It didn’t take long to empty closets, shelves, and drawers in my home—everything that I wasn’t using—after the news of my terminal illness and hospice’s sign-up in November 2019. Years of having served home care and hospice patents in their homes had kept my life uncluttered, but I still had more stuff than I imagined.

Emptying the glove compartment and trunk of my 1999 Toyota came next, before a church member bought it and drove it away, leaving behind the oil-streaked floor. No longer did garden tools and sacks of grass seed and fertilizer fill the walls and shelves; crumpled remains of spiders remained in the corner of the windowsill. Only the sixty-foot hose remained next to the overhead door. And last of all, my hand-written analyses of dreams in thirty loose-leaf binders were emptied, their contents bagged and destroyed.

The de-cluttering accomplished, a service offered to those who would clean up after me, I could began my end time, or so I thought. Yet, emptiness gaped back at me whenever a drawer or door opened—and more disturbing were dream stories with more stuff to clear out. There seemed no end to this psychic disorder.

A new discipline now informs my practice of CPA’s Twelve Steps. Only Higher Power can complete this ultimate de-cluttering, constituted by my own willful choices. And with this practice is a new sense of my humanness, a hard-won lesson, its significance still requires unpacking, one day at a time.

My mantra ever deepens: “Mercy!”