Experiencing Luxury–an activity for a caregiver and a dying person

Jillian Brasch | December 3rd, 2010



I’m taking a 12-week Artist’s Way class with Julia Cameron. One of our assignments this week is to spend $5 on luxury.

Sometimes people who are living their dying find luxury in the moment because they pay more attention and their senses are heightened. But sometimes they feel the poverty of not being able to do the things they could before, like something as simple as having the strength to take a bath on their own. And often, it’s a combination of both. So I encourage you to do this activity that I learned from Julia for yourself—quickly, write down ten things that mean luxury to you. Then take $5 and buy something luxurious—hand-milled soap, a latte at your favorite café, a beeswax candle, whatever luxury means to you.

Now ask the person who is dying what luxury means to them, and how you can provide it for them. Maybe it’s a bowl of ice cream with fresh strawberries and chocolate syrup. Or it might be a vase of fresh flowers, or getting the sheets changed more often. Maybe it’s lavender lotion. They might want a birdfeeder or wind chimes outside their bedroom window. It’s entirely personal.

Luxury doesn’t always equal expensive. The example Julia gave in class was buying raspberries. They’re usually about $5 and you only get about 20. Seems so over-priced to me. But if I reframe it and recognize that I can have that luxury for only $5, it’s totally worth it. If raspberries are your passion, what a gift!

  1. Lisa Reed December 4, 2010 at 9:39 am

    Such a lesson in this for all of us. To enjoy the small, beautiful things, all the time!

  2. Suzy Holden December 4, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    Loved it, Jill! What a great way to start your blog.

  3. Daniel December 5, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    God never makes mistakes. You coming into my life at a time when we’re taking care of Ralph’s Mom has been such an amazing gift…you have enhanced my life in every way Jill…not to mention the lives of Kathryn and my Mom…because I am able to help them in ways I could have never done without your insight.

  4. Sarah West December 6, 2010 at 1:03 am

    Just profoundly exquisite, Jill. So deeply thoughtful and so utterly loving! I am scared to read it though… I’m just going to let tears fall out of my eyes perpetually… I’ve been dealing with this process for almost 4 years now with my mom and over 10 with my dad who passed just a year ago Oct 6th. What tenderness you bestow and kind graciousness. Thank you for your ever so loving and patient heart. I’m so touched to see what consciousness you are pouring out to the world. Bless YOU!!

  5. Sarah West December 6, 2010 at 1:11 am

    PS I almost lost my mother this past weekend. It was really scary and so painful. We hadn’t had a close call like that in over 8 months. She had been in and out of the hospital for over 3 1/2 years and when I came home over a year ago, I saw she had been so neglected. I cared for her fiercely lovingly and over many months, she came off all the dozens of drugs she had been prescribed and her illnesses began to drop away. This past week was the first episode in all that time that anything came up. She had had her 90th birthday just 2 weeks ago on the 16th of November and it brought up so much pain and she just pushed it down. I feel it triggered the episode… But, thank goodness, she is recovering. She is crazily strong. I don’t know how she does it. Goes to the brink and comes back again and again. I use these times to face the feelings of the final dance and make sure I reveal all of my heart to her and help her reveal as much as she wants to with me. That is the gift… the perpetual unfolding gift we give each other. Each day and with each crises too. And each joyous adventure, we open and I beg her sometimes to reveal herself to me. I model it to her and sometimes she dissolves those old tyrannical barriers and softens to expose the tender soul that she is.

  6. Sharon Harrell December 6, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Thank you for your words of truth & inspiration.

  7. Heather White December 8, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Your insights written in “The Last Gifts” are so profound. The book has helped me in amazing ways. I do love the way you have started your blog! Bless you, Jill

  8. home health aide December 24, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    Great site. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends!

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