask for assistance with every little thing you have to do.
     I asked a long-time family friend to ride with me to the health-food store very late one night and she was pleased to do it.  It seems like such a simple thing – ride with me to the store – but we had time to talk privately in a way prior circumstances had never allowed. 
     Across the room, while sitting at the dining room table, a friend heard me say I wanted a soda, and “poof”, seconds later it was by my side.  (See?  A little piece of heaven.)

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When someone dies, stories and vignettes become very important. 
Tell stories and listen to the family tell stories.  If you recall an experience you shared with the person who has passed away and that experience warms your heart – share that story.
    When my father passed away, one of the neighbors from our grade school years, Mrs. Vogrin, told us a story of an Easter Sunday.   That Easter Sunday, my father proudly showed her his 5 little girls and said, “Come look at my little flowers!”  That is one of my favorite stories now and we never would have known that about my father if Mrs. Vogrin had not told that story.  
     Telling of stories is very important to lay down memory tracks in the brain.
     If you cannot speak it — write it. 
     If you cannot write it — ask someone else to write it for you.
     Every card and note works.  The hand written expression carries the love and energy of the person who sent it and there is magic in that. 
     We received a note from a man who had known my mother in high school.  He wrote the story that when he was feeling a little out of place in their huge high school she made friends with him, remembered his name and made him feel esteemed.  OVER FIFTY YEARS ater the fact, he remembered this.  That was a fabulous letter.   From that letter I know that none of our acts of kindness go unnoticed in the big picture.

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