Death Cleaning

Death Cleaning

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning – Margareta Magnusson

“Many adult children do not want to talk about death with their parents.” Page 2.

Sums it nicely.

Death Cleaning

I have a t-shirt from a defunct motorcycle shop. At least two t-shirts like that. BMW of Ft. Worth, Quality Cycles, and Lone Star Yamaha, I think, still on hand. Questions poised in the first bit of the book questions my wisdom of keeping those, as they mean much to me, but heirs and assigns? Probably not so much.

Might be time to recycle?

Intriguing premise in the tiny text, as it is a slim volume of prose. Weighs in at a little more than a hundred pages.

In my own closet, I have two large tubs, sealed bins, filled with laundered, folded bandanas. For me, these are professional attire, and there are some seasonal items, like Xmas, Halloween, and others. One of the original bandanas that shaped this fashion, again for me, is a pink one, filled out with grinning death skulls. A tad weird, a little strange, and perfect for the fall season. Or anytime, really.

There might be a few I could toss, but really? I will use them, throughout the seasons, for my foreseeable future.

“Many adult children worry about the amount of possessions their parents have amassed through the years.” Page 32.

Yes, it can be a burden.

“Have you noticed that many people find more pleasure in organizing their stuff than actually using their stuff?” Page 67.

In reference to her (the book’s author) deceased husband’s workshop in the garage. We call it a “Man Cave” now. Or office. Made me wonder, but I have a firm —internal rule leftover from a trailer in South Austin — no books that are unread. My personal library is meant to be read and enjoyed.

Not entirely true, my father passed on to me a set of Shakespeare’s works, gloriously bound, and all I use them for are images.

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning – Margareta Magnusson

The book is akin to poetry about dying, death, and grieving. Then, too, as a primer, it points to gentle but practical steps in dealing with the onerous burden of modern life.

One grandfather left behind a wood workshop, neatly organized, and prolifically packed with all manner of goods and raw materials for building a future. Eventually, that workshop was dismantled, and to this day, parts of the equipment live on, having been passed onto those who know and love working.

In part, that’s some of the message of the book. My tidy hard bound copy goes immediately to my mother, with a timeline to get it out to my sister, soon.

Death Cleaning

Reminds me of a requiem — for a cat. My original plan for that cat was to give her a Viking burial, and launch her into Austin’s Town Lake on a tiny burning barge. Probably would’ve caused problems in modern day Austin.

The book and its author are Nordic, so the idea of the Viking Burial, sending all of one’s stuff with the body? Not such a bad idea, either.

But Eliot might’ve summed it up best, in his epic poem, “The Waste Land.”

“But at my back in a cold blast I hear
The rattle of bones, and chuckle spread from ear to ear.”

    The T.S.Eliot quote and its antecedent, might be a bit of stretch.

Death Cleaning

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning – Margareta Magnusson


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  • Aperture: ƒ/1.8
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  • Location: 29° 35′ 47.39″ N 98° 28′ 13.52″ W
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