My favourite word this week is, ‘essential’.

When my children were younger, and I was a harried multitasking family carer, I was a mum notorious for throwing away things. My children would hastily  ‘put away’ their numerous possessions, out of my sight, so that it did not end up in the donation or trash bag. My girlfriends chortled and thought it was an ingenious strategy to get the children to keep their rooms tidy. My husband even once said in jest, ‘Since you like to throw away things so, why don’t you throw me out too?’

Recently, related to what he had said, I turned to my husband and quietly stated, “I won’t, because you are an ‘essential’.

Perhaps I had been speaking to too many elderly people in the community. Or I had been visiting too many older patients in a hospital setting and I had been thinking about death quite a bit. But I wanted to tell my husband he was important to me and that we should discuss how we can ‘depart together’. So in some way, the ’till death do us part’ in our marriage vows does not seem so true anymore! After a short conversation, we decided how our ashes were to be managed, together, after our passing on.

Still on the topic of death, how our children deal with our possessions after we pass on – that is also an ‘essential’ to me. I would like to know we had time to manage our possessions while we are alive and thereafter after we pass on,  they will not be burdened with such hardheaded decisions.

As it is, the grieving process already forms a bulk of postpartum death matters and our dear ones should be given that time and space to simply grieve.

In my living quarters, as I get older, I also only want ‘essentials’. I would like to be surrounded with objects that serve to ease my daily living and of course, other things that fill me spiritually, that remind me of a distant memory that still makes me feel happy. Such a living environment allows me to focus on moments and savour relationships that allow me to be me.

Therefore, realising what is essential in one’s life clarifies intents and priorities daily. This is an  ‘essential’ to living a mortal life well.