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One Cardboard Box

Excerpt from Daily Cures, Wisdom for Healthy Aging by Connie Mason Michaelis

When my 95-year-old mother died, I learned a valuable lesson.  She was a beautiful lady with tremendous faith. If she could have written the script for her own passing, this would be the scenario. She lived independently and had a very short illness that took her life. My sisters and I were with her, and it was very peaceful.  But the real story was the journey of her last ten years. Mom was a fiercely independent woman. She had been widowed for many years and, out of necessity, became very strong-willed and, at times, downright stubborn.  My sisters and I knew that she needed to leave her house, but she dug in her heels for as long as possible. Finally, she made the decision (not easily and not without encouragement) to move out of her home, and for ten wonderful years, she lived in a retirement community. We were all so grateful.


As a family, we went through the tremendous job of cleaning, sorting, packing, moving, donating, and giving away.  She moved to a darling little independent living apartment.  We made a “nest” for her with all of her treasures and none of the junk. We called it her penthouse. She lived vibrantly, without the burden of homeownership, for the last ten years. It was as if the downsizing and de-cluttering opened her to a fresh start in life. She was safe, secure, and had the support of family, friends, and staff. She stayed active and involved with lots of socialization. When mom transitioned out of this world, we celebrated her life in grand style.  Because of Mother’s willingness and all of our hard work, we were left with 700 sq. feet of precious treasures to distribute. I came home with one cardboard box of memories. We had already done the hard work, and in the end, we could focus on her incredible life and each other.  


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