Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom ~ Life after Death



Last week, our dog Tucker had to be put to sleep. We’d had Tucker for 9 years, and over the past year, he had steadily lost control of his hind legs, until, in his final days, he was only able to drag himself around on his hip.

Even a dog leaves things behind when he leaves this world: 3 dog beds (one for each of his favorite rooms), a collar with tags, medications, a contact lens from eye surgery he had several years ago (we kept it in case he had to have the same surgery on his other eye), a leash, a food bowl, and enough shed hair to knit a sock.

We all will die, and no one knows the time. What are you leaving behind for others to clean up, sort, and dispose of when you are no longer here to do those things yourself? Is that how you want to be remembered? Is that the burden you want to leave for your family and friends during their time of grief? If not, start taking care of your excess today.


Tucker on his final day.

Tucker on his final day.

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter two toiletry or beauty items. 

Eco Tip For The Day

Only put enough water in your kettle for the reason you are boiling it. More water takes longer to heat using more electricity. What isn’t used just goes cold again.

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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  1. awww, so sorry for your loss. We would be just fine if we all left behind as little as Tucker. Hope you hang on to those dog beds and adopt a new friend after you have grieved for your old one.

  2. So sorry for your lost. I know someone who never wanted another dog after their first dog died.

  3. Cindy, I’m sorry. This is so hard. My husband still will not let me get rid of anything from our previous feline friend and that was 2007. We have a tote with her cat bed and toys in it. It doesn’t take up a whole lot of space and it makes him happy that we have it.

    I hope to keep reducing the amount of clutter we have in our home. I’d like to get it down to our most cherished and useful items and not so blasted much stuff. We have no children so I’m not sure who would end up going through our stuff. I guess a trusted friend. It wouldn’t be too cool to leave a big mess for someone else to clean up. I’d better get busy!

  4. Sorry to hear about your dog. I had to go through all my dad’s stuff when he died and it was a nightmare. I will never do that to my kids.

  5. Cindy I am sorry about Tucker.

  6. Sorry about Tucker. It’s rough. Good way to segue into the need for humans to get rid of stuff before they pass.

  7. Hi Cindy! Sorry about your loss. It is hard to lose a canine friend. I have had many thoughts about what I want to leave behind and it has made especially ruthless in my decluttering. We can´t replace an old friend (I always thought as my dogs as friends), but I hope that when your family is ready you can adopt a new pet.

    • Andreia – our original pet cat got old and couldn’t look after herself anymore, so after delaying and delaying the decision Adrian finally decided the time had come and took her off to the vet and had her put to sleep. What he overlooked was that it was my birthday.

      • Oh Moni! Men can be so insensitive! I am sorry for you. My dog died in a day in July 2009, and I don’t remember the date and it had no connection whatsoever with any meaningful date to any of us. It just the horrible day I lost my dog. So I forgot the date.

        • Andreia – LOL – he looked so gutted when he realised it was my birthday. He’d gotten up and Puss the Cat (original I know) just wasn’t interested in getting out of her basket for breakfast, and when he carried her to her food bowl, she was hurting and he so he rang the vet clinic straight away. We’d known it was coming. It would have been nice if it hadn’t been my birthday that particular day but I’m glad that he made the decision and took her himself, that would have been too hard for me. Alas, everytime my birthday comes around the kids instantly recall it is the day Puss died so I have to remind them I had prior claim on the date.

  8. Long time reader, first time poster.

    I’m terribly sorry to hear about your dog. It is always hard when you have to let an animal go.

  9. Cindy,

    I am so very sorry to hear about Tucker. You all are in my thoughts and prayers – this is a hard one. He was such a great dog.


  10. Hi Cindy, I am so sorry to hear about Tucker. I know what wonderful pet owners you are and that Tucker will be sadly missed. Give my love and sympathy to Dan and the girls as well.

  11. I am so sorry about Tucker. That is a lovely picture of him.

  12. Cindy I’m so sorry about Tucker. Pets are like children with fur and losing them is really devastating however I’m sure you gave him the best life that he could have had. As you said we are all going to die one day and we could learn a lesson from him about what we leave behind so thanks for the reminder.
    I’ve always had less desire to accumulate than my husband but we still managed to gather plenty of stuff after two children and years of marriage. The turning point for my husband came when we had to deal with the belongings of both sets of parents and an aunt and I asked him if he wanted our children to have the same experience. He’s been on the de-cluttering journey with me ever since.

  13. Truly my greatest motivator … always was, still is. I don’t want to burden anyone – kids, parents, spouse – with sorting through stuff just because I wouldn’t do it.

    I’m so sorry about your furry friend. It’s hard on the whole family. I read something after the death of my first pet in adulthood (I was at university when my childhood pets died, so it was my parents who had to deal with those). The advice was to think about helping a pet to die well as the last kindness an owner can do for their pet.

    • sorry – hit the post button too soon …

      I was going to add that this way of looking at the end-of-life decisions made it easier to get another pet despite the sadness I knew would come some day. Hope your girls are doing okay.

  14. I have been thinking about the burden of leaving stuff to your/my loved ones. Nobody likes cleaning up after other people. Its a reoccuring lesson from parents to children, to tidy up after oneself and keep their bedroom in order. Yet, at the other end of life, its perceived to be acceptable to leave behind a house lot to be gone through piece by piece and a life time of stuff to be sorted through. My masterplan is to leave things as simple and streamlined as possible, anything I believe to be of monetary value to be documented with a valuation so it is all clear cut and anything I believe has sentimental value to be listed but with alternative and acceptable options should none of my descendants wish to own the item.

  15. Feeling at one with you, Cindy. We are currently very down due to a loss in our family. Ours was unexpected and an immediate family member. It is amazing how physical the pain is! And how your whole body suffers, is exhausted, from the sadness.

    But on the up moments I think, “Oh, what will we keep as a momento?” I know my husband will want to keep every item: “Oh, I remember that thing.” But then he doesn’t honour the momentos. They are just junked together. Put in bags. Stuffed in drawers. Piled on top of one another. So the memory is not easily accessed. And the person is not cherished. What is thought is that there is a lot of mess to tidy up.

    How to show my husband we can keep items in a way which helps us sustain our memories and avoid mess! This is the question.

  16. Cindy, I’m so sorry for your loss. It does make me think about what I want to leave behind for my family to deal with. More motivation to keep only cherished, loved, and used things.

  17. His body is gone, but he will always be there. Rest in Power, big boy.
    I don’t want to be married and/or to have children. So my things will have to be dealt with by my parents or friends. I don’t have a lot, most are things I cherish. Sometimes, you keep things you don’t like but with sentimental value, and at times those things can even give you a negative feeling. I think that we leave a certain essence on our stuff, and it’s better to leave happy/joyful one around our people. I’m getting rid of those few things that could enter into that category.

  18. It is amazing and wonderful that our dogs need so little beyond their people.

  19. My heart is breaking for you. Having put down many beloved pets, I know the grief. It will pass, and the best way to honor an old friend, is to one day save another and give them a wonderful family and home.