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 live so you’ll have fewer regrets, is a gift.

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
  • Shampoo
  • My computer and iPhone
  • That I don’t really look like I do on Apple Facetime
  • Pizza
  • 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 discusses how working with death and grief gives her greater appreciation for life. She is available for private consultations, in addition to a wide variety of other offerings.

This article was originally published by The Moderate Voice.

Practically Dying

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