Exit: The Life and Death Planner deals with organizing documents, making end-of-life plans, and putting one’s affairs in order. Although we don’t discuss the topic of decluttering, that too is a way of literally putting one’s house in order.
Last month, Laura read the memoir They Left Us Everything, by Plum Johnson. It’s about a woman whose parents die and leave her with the task of emptying and selling the 4,000 square foot family house where she and all her siblings were raised. As you can imagine, there were decades of stuff to sort through. The book follows this woman’s journey through the sorting process, where old memories are revived and secrets are discovered. Of course, the process also involves a time of mourning and recovery (it takes her 6 months). It’s a lot of work, and not everyone has the luxury of spending 6 months to empty out their parents’ home. In the end, Johnson appreciates having had the time to go through what her mom didn’t sort out, but she also appreciates the fact that her mom left a will that indicated who should receive the most precious items. Johnson distributed the other household belongings by recording them and then inviting the children to spend a day each, selecting items they would want to keep.
Laura enjoyed the book, and thought that the tasks of the Exit planner and Johnson’s sorting are interwoven. Also, Laura understood the heartache of having both parents die within a short time and having to clear out the family home. It is a very special time, not to be rushed if possible, but pre-arranging some of the sorting and documentation makes it easier on the survivors. Having Exit: The Life and Death Planner does help solve a lot of frustration.