Earlier in the week I was at the nail salon treating my hard-working funeral director hands to
some tenderness. I could see the lady in the chair alongside mine peering over at my nails
and commenting how she wished she could have long ones like that as well. She noted that I
must not work in a secretarial role, to which I replied that I'm a funeral director which
entails a lot of typing, but that I'm happy to maneuverer around the nails because they're
Upon learning what I do for work, she commented that the reason her nails are chipped and
broken is that she has been packing away the contents of her father-in-law's final home
after his passing.
We talked briefly about how difficult it is to undertake that task and that the decision
making is a challenge. We can feel bad for discarding belongings of a loved one, but we can't
keep everything that we stumble upon through this process either.
She said that she packed him up from the family home 10 years ago, then the retirement
home three years ago and the nursing home was his final place of residence, each time
culling more and more of his personal items and belongings. Upon describing this she said
that she felt sad that the sum of a life could be bundled up into just a few small boxes of
possessions and nothing more.
It was then that I made the comment that perhaps that's okay. That perhaps a life isn't
summed up by possessions at all and that the lack of them is perfect when considering what
the purpose of a life truly is.
She stopped. She considered this and whole-heartedly agreed. I could see that she had
never considered this as a possibility before and it appeared to offer her a sense of freedom.
Perhaps that's the illusive grace we talk about in death. That after a whole life, we are
fortunate enough to have been born and to exit in much the same fashion. We arrive earth-
side naked, possession-less and ready to absorb and learn. We leave filled with knowledge,
experience, having loved and having been loved. Possessions have little place in that, and
that's a freeing concept.
"If you love a flower, don't pick it up. Because if you pick it up it dies and it ceases to be what
you love. So if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about possession. Love is about
appreciation." Osho [Chandra Mohan Jain]