Room for Change: Practical Ideas of Reviving After Loss

Jillian Brasch | December 31st, 2010


Last year I met Susan Willett Reynolds who has written a beautiful book called Room for Change: Practical Ideas for Reviving After Loss. Susan is a physical therapist, an interior re-designer, and more recently, a widow. After her husband died, she took her knowledge of physical therapy and design and wrote a book about changing your environment if it no longer serves you after your loved one has died. She goes through your house from the front door to the back, to the exterior, and even inside your car.

We are such creatures of habit that we tend to do things the same way, long after they quit serving us. Even though I hadn’t had a recent personal loss when I read her book, I found myself making some changes. To name a few of the changes I made, I ordered a new desk chair because the old one was uncomfortable, I repositioned my desk so I can see out the window, and I replaced the pillow in my car that I didn’t even realize annoyed me so much because I had to reposition it every time I got in the car. It was so helpful to look at each area of my life and ask the question “what no longer serves me?”

This is a great exercise to do with someone who is dying. As they decline, their needs change rapidly and need to be re-evaluated weekly, daily, hourly, or in the moment. If they’re confined to their home, what can be done to make their house more efficient? What is their routine, and how can it be simplified? ¬†Or if they’re confined to bed, do they need more pillows to make themselves comfortable. Can they sit at a comfortable angle when they eat? Are there pictures of loved ones, and are they surrounded by objects they love? Do they need a trapeze bar over a hospital bed so they can use it to turn over, or just take some pressure off their back? Are their personal belongings within easy reach? What brings them comfort? What no longer serves them? Just ask them. They’ll know the answers. Everyone has different needs.

A new year is a good time to evaluate what’s working in your life right now, and what’s simply annoying because it has become a habit you no longer notice. I highly recommend Room for Change: Practical Ideas for Reviving After Loss if you have recently lost someone that you lived with, or if you’re like me and just want to live in comfort. Check out Susan’s website and book. You can also email her with questions, or share your successes.

I wish you strength, comfort, love, and support during your time of loss, and in the new year ahead.

  1. physiotherapy jobs January 21, 2011 at 6:40 am

    What a great resource!

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