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Posted by on Dec 13, 2016 in Inspiration and Living | 8 comments

Living and Death: Thanks for everything (Guest Voice)


Thanks for everything
by Kim Mooney

My field is working with death and grief. “Isn’t it morbid?,” people ask at parties. “Aren’t you sad all the time?” All the time, no. When I’m living through a personal loss, yes, it’s sadder than anyone else can imagine. But between my own terrible losses, I have life, amazing moments, humbling sights, a planet worth protecting, a hunger for truth, and the full, precious feeling of love in my heart. How do those things go together with death?

Well, ‘morbid’ is a personal interpretation. It could also be said that death is profound, a release from suffering, a journey, The Unknown, the enemy, a contemplation, frightening, going home, mysterious, or The Last Great Adventure, depending on your disposition and where you are in your life.

To me, sitting here in a healthy body, considering death gives me the gift of time. I have time to contemplate what it will be like when I have to leave behind all the things I love. Is that morbid, no. It will be extraordinarily sad, if I project ahead. But what if I don’t? What if I sit here and really really deeply look into the eyes of those I love and tell them? What if I refuse to waste a minute of time being careless? What if I do all the things I really want to do, small or grand? Will it stop me from dying? No, but I’ll have fewer regrets about how I lived. And that is no small gift.

So, if it’s just too hard to sit down to coffee with Death and negotiate your situation, try spending one minute every day jotting down things you are grateful for or in love with. For me it has the double effect of reminding me how much I have and reminding me how good that feels. We have so many things each day to see as blessings and nothing, ever, that we should take for granted. Here are 44 things that I loved last week.

My perfectly imperfect husband

That my dog loved me

The miracle of hot water coming out of a faucet right inside my house

Trusting that after all these years, I can get through anything

Laughing inappropriately

My fearless and amazing friends

Tasting Velveeta and having my whole childhood spring up before me

Never having to taste Velveeta again

Smoked salt

Quiet mist over McIntosh Lake at sunrise

Every sunset

A broken bathroom scale

That haircuts grow out

Irish butter

Tomatoes and lettuce from my own garden

Color and light

Jeff’s hot homemade jalapeno cornbread

The shape of tulips


My computer and iPhone

That I don’t really look like I do on Apple Facetime


A robust Cabernet

Brie with anything layered in it. Figs. Garlic. Dirt. I don’t care.

My own washer and dryer

The smell of balsam fir

Little Drummer Boy

Being able to cry deeply and then let it pass

Clean sheets and heavy blankets

Having enough food

Long distance telephone

A friend who will poke me right before I start snoring in the theater

Having a friend who can’t stop laughing when I poke her back

Remembering my parents every day

Reframing “The Early Bird Special” as “Happy Hour”

Waking up in the morning without an alarm clock

Hearing coyotes and owls outside my window at night

Being able to breathe with no effort

Being able to turn off the news when I need to

Watching little kids do the happy dance

Evaporative cookers

Feeling safe when I’m walking in my neighborhood

My work

Remembering that every day could be my last and filling it as much as I can with love and glee

So, what were the three best things that happened to you today?

Kim Mooney has worked over two decades as a certified Thanatologist (student of death) in the field of dying, death, and grief with hospices and a variety of different communities. Through her company, Practically Dying, LLC, she provides consultations, workshops, presentations and advance care planning, with a view toward remembering that everything we learn about death teaches us how to live every precious day our lives more fully. And she’s still fun at parties. Facebook page Practically Dying

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Copyright 2016 The Moderate Voice
  • Dorian de Wind, Military Affairs Columnist

    Beautiful! And not “morbid” at all. Thank you and come back.

  • JSpencer

    Wonderful perspective! Thanks….

  • dduck

    “So, what were the three best things that happened to you today?”
    Reading your sweet piece.
    Being able to laugh at losing my keys yesterday- AFTER my wife found them.
    Being able to afford to buy toilet paper that doesn’t shred.

    • Robert P. Coutinho

      Well…yesterday, I guess,

      1) being able to be treated at a hospital after falling on an icy driveway and hitting my head.

      2) My wife coming to the hospital to get me

      3) Ice packs!!!

  • jdledell

    Kim – Thank You for reminding us not to waste any precious minutes of Life on trivial things and issues. I needed that today.

  • Brownies girl

    Oh KM, what a wonderful post! Out of so many great things that happened today, I’ll try and pick three:

    The low grey/white clouds scudding from north/west to south/east over the lake, moving so quickly and the sun periodically finding holes to shine through onto the choppy waves.

    Facing into that north/west wind and feeling the tough little beads of snow hit my face and make it tingle with the cold, knowing I’m alive to experience this at least one time more.

    The beautiful trumpeter swans floating out in the water, diving for food, surrounded by hundreds of pintails and buffleheads that have flown down from Hudson Bay for the winter.

    And one more – home to warmth, bacon and eggs and toast and time to read the paper and listen to wonderful CBC radio. I am truly blessed!

    Please post again, Kim — you lifted my heart today! hugs from BG

  • Shannon Lee

    thank you for this 🙂

    I woke up at 2am because of jet lag….’cause I just spent a week in Los Angeles.

  • Dorian de Wind, Military Affairs Columnist

    So, what were the three best things that happened to you today?

    “today” being when this piece was posted and today, Dec 14:

    1. Reading and loving Kim’s beautiful article.

    2. Wishing my wife one more Happy Birthday

    3. Smiling at dduck’s comments and attempting his “hot blood” challenge. 🙂

    Happy Holidays y’all!

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