Early new year catchup
It has been a busy and sometimes challenging time over the holiday break, and I want to fill everyone in on what's happened as well as what is coming up for 2021.
Part of the reason you haven't heard much from me is because I needed some personal time to process an unexpected death.
As discussed in an earlier post, Cully and I moved down to Tasmania at the beginning of December and we love it here. The temperatures are cooler, the streets are less crowded, and life - like the air - tastes a bit sweeter than it did up north. We are grateful to have a home together, and even though Hubs couldn't join us immediately we settled in reasonably quickly. On our way down to the Spirit of Tasmania to cross with the car and the cold plate (yes, I am a dedicated end of life practitioner and travel with my cold plate!) we stopped in for lunch with a very dear friend named Mark who lives in Melbourne. Mark lived quietly and with ongoing rehabilitation needs, so I was not concerned about COVID as I was coming from a safe area and Mark had little contact with the outside world. We shared a delightful lunch, laughed a great deal, told each other we loved each other several times, and made plans for him to visit us in Tasmania when travel was safer in general.
A few days later my darling friend died unexpectedly. Don't ever let anyone who works at end of life try and snow you that we are somehow magically inured to death, or unaffected when it touches our lives personally - while I do not lose my stuff when clients die (I may cry and grieve, but this is private and personal and not my place when I am working with a family) I am in need of serious self-care when someone I know and love dies. Mark was an incredibly close friend - he was one of 12 people who witnessed my marriage, and we had a wonderful friendship. We helped keep each other honest, and we offered each other respectful communication and good support. I miss him being in my life.
Part of the reason you haven't heard from me lately is because I took some time over the holiday break to feel the exhaustion of moving.
This included having to deal with the nightmare job of 'packing' - to bend the term to it's limits of definition - by a so-called professional team that meant it took me two weeks to actually find my computer and get back online in an effective way. This was compounded by trying to find kitchen items in a sea of badly thrown-together boxes with incredibly vague labels. The sorting process was awful, and took far more time and energy than I thought I would need to dedicate to the move. Moving house is the second biggest stressor to the human organism after the death of a spouse or partner, by the way, so I was expecting some stress, but this was ridiculous. Rather than being able to leave boxes in the extra room as planned, I have had to open well over a hundred of them, sort through, repack, re-seal and re-label then re-stack them. Knackered does not even begin to describe how I feel after this process. Happily, I have found enough to be able to simply get on with the day-to-dayness of our new routine with Cully, and I am not looking into this room at all if I can help it!
Part of the reason you haven't heard from me lately is I found our forever home slightly ahead of anticipated schedule, for which I am overwhelmingly grateful and happy.
It is sheer luck that I happened to see a Facebook post about a property that hadn't even hit the market yet, had time to drive out on Saturday after we had only arrived Wednesday morning, and was able to meet with and speak to the owners in person. An agreement to purchase was arranged pretty much in the following 24 hours, a contract was drawn up, signed, and we move into our 'proper' home in the Meander Valley area late February.
We are moving to the part of Tasmania we really want to be in, and although I am incredibly tired, I am thrilled that the current owners like us and trust us to carry on their vision of the property. It has been beautifully fenced, lovingly and thoughtfully landscaped, and a generous, deep pond was personally dug by one of the owners herself - we inherit two platypus and many frogs, which delights me no end. When I have a difficult day at work, when I need to process something a client has shared with me that was hard for them, or when there has been a death I can walk the property, take in the beauty and serenity, and practice healing self-care. I am both happy and grateful that this will be our home. (This is an older photo, just so you know. There are many, many roses planted along the front of the verandah now, and the gardens are lovely.)
In the end, most of the reasons that you haven't heard too much from me is that I needed a bit of time just to recharge my batteries. Thank you for your patience and understanding while I was away. I appreciate you.
As for 2021, I have big news.
Hubs arrives this Friday, which will be a happy time in our house.
My dandelion logo passed Trademark approval in Australia, and I am working on expanding this to some other countries.
The online training course will continue to roll out new components over the course of the year, and the discount still applies for some time yet. If you are interested in learning comprehensive and inclusive end of life professional practice then please click here.
I am the treasurer for both the Natural Death Advocacy Network and the newly-launched Australian Home Funeral Alliance - both of these peak bodies work towards advocacy and support for families and communities. Membership is open, see sites for information and options.
I look forward to writing to you, speaking with you, and - for some of you - supporting you to the best of my ability with your death literacy and end of life studies. Here's to a kind and compassionate 2021.