There are poignant “life stories” found in the move coordination projects I accept. My clients are generally very private, and yet there is a universal, human thread which runs through each of these experiences. I often have little nuggets I like to share: tidbits of helpful info, moving tips, stories, and the like. Some months, I will include several mini-stories in one blog; things I think you might like to hear about.
Because I have deep respect for my clients and their privacy, some of the details below may have been slightly modified.
Augusts’ Adventures in Move Coordination
August 13, 2013 – I could write for six months on the lessons learned from my client’s manner of dying. And I might. We organized her beautiful home in May and June since she wanted every closet and every drawer to contain just what she loved, appreciated and needed. Super organized, which meant ease and peace for the rest of her life. In July she calls saying she needs me and my team to work for 3 or so days. I said “Not a chance, we made your home perfect, what is wrong?” Just diagnosed with adult acute leukemia, she had only months to live. Turned out to be weeks.
“How can I help?” I have never witnessed anyone turn so quickly and completely from what she had just chosen as the possessions she loved and wanted to live with. She wanted to die with nothing. Sharon, Courtney and I sat in the living room with her, listening quietly. She wanted to leave no problems for her friends and family so wanted us to pack and remove everything from the insides of her home, leaving the peace and beauty of the rooms intact for her to enjoy. This is the first time I had received this request. The next few days were a gift to us, to be the only folks with her all day, talking about life and love, packing and gently removing the contents of the home. Laughing with her, crying in the closet where she couldn’t see us. She signed a letter to me authorizing me to dispense her possessions. It all went to my garage. And she died only days later. I miss her.
What to do with a garage of some other person’s life? A person who wanted to die privately. It took me months to figure it out. I had Alexiadis Appraisals come and do an official, written appraisal of all the items – kitchen, stemware, jewelry, an incredible wardrobe and purses and shoes, and object d’art and that was given to her CPA. Then we donated the lot to the White Elephant sale of the Oakland Museum where they were gratefully accepted and generated quite a bit of income for the museum. She would have loved that.
Me, if I were dying, being a double Leo extrovert, would have 2 king size beds set up in my living room, the wine cabinet filled, the sound system enhanced and full of good choices & my sentimental favorites, my friends and family lolling and talking and telling stories. I would want them to know how much I needed and loved them. I would want it to be a party. Celebrate with me when I can enjoy it. I have my own affairs to put in order – just in case. Could have been last year in that awful traffic accident. Didn’t happen, must have work to do.
August 28, 2013 – It seems impossible that one deceased Lady Senior could have that much stuff in one 800 square foot San Francisco apartment. And yet 10 hours later, SIX packers from the moving company, myself and Robert were still packing away, heads shaking, thinking “dang where did all this come from? Where was it stashed?”
Never underestimate the power of a family trapped by the accessibility of pretty things, antiques, memorabilia, strong (and weak) to just trap everyone into keeping everything.
August 29, 2013 – “Eat more chocolate cake” was the response from the resident who asked me who I was moving out of the community i.e. who had died. I chuckled in appreciation and then as it sank in I repeated it, “eat more chocolate cake”. Because all things considered, especially the recent death of my client Nancy (3wks from leukemia she thankfully didn’t even know she had), I shall eat more chocolate cake. And say “Yes” to life, to all good invitations.
Life truly is too short, but not in the way we think of time. In that heartbreaking “what if” kind of way. We live longer than our biological self can stand easily… Say Yes, TODAY!
Photo Credit: A special thank you to Foodess for their recipe for Moist Chocolate Cake and sharing of their tasty photo – Written by Jennifer Pallian and recipe by Jennifer Hill. Let’s all take my client up on her wonderful advice!