Posted by: sara | December 3rd, 2021
During October and November, a 3-stage creative journey was sponsored by the Natural Deathcare Collaborative. The intent was to decorate a symbolic vessel (small coffin or box) to honor a loss, memorialize a loved one, contemplate life and/or serve as a "death hope chest" to store keepsakes, planning documents or related items within.
I absolutely loved this idea! I had held my own mini-coffin decorating workshop so thought of expanding my horizons, going bigger. Hank and I already had all our end-of-life documents neatly tucked away in an accordion file purchased from Office Depot. It's kept on our bookshelves in the den (I love to point this out to people to gauge the shock value!?). But I thought it would be fun to get a vintage suitcase (for our "last great journey!") and use this as a unique receptacle for our documents.
Boy howdy. Have you ever gone on a hunt for a vintage suitcase?!? We have a wonderful antique mall nearby, so we spent a couple of hours rolling a long cart up and down about a million aisles. I ended up with FOURTEEN vintage pieces of luggage, and finally Hank said to please make up my mind! I chose one that was sturdy, leather trimmed, and just the perfect size.
The leaders and participants in the workshop thought my idea was clever and were enthusiastic! Heather said I inspired her to go to her attic and retrieve some vintage suitcases she had forgotten about! So now...how would I put my ideas for "trimming the trunk" into action??
Pat Scheible, Artist Extraordinaire as well as Shroudmaker, can never say no when she has the opportunity to unleash her creativity! And thank the Good Lord for that. "I'm going to email you some vintage luggage labels. Just print them out and I'll come over!" How she embellished them is simply remarkable. We added a realistic manifest (birthdates as "Arrivals" and only question marks for "Departures!!").
Moral of the story: get all your end-of-life and advanced directive documents done while you have your mind AND the time. That's the point: you do them in advance AND you are very direct with your wishes! This is the biggest gift you can ever give your family, believe me. Happy Holidays! Happy Trails!!